This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Nuts are one of the greatest food categories when it comes to nutrient density. Discover 9 of the best nuts to eat for weight loss.
Nuts come in a wide variety of flavors, forms and textures. In this article you will learn whether or not you should eat more nuts when trying to lose weight. And how some of the most popular nuts compare in terms of weight loss.
Are nuts good for weight loss?
Whether nuts helps you lose or gain weight depends on a lot of factors. One food is also usually not the cause for weight fluctuations. On top of that, the nutritional values between different nuts can vary a lot.
That being said in general most nuts are rather high in calories per 100 grams. Most of these calories come from protein and fats. These 2 macronutrients are considered to be the most filling. Protein also has important benefits for weight loss like preserving and building muscle mass.
Interestingly enough, a relatively high amount of the fat from nuts doesn’t actually get absorbed into your body. That part goes through your gut undigested.
The exact amount varies but some studies find that 5%-20% of the fat from nuts may go through indigested (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Chances are this varies from individual to individual and situation to situation.
Nuts are basically filling but still often high in calories, even if you don’t absorb all of these calories. If you struggle a lot with hunger and overeating on calories you might want to choose other weight loss foods or at least limit nut consumption.
Another important point is that nuts are extremely high in vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. This can benefit both your health and weight loss. There are significant differences between nuts but this article will mainly look at other nutrients.
This ranking of the best nuts to eat for weight loss will mainly look at the amount of calories, fiber, and protein per 100 grams. So let’s say nut A contains 300 calories per 100 grams of which 5 grams fiber. Nut B, 310 calories of which 10 grams protein. In that case nut B would be higher due to the importance of fiber when trying to lose weight.
Almonds are used for many different products like almond milk, almond butter, and almond flour. In the end eating almonds raw will likely be the best for weight loss.
100 grams of almonds contains (6):
- Calories: 575
- Protein: 21.2 grams
- Carbs: 21.7 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 12.2 grams
Almonds are the best nuts to consume more protein if you don’t count peanuts as actual nuts. Almonds are also the nuts highest in fiber and calcium on this list.
If you would have to choose 1 type of nut that is the best to eat for weight loss in terms of nutritional values, almonds would be your best bet.
Some people also love to eat their almonds covered in chocolate. This is a delicious way to eat them but sadly enough it doesn’t benefit your weight loss progress.
A close second on this list are pistachios. Pistachios are the popular green nuts that often come in a shell. These nuts have been consumed by humans for thousands of years (7).
100 grams of pistachios contains (8):
- Calories: 557
- Protein: 20.6 grams
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 10.3 grams
Pistachios come with an extra weight loss benefit when you buy them shelled. The peeling you have to do slows down how fast you eat pistachios which can help you prevent overeating on them.
You do want to mostly avoid the pistachio cakes and ice creams out there if you are aiming for weight loss.
While peanuts are technically legumes, they have a very similar nutrition profile as nuts. Peanuts are one of the most popular “nuts” in the world although this is partly because of the different ways you can eat them.
100 grams of peanuts contains (9):
- Calories: 567
- Protein: 25.8 grams
- Carbs: 16.1 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 8.5 grams
Peanuts are the nuts highest in protein, if you include them in the “nut category”. Besides being an amazing plant-based protein source, peanuts are one of the best nuts for weight loss.
A popular way to consume peanuts is as peanut butter. If you eat peanuts that way make sure you avoid the peanut butters high in added sweeteners and oils for your health and weight loss.
Cashews are another popular “nut”, botanically a seed, to eat for weight loss.
100 grams of cashews contains (10):
- Calories: 553
- Protein: 18.2 grams
- Carbs: 32.7 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 3.3 grams
Cashews are the nut highest in iron in this list. They are also the nut lowest in calories per 100 grams but they are rather low in fiber compared to the other nuts. If you struggle with hunger a lot it might be better to skip the cashews.
Hazelnuts, also called filberts, are not just used in certain chocolate products. They are also a great nut option for weight loss.
100 grams of hazelnuts contains (11):
- Calories: 628
- Protein: 15 grams
- Carbs: 16.7 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 9.7 grams
Even though hazelnuts are still in the middle of this ranking, you can see that the nutritional values per 100 grams are rising.
6. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts originate from big trees in the Amazon forest.
100 grams of brazil nuts contains (12):
- Calories: 656
- Protein: 14.3 grams
- Carbs: 12.3 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 7.5 grams
Brazil nuts are also the nuts highest in magnesium on this list. You can get an amazing 94% of the Daily Value of magnesium with 100 grams of brazil nuts.
Keep in mind that brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium. This is a big reason to not overdo it with brazil nuts. You want to stick to 20 grams of brazil nuts or less to stay under the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for selenium (13).
Walnuts are another very popular food, again botanically speaking not a nut but they do deserve a spot on this list.
100 grams of walnuts contains (14):
- Calories: 654
- Protein: 15.2 grams
- Carbs: 13.7 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 6.7 grams
One of the main remarkable attributes of walnuts is their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 is considered to be one of the healthiest types of fat but it’s not entirely clear exactly how this fat influences weight loss or weight gain differently.
Pecans are a common ingredient for several dessert dishes like pecan pie. If you want to lose weight you want to stick to eating them raw.
100 grams of pecans contains (15):
- Calories: 691
- Protein: 9.2 grams
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 9.6 grams
Pecans are the nut lowest in net carbs in this list. You get the amount of net carbs in food by taking the total amount of carbs and subtracting the amount of fiber.
The amount of net carbs is the more relevant number for low carb diets like the keto diet. In that regard pecans are the most low-carb friendly nut on this list.
9. Macadamia nuts
Lastly there are the macadamia nuts. They are a great food to get a lot of calories per 100 grams, sadly that’s not ideal when you are trying to lose weight.
100 grams of macadamia nuts contains (16):
- Calories: 718
- Protein: 7.9 grams
- Carbs: 14.2 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 8.6 grams
Macadamia nuts are still a great source of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams but you may want to avoid them if you easily overeat on calories.