Food Showdown: Which Nut is All It's Cracked Up to Be?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Nuts have gotten a bad rap as high calorie, indulgent foods. It's true that nuts get more than half of their calories from fat, but the fat in nuts is healthy for you, your heart, and your waistline.  But how do different types of nuts compare to one another? 

Almonds are a healthy source of calcium and make a great snack alone or in your favorite salad.  Walnuts are an excellent source of magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B6.  If you want to get the health benefits of nuts without adding excessive calories to your diet, which of these two should you choose?
The Winner: Almonds!
Almonds contain about 182 calories and 19 grams of fat per 1/3-cup, making them a good option when trying to add nuts to your diet.  At 261 calories and 26 grams of fat, the same serving of walnuts is a little harder to handle.  Of course, you can still enjoy vitamin-rich walnuts in moderation. About 1 to 1-1/2 ounces of nuts are recommended per day, which is approximately one handful. If you eat much beyond that, you're taking in a lot of extra calories! Instead of eating them plain, try using nuts as a garnish for cereals, salads, or even meat dishes, like almond-crusted chicken breast.

What's your favorite way to incorporate nuts into your diet?

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AALLEY2 4/18/2018
Great! Glad I eat a variety of nuts and seeds. Report
EMGERBER 2/13/2018
Perfect the all times best are almonds and they are my favourite. Report
_LINDA 1/15/2018
I love walnuts the best, they are also higher in antioxidants than blueberries! Report
We get almonds, walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts from the local "Nifty Nut House" (which is almost world reknowned, thanks to chef Alton Brown (? Some TV chef, not sure of name). Brazil Nuts are also good for eye issues like cataracts etc, just 2 or 3 a day. Report
I really enjoy brazil nuts, they are very good for you as well Report
I love pecans! They never seem to make these comparisons however. I definitely prefer almonds over walnuts. I have discovered a couple of brands that coat almonds with cocoa powder and that is a great way to get enhanced taste for few calories.
As an aside when I have heartburn 6-8 almonds usually work as well and antacids (and taste better!). Report
Thank you for all your comments I really appreciate it , Report
Yes! I love almonds! Report
I either add them to salads, or blend into my frozen yogurt (think vanilla-coffee frozen yogurt with pecans) Report
I get in my almonds with my chocolate fix from dark-chocolate covered almonds. yum :) Report
I add almonds into my fruit snacks (w/ fresh & dried fruit) so I only get about a tablespoon of slivered or sliced almonds. I do carry walnut pieces for an energy snack IF I require a bit more during the day. Report
I enjoy almonds or pecans in salads...and almonds toasted in many dishes (like green beans) and I love nuts topping my yogurt snack. Also, for an on the go snack some gluten free pretzels (or gluten free chex cereal) mixed with cashews and sometimes some crasins hits the spot as a healthy homemade trail mix.

But I do have to weigh or measure my nuts and give myself just ONE portion. Report
I enjoy many nuts now. My old "diet mindset" said they are a no-no, but they are good for me! I enjoy pistachios in the shell, because I can't just dump them in my hands and eat them. I have to take them out of the shell first! I also enjoy sunflower seeds, which I buy without the shell. Almonds are also on my list! Report
Almonds are my go-to snack but I would never discount walnuts and many other nuts. I often have walnuts when my fat % is a little low for the day or just a very few really add something to oatmeal. I also love pecans. I think variety or whatever nut fits the nutrient needs of the day or the person are best! Report
Almonds are my all time favorite nut - whole, slivered, sliced, shaved. They make a great rice and nut "meat" loaf. Report
Being a competing bodybuilder and being in my late 50's I can honstly say I can't live without my almonds.They are ALWAYS part of my off season diet and also my diet down for competitions.. All comparisons aside, they not only give me my good fats they are a great little snack when you are on such a boring diet. I suppose it is horses for your website and recipes Spark and have recommended you to many of my bodybuilding friends...thank you, great clean recipes with a heaps of choices......mind you love the naughty ones too.... Report
I know almonds are better, per the reasons stated in this article, and price-wise, but I like them all for different reasons and eat them accordingly. However, I find the best way for me to eat almonds raw is to soak them in purified water overnight ... makes them much easier to chew/use! Report
Almonds don't get along with my digestive system, and I don't like walnuts very much. I do like quite a few other nuts, though! Report
Delicious in salads especially walnuts. Report
my mom was always putting nuts in many of her casseroles,usually it was sliced almonds sprinkled on top; my cousins remember that well and when they came to visit mom as adults you still put nuts in your food? she also made 'health' bars for us as kids when we only wanted plain rice krispie bars..she had corn flakes with peanuts raisins coconut flakes and I think at times those sliced almonds! so now I find I'm adding almonds, walnuts and at times cashews into my hot dishes, my salads, have them in my car for snacks.. I do try to watch the cashews as I believe they are really high in fats..but oh so good! Report
I don't "love" nuts, but if I need an afternoon snack then a handful of mixed nuts is more than enough.
I am currently working my very gradual way through a big jar of Mixed Nuts I got in Costco.
Ingredients: hazelnuts (25%), brazil nuts (15%), cashew nuts (15%), pistachio nut kernels (15%), walnut halves (15%), blanched almonds (10%), macadamias (5%)

This: suits me fine, gives me the healthy snack, means I don't have to add nuts to meals etc, makes me happy that I'm eating from a jar with apparently absolutely no additives of any sort.
And for once I reckon I'll have most of the jar eaten before it goes "out of date"?

