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Healthy Nuts Are Good for You But Eat Them Responsibly

Many people are on diets that encourage them to eat large quantities of nuts. A few healthy nuts can be a great substitute for a handful of other snacks. There are a variety of benefits of eating healthy nuts:

  • They are rich in protein and can help you stabilize your glucose levels.
  • The vitamin E helps clear your arteries.
  • Strong fiber content helps reduce cholesterol.

Dangers Of Healthy Nuts

healthy nuts

That being said, you want to make sure you don’t go overboard when you incorporate nuts into your diet. There are some dark sides to nuts and they are not be something you should make a habit out of consuming regularly. Before you start chowing down on them, you should consider some of the implications of making a diet rich in them.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats have traditionally been believed to clog arteries by increasing cholesterol rates. New studies have been published in the American Medical Association which suggest that saturated fats may not be as big of a problem as they are made out to be. This could be encouraging news, but we should be cautious until those new studies are proven to the satisfaction of the medical community.

Nuts are loaded in saturated fats. Did you know that a single ounce of peanuts can carry more than 10% your daily allowance of saturated fats? Depending on their size, that could be a dozen or fewer nuts. If you aren’t careful you can reach your limit in a single sitting!

Calories

Caloric intake is most people’s biggest concern when they go on any diet. Eating a few nuts a day can be help you satisfy cravings, which can help your diet work. However, you can very easily consume far more calories than you intended when you are eating them. A single ounce of peanuts holds more than 150 calories. If you were to eat forty peanuts over the course of a day, you could be consuming more than 500 calories.

Martin Isark is a British based health researcher and writer. He has conducted research on the effects nuts have on people’s diets. Isark said that many dieters try to consume large amounts of nuts when they are trying to lose weight. However, that practice invariably backfires on them. Eating a few nuts can be a good thing for your diet, but you definitely don’t want to go overboard with it.

Stick With Basic Healthy Nuts

Many nuts are loaded in sugars, salts and free radicals. Many types of nuts will do more harm than good.

According to the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should focus on eating nuts that are either raw or have been dry roasted. Those that have been packaged or roasted tend to have unhealthy levels of saturated fats. Additionally, the roasting process destroys a lot of the nutritional value they provide.

Nut Spreads And Butters

You should also be careful about eating spreads and butters. Many brands try to promote these products because they are made from nuts. Don’t let that convince you to buy them.

Spreads made from nut products tend to be better tasting and people often feel comfortable eating higher levels of them. Experts caution that you shouldn’t try to justify eating large quantities of these products because they have are made from nuts. You will also want to consider how many grams of saturated fats these products contain.

Eat Healthy Nuts Responsibly

Some health experts argue that you should eliminate nuts from your diet to lose weight. However, most experts disagree with that position. Various studies have shown that people tend to gain less weight when they consume nuts. The important thing is to consume them in moderation. Dietitians commonly recommend that people consume 30 grams of nuts each day. I have eaten nuts on an almost daily basis after I went on the paleo diet, but I try not to eat more than dietitians suggest.

As a general rule of thumb, tree nuts tend to be the healthiest. According to a report from Shape Magazine, the healthiest types of nuts are pistachios, almonds and cashews. However, some nuts may be more beneficial for other aspects of your health. For example, walnuts have been shown to be the best for fighting heart disease.

The worst nuts for your health are macadamia nuts and pecans. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be discouraged from eating them. They are still healthy for you. They just have more calories, which means you are going to need to be stricter about controlling how many you eat.

Do you consume a lot of nuts in your diet? Have they helped you reach your diet goals or made things worse? Feel free to share your comments below.

Additional Resources

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/good-fats-bad-fats
http://www.dlife.com/diabetes-food-and-fitness/what_do_i_eat/fats/what_if_saturated_fat_not_problem
http://blogs.webmd.com/life-with-diabetes-2/2010/06/is-saturated-fat-a-big-health-problem.html
http://www.3fatchicks.com/is-dried-fruit-healthy-for-weight-loss/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1343763/How-diet-nuts-dried-fruit-makes-pile-ON-pounds.html

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