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Q & A:  Which nuts are the best source of protein?

A: None of them.  Nuts are primarily sources of fat, not protein.  In other words it takes far too many calories of nuts to get anywhere near your daily protein needs.

Let’s be specific
Here’s an alphabetical list of examples.  The percentages are all by calories:

·     Almonds

o   76% fat, and just 14% protein.

o   It takes 28 calories of almonds to get 1 gram of protein.

o   By contrast it takes just 19 calories of McDonald’s deep fried chicken nuggets to get 1 gram of protein.

·     Brazil nuts

o   90% fat, and just 8% protein.

o   It takes 48 calories of Brazil nuts to get 1 gram of protein.

o   By contrast it takes just 6 calories of fat free Greek yogurt to get 1 gram of protein.

·     Cashews

o   68% fat, and 13% protein

o   It takes 32 calories of cashews to get 1 gram of protein.

o   By contrast it takes 21 calories of a Five Guys burger (with the bun!) to get 1 gram of protein.

·     Hazelnuts

o   85% fat and 9% protein

o   It takes 45 calories of hazelnuts to get 1 gram of protein.

o   It takes just 5 calories to get 1 gram of protein from egg whites.

o   … we can skip to the end of the alphabet

·     Walnuts

o   88% fat and 9% protein.

o   It takes 46 calories of walnuts to get 1 gram of protein.

o   By contrast it takes 59 calories to get 1 gram of protein from generic vanilla ice cream.
Busting Your Calorie Budget
2 tablespoons of peanut butter (PB) or almond butter (AB) have 188 calories and 8 grams of protein and 198 calories and 7 grams of protein respectively.  Our average female personal training client needs about 100 grams of protein per day. 

This would require 25 tbsp of PB, or 28 tbsp of AB.  25 tbsp of PB has 2,350 calories, and 28 tbsp of AB has 2,820 calories.  Keep in mind that this is before you have eaten anything else – no toast, no carrots, no wine, no nothing.  Even training with us 3 days per week and getting 10,000 steps per day, it is going to be nearly impossible for most women to even maintain their body weight at 2,800+ calories per day.

Make it Easy
As mentioned above, fat free Greek yogurt and egg whites are much more calorie efficient ways to get in your protein.  1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt has 120 calories and 22 grams of protein.  1 cup of egg whites have 125 calories and 25 grams of protein per 1 cup.

Our same “average” female personal training client could hit 100 grams of protein with 4.5 cups of Greek yogurt for only 545 calories, or 4 cups of egg whites/beaters for just 500 calories.  This leaves a lot more room in your day for other food at an intake level that makes it relatively easy to maintain your weight, or lose weight.

Bottom line
Getting enough protein is important.  Nuts are 70-90% fat by calories, or, in other words, they are primarily a source of fat not protein.  High fat foods are high calorie foods because fat packs more than twice the calories per gram vs carbs or protein.  A little bit of fat goes a long way. 

Low fat or fat free protein sources make hitting your protein goal (without blowing your calorie budget) much easier.  Lastly, if you like nut flavor try powdered peanut butter as a mix in because it has 60-70% fewer calories along with more protein and more fiber.

More on protein:
·     One protein source that doesn’t work.
·     Is there protein in your protein?
·     20 ways to get 20 grams of protein for under 200 calories.

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