These Healthful Nuts Are Less Fattening Than You Think

A one-ounce handful of almonds, full of protein and good fats, is a healthful, on-the-go kind of snack. But dieters have been reluctant to eat them for fear that they’d cause weight gain. While they’re certainly not a low-fat food, it turns out that they’re not as fattening as previously thought.

That’s because the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has recently recalculated the calorie count of certain nuts believing that the previous method, established in the early 1900s, may not be accurate for certain food groups. (Better late than never?)  So a study was conducted and the researchers concluded that one ounce of almonds – about 23 of them – add only 129 calories, compared to 160 calories currently listed on the Nutritions Facts Panel. This is a full 24 percent less calories than previously measured (more than 100 years ago).

How can a food’s calorie count change?  

The California Almond Board explains: “Fat in almonds is not absorbed as easily as the fat in most other foods, due to almonds’ natural cellular structure. This implies that traditional methods of calculating calories overstate those calories coming from almonds because they do not account for the fact that fat digestibility from nuts is less than that from other foods.”

Almonds are highly nutritious. According to the The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, (my food bible I keep in the kitchen), “almonds contain more calcium than any other nut along with healthy amounts of iron, riboflavin and vitamin E. They also have the highest dietary fiber content of any nut or seed, supplying 3 grams of fiber per ounce.

For a healthful, balanced post-workout snack, or for those times when I’m out and about, I pack a handful of almonds with an apple or small banana in my purse. It’s a satisfying pick-me-up that keeps my blood-sugar on an even keel and it holds me to the next meal.