The studies are in and fat plays a key role in keeping your body working and functioning at its best. For those looking to embrace dietary fat, nuts provide a simple and portable solution. Just grab a handful and you've got yourself a nutritious, filling, satisfying snack.
Nuts are known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, boost heart health, and can even help you lose weight. They are a snack you can feel good about eating. But are you feeling so good about nuts that you are reaching for them a little too often? Nuts are difficult when it comes to controlling portion sizes. They are so tiny and so yummy that it is really easy to mindlessly keep on noshing. A serving of nuts is equivalent to about a third of a cup. There are differences between the fat content and nutrient profiles of various nuts (almonds have less fat than cashews, for example) but as a general rule, a third of a cup should be your target.
That is not a lot of nuts! So what is it that happens if you eat more than this? Unfortunately, overeating nuts can have a negative impact on your health and weight loss goals!
Overeating nuts can lead to:
We know that nuts are a good "diet" food but, as with all "diet" foods, you can overdo it. All of the studies that support nuts as an effective weight loss tool hinge on one important factor: eating only the recommended amount. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats but with those fats comes extra calories. They are more calorie dense per ounce than other foods. To put this in perspective, one ounce of almonds has 163 calories while one ounce of cooked pasta has 37 calories. While these are high quality calories, they are still calories.
Do you feel gassy or bloated after eating nuts? Nuts contain phytates and tannins which are difficult to digest. They pass through our system, largely undigested, which leads to bloating if you eat too many at one time. To make matters worse, consuming large amounts of fat in one sitting, as you would if you are mindlessly scarfing nuts, can lead to diarrhea. One way to avoid this is to stick to the serving size or eat sprouted nuts. Sprouted nuts have already begun to grow into a plant which makes them easier to digest. If you don't want to wait days for the sprouting, you can get some of the benefits by soaking the nuts in water for 8-12 hours before consuming.
Many nuts are salted. While this makes them very tasty, it increases your daily consumption of sodium, which can elevate your blood pressure. Buy unsalted or raw varieties. If you want to boost the flavor, toast them in a warm pan on your stove top and then toss them in a spice blend of your choosing. Get creative!
Understandably, these are issues we'd all like to avoid! We do not advocate eliminating nuts from your diet completely. As mentioned above, they can be a powerful helper on your fitness journey. For delicious and create ways to enjoy eating nuts without going overboard, check out our ideas in the BodyRock Meal Plan!
In the meantime, if you are worried about going beyond the one third cup serving size, we have a suggestion! As soon as you get home from the store, measure out the proper serving size and put them in smaller, air tight containers. That way, when you run out the door in the morning, you can grab the right amount and not have to worry! Simple as can be!
How do you control your serving sizes when it comes to nuts? Share your tips with us!
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