I do have to add, that if it were a choice between almonds and walnuts for me - I'd go with walnuts every time.
Of the nuts in my jar, I really like hazelnuts and walnuts, and I'm learning to enjoy pistachio. Report
Yeah, Almonds! Report
I add toasted nuts into rice salad, together with sweetcorn, peas and chopped onion and peppers. Report
I love to put nuts in my shakes every morning. My meal replacement shakes come with good amounts of protein, fiber, and vitamins but the nuts give it that hearty flavor and extra bit of protein I like! I love my Body By Vi shakes!!!! Report
I throw almonds into my oatmeal each morning and eat a half serving of the Emerald Choco almonds as part of an afternoon snack. But nuts in a salad are always a winner too! Report
chopped almonds with cold cereal (Kashi go lean Crunch is a favorite); walnut pieces with oatmeal. I also keep a little snap top container of roasted unsalted almonds in my purse for those times when I need a snack or mealtime is delayed. Just 4-5 almonds keeps me going for an hour or more. Report
Love almonds and cashews in particular - straight, on salads, on fruit & yogurt, on oatmeal.... Report
I eat almonds all the time. That's because they are reasonably priced. I would love to eat walnuts more often, but they are expensive. One thing I've noticed is how high the cost of nuts has been recently. So, whenever they are on sale, I stock up. Report
I like to buy nuts in the shell. Then, I have to work for them! Report
I love brazile nuts. I eat no salt peanuts. I put some in my oatmeal, my apple salad and my chicken salad. Report
I love all kinds of nuts, but always have raw, unsalted almonds at my desk. Report
I love a sprinkle of walnuts and fresh grapes on my salad. Almonds are great for a snack - I usually have a few most days. Report
I can't eat walnuts or pecans, but I can eat almonds, peanuts, and pistachios. Report
I'm highly allergic to walnuts and pecans but can and do eat almonds and cashews, thank goodness. Report
I like nuts in Trail Mix. My son buys unroasted, unsalted raw nut at Trader Joe's. Report
I think you can generally find unsalted nuts in any grocery store that has a bulk foods section if that's of any help to anyone. I think like most things they are best enjoyed in moderation (in spite of my best efforts).
Almonds also have salicylic acid in them. Report
Although nuts are good for you...I can't justify the calories. 1/3 cup is not going to fill me where as a large orange does with half the calories and none of the fat. When you are on a 1200 calorie a day diet...That leaves you with 400 calories per meal or a little less if you want to have a snack. Report
I really dislike all of these silly food comparisons. They're misleading and not at all helpful. Report
The trickiest thing with nuts seems to be finding the unsalted and unroasted ones at the grocery store. I've heard of looking in the bakery section, but my main store has tiny bags there, usually slivered instead of whole. Of all places to hide a bigger container ... the specialty candy section is where they have them, because the brand is the same as the chocolate-covered variants.

I don't tend to trust myself to measure a "handful", so I look find out the number that usually add up to a serving (24 almonds, for example) and literally count them out. Report
I love eating them raw, roasted, shaved and mixed into things - almost any way they are served Report
I toss a handful of unsalted, roasted almonds into my bowl of whole grain cereal every morning. When late-night hunger pangs strike, a handful of the same type of almonds satisfy my cravings. Report
As an old-time hiker and backpacker, I love to take GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) with me when I go out. It's light, good nutrition, easy to carry, and easy to eat. I often substitute raw almonds for the peanuts and is one of my favorite snacks. Sometimes I'll replace the raisins with chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries. Report
I measure out three grams each of walnuts, almonds, and pecans and sprinkle them over my cereal along with a heaping tablespoon of dried berries. Delicious! Report
Somehow this comparison just doesn't work for me, way too limited in scope and misleading. Almonds may have more calcium (but so does low cal unsweetened almond milk without all the calories) but the magnesium, omega-3, and B-6 are vital to good health and more likely to be lacking in the American diet so walnuts are the more heart-healthy choice. Personally I choose walnuts and will be having my oatmeal with 1 tbsp. of Walnuts AND a half cup of unsweetened almond milk (both together, 68 calories) and be healthier for it and will still end the day within my calorie limits. Report
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