If one writes us the following request in an email: “I recently started training hard to run the Stockholm marathon this year and I am noticing that the rest of the day I have just enough strength, so a friend has recommended eating a lot of nuts since he says they provide a lot of energy. Anyway, since I have a tendency to gain weight, I would like to know which ones provide the least calories. “
Nuts will not give us more immediate energy
First of all, Igone clarifies that it may be a mistake to consider eating nuts as an immediate source of energy, let’s say to supplement the calories burned during workouts. On the contrary, its virtues are more nutritional than energetic and there are studies that show that its continued intake does not contribute to weight gain , as we explained in Seven reasons to introduce nuts into your diet.
A study carried out among 400,000 Europeans concluded that nuts are not only not fattening but also contribute to weight loss, provided they are eaten moderately. The main reason is that unlike cereals, they are not high sources of carbohydrates except chestnuts and cashews, but of healthy fats that reduce bad cholesterol (good omega 3/6 ratio ), high-quality protein ( with essential amino acids), and dietary fiber.
This composition makes the digestion of nuts take more complex metabolic routes than foods high in carbohydrates, so that their profitability in this aspect is low, as explained by the nutritionist Julio Basulto in this article. Furthermore, their dietary fiber moderates the rise in sugars in the blood , and their tendency to keep HDL cholesterol levels low makes them especially good against the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Why should we take them if we train hard?
So Igone won’t get a huge energy boost from eating nuts. On the contrary, given their high satiating power, you are likely to tire of eating them before you get the calories to catch your breath. It is better to try other equally healthy foods such as banana, fruit or whole grains. But that is not why nuts should be excluded from your diet.
Moreover, precisely the fact that, as she says, “training hard” makes these foods almost essential for her due to their high contribution of minerals -especially calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium-, which the fruit does not have, and its richness in vitamins of the B group – although not B12 -, essential for many physiological processes. It is certain that during workouts you will sweat profusely and therefore lose mineral salts; Before taking an industrial concoction full of sugars, much better water and nuts to replace them. Of course, the nuts should be taken to be raw or toasted and without salt.
The most caloric nuts and the least
Anyway, to satisfy Igone’s request, we went on to list the nuts from more to less caloric, measured in kcal / 100 grams.
- Chestnuts (213 kcal): curiously, the dried fruit with the most carbohydrates is the least caloric, but this is because they barely have fat and on the other hand half of their content is water, in addition to having dietary fiber. We talk about them in Ten curiosities about chestnuts that will surprise you.
- Cashews (553 kcal): they have 30 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams and are relatively low in protein and high in fat. Poor in fiber but high in mineral contributions.
- Pistachios (557 kcal): its greatest virtue, in addition to being highly weighted in the balance of fats, hydrates, and proteins, is to offer more than one gram of potassium per 100 grams.
- Peanuts (567 kcal): although they are a legume, we are going to include them in the group of nuts. They stand out for their contribution to high-quality protein, and for their fiber, although they are high in sodium intake, so they should be moderated.
- Almonds (575 kcal): provide 21 grams of protein, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and 49 grams of fat with a good ratio of omega 3/6 fatty acids. They also provide 27 mg of tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant phenol that can behave like vitamin E. They also stand out for their 12 grams of dietary fiber.
- Hazelnuts (628 kcal): they are high in fat but have a majority percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids, with a good omega 3/6 ratio. They also stand out for their contribution in tocopherol, with 16 milligrams.
- Walnuts (654 kcal): despite being the fruit with the highest fat content, 59%, it is considered the one with the best supply of omega 3 and omega 6, as we explained in What are the happy Omega fatty acids and what the hell are they for? They are also very low in carbohydrates.