Can Nuts Make You Skinny?

Mixed NutsThe other day I was counseling a patient on weight loss and suggested that he add nuts to his diet.  The patient turned to me and asked, “Don’t nuts make you fat?”

The answer is “no” (provided you don’t eat too many).  Tree nuts, which include pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecan, Brazil nuts, pine nuts and macadamia nuts*, can inadvertently help you lose weight because they contain dietary fiber and protein which promotes the feeling of satiety and fullness.  A number of epidemiological studies that have researched the association between regular nut consumption and body mass index (BMI) have actually found that people who consistently eat nuts tend to have a lower BMI.  The key here is portion size.  Nuts have many great attributes; they’re full vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats plus they taste great, but they’re also high in calories.

So to add nuts to a calorie controlled diet, stick to the recommended serving.  The FDA suggests up to 1 ½ ounces of nuts daily.  If losing weight is your goal, reducing overall calories is what leads to weight loss, not restricting fats.  In fact, low-fat diets are often substandard because they exclude nutrient dense foods such as nuts that offer many health benefits.  So grab a handful of nuts and sprinkle them over cereal, yogurt, salad or just eat a handful right from the jar!


Nutrients in 1 Ounce (28 grams) of Shelled
Tree Nuts and Peanuts 


per 1 oz./
28 grams








Almonds 20 – 24 160 6 14 1 9 3
Brazil nuts 6 – 8 190 4 19 5 7 7
Cashews 16 – 18 160 4 13 3 8 2
Hazelnuts 18 – 20 180 4 17 1.5 13 2
Macadamias 10 – 12 200 2 22 3 17 0.5
Peanuts  28 170 7 14 2 7 4
Pecans 18 – 20
200 3 20 2 12 6
Pine nuts
150 –
160 7 14 2 5 6
Pistachios 45 – 47 160 6 13 1.5 7 4
Walnuts 14 halves 190 4 18 1.5 2.5 13
Source: Adapted from the International Tree Nut Council Research and Education Foundation publications, Nutrients in 1 Ounce of Tree Nuts and Peanuts, January2003<> and Nutrition in Every Handful, August 2002, <>.


*Technically, peanuts are legumes, not nuts.



  1. says

    Nuts are full of healthy fats, which have been proven to help with the feeling of being full, and that’s one major thing that helps with losing weight. The more satisfied you feel, the less you are likely to snack excessively or overeat during the meals.

    Nuts are also very good for the body in general. They have a high amount of Omega-3, which has been proven to be beneficial for the brain and heart. They are also low in sugar, which makes them a healthy alternative from the chocolates and candy that most people snack on. This lowers the amount of sugar in your system and helps to prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is a common problem for those that are overweight.

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