The calorie secret that makes nuts even better

Nuts are pretty much a perfect food. They fight inflammation, strengthen your brainwaves, reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.

The only downside? They’re packed with calories.

Now, I’ve never been much of a calorie counter. But a lot of people are. And for good reason…

Keeping an eye on your calorie intake can help you lose weight. Even more importantly, cutting calories is one of the most promising ways to slow aging and increase longevity. So, calorie counting can be a good thing.

Of course, if you’ve ever counted calories you know that it’s those healthy, high-calorie foods… like nuts… that really mess you up. You figure that if a food is good for you, you can eat as much of it as you want. But if you’re overshooting your calorie goal for the day (even with a healthy food), you’re not going to reap those weight loss and longevity benefits.

But I have good news for all you nut lovers out there…

Even though nuts are high in calories, a recent study show they’re not as high in calories as we thought or as their label says…

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Why nuts contain less calories than you think…

Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently determined that the calorie labeling on nuts is… well, nuts. Why?

Because when you eat nuts, you don’t get nearly as much calories as labels say you do. Let me explain…

Nuts contain a certain number of calories. Pistachios, for example, contain 23.7 calories per gram. But not all of these calories are bioavailable… in other words, your body can’t absorb them all.

According to this study, you only absorb 22.6 calories for each gram of pistachios you eat. So, if you ate an ounce of pistachios, you’d get 153.8 calories instead of the 161.9 calories it says on the label. That’s five percent less calories. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up over time.

For other nuts, there was an even more dramatic difference between what you see on the label and what you get…

Walnuts, for example, contain 146 calories per ounce… not the 185 calories you see on the label. That’s a 21 percent difference.

And an ounce of almonds contains 129 calories, rather than the 168-170 calories you’d see on the label. That’s a 32 percent difference.

Enjoy those spare calories

I wanted to share this study with you for one very important reason… because it gives you more leeway to enjoy yourself.

When you’re counting calories, every calorie counts. You want to know if you have a little wiggle room to eat that extra handful of nuts, or whatever else you enjoy. Keeping your calorie intake down is hard enough, without giving up more food than you have to.

So, if you eat nuts regularly, put those extra calories to good use. Have another handful of dark chocolate almonds. Or some hummus and pita chips. Or an apple and almond butter. Live a little!

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  1. Nuts have fewer calories than previously thought — MedicalXpress Retrieved March 28, 2018.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and