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Food vs. Food: Are You a Health Nut?

By November 14, 2018Nutrition Well-being

You’ve probably heard that a handful of nuts is great for a healthy snack. While it seems easy to grab some almonds or pecans in a pinch, certain nuts may be a healthier choice than others.

In a nutshell, some hold more nutritional value than others. So, let’s see how they stack up in the ultimate nutty battle royale.

Counting on Low Calories

If you’re a calorie counter, you might want a nut that allows you to eat as many as possible for as few calories as possible. It may seem like all nuts are created equal, but their caloric make-up tells a different story. Here’s an example.

Nut Amount Calories
Pecans 20 (halves) 200
Almonds 23 160
Cashews 18 160
Pistachios 49 160

Winner: Pistachios


How Low Can the Fat Go?

Fat is unavoidable in many foods. That’s why dietitians recommend including healthy fats in your diet like avocados, eggs, chia seeds, and, you guessed it, nuts!

But some have more fat than others. Here’s another example.

Nut Total Fat (grams) Saturated Fat (grams)
Pistachios 18 1.5
Walnuts 18 1.5
Hazelnuts 17 1.5
Cashews 13 3
Almonds 14 1


Pistachios and walnuts both have 18 grams per ounce and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Hazelnuts also have 1.5 grams of saturated fat but fewer grams per ounce at 17. Cashews are low in fat with 13 grams of fat, but they have three grams of saturated fat. While almonds have 14 grams of fat per ounce, they only have one gram of saturated fat.

Winner: Almonds


Raw vs. Roasted

Nuts are packed with lots of good stuff like protein, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Some say roasting nuts improves their taste. The only problem is roasting nuts changes their chemical composition. For example, one ounce of raw almonds contains 160 calories and 14 grams of fat, but the same number of roasted almonds has 167 calories and 15 grams of fat. Roasting nuts can also damage the healthy fats within the nuts.

So, when you’re trying to keep it healthy, skip the roasting.

Winner: Raw


Conventional vs. Organic

You may have heard about conventional (that is, non-organic) fruits and veggies being sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. That’s why you need to rinse and wash them before you eat them.

But did you know that nuts are also sprayed with pesticides and fungicides after they are shelled? Plus, you can’t wash them. So, while organic nuts are more expensive, they are best if you want to stay away from ingesting any nutty chemicals.

Winner: Organic


Feel like food is a battle? Meet with a dietitian for free!

Independence Blue Cross members get six free nutrition counseling sessions a year.* Search for a participating registered dietitian using our online provider directory.

*Not all employers offer nutrition counseling visits as part of their benefits plans. Please contact Customer Service or your benefits administrator to determine if this benefit applies to your coverage.


Ashley Weyler

I’m a writer and a film, music, and TV buff who loves Philadelphia sports. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, which means I’m always on-the-go. I try to make healthy decisions that fit with my lifestyle; whether it’s choosing healthy food while eating at a restaurant, finding exercises I enjoy doing so I stay motivated, or achieving a good work-life balance.