In a nutshell: Walnuts have 21% fewer calories, says study

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Dec 03, 2015 10:31 IST
Walnuts contain several antioxidants and polyphenols which provide multiple benefits to health. (Shutterstock)

If you’ve been shunning walnuts in your diet because of their high-calorie content, here’s some good news. In a significant find for the calorie-conscious, researchers today said walnuts have 21% fewer calories than what is currently to the ‘king of nuts’. The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Nutrition.

The study led by Dr David J Baer, Supervisory Research Physiologist at the USDA shows that one serving (28.35 gm) of walnuts contains 146 calories, not 185, which is 39 calories less than the value currently used. Historically, the calorie value for walnuts was determined using the Atwater factors, which were developed in the late 19th century and calculate metabolisable energy, or energy available to the body, for many foods.

Baer’s research found that the metabolisable energy of walnuts was 21% less than that predicted by the Atwater factors. “Yes, these are significant results in the sense that they provide, for the first time, an accurate measure of the number of calories in a serving of walnuts. This research overcomes limitations of research conducted over 100 years ago whose results are still used today,” Baer said.

“Our results could help explain why consumers of walnuts do not typically gain weight. And given the numerous potential health benefits of consuming walnuts, including reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular and cognitive diseases, our results could potentially help alleviate any calorie-related concerns consumers might have with incorporating them into their everyday diet,” Baer added.

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Read: Nut up or shut up: Handful of walnuts can increase sperm count

He said that there are many aspects of a food to consider when one decides what and how much to eat. “High fat foods do not necessarily make us fat and low fat foods are not necessarily the healthiest for us to eat. We have to consider the availability of calories when making food choices, especially for tree nuts,” Baer said.

“Walnuts are a good or excellent source of several important nutrients. However, some consumers might be reluctant to include walnuts in their diet for fear that consuming walnuts might lead to weight gain. “For those calorie-conscious consumers who might avoid walnuts, our results show that the number of calories in a serving of walnuts is significantly less that what is currently on the food label,” he said. .

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