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Are Brazil Nuts Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge. What about brazil nuts, are they good for weight loss or fattening?

Brazil nuts are a kind of nut from the Brazil nut tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest.

Many people are worried about how the high-fat content of nuts and brazil nuts, in particular, will impact their weight loss. Find out whether this aspect of brazil nuts interferes with weight loss, and how brazil nuts compare to other popular nuts when it comes to losing weight.

Micronutrients in brazil nuts

The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in brazil nuts.

Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.

100 grams of brazil nuts provides you with approximately (1):

  • Selenium: 2739% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Magnesium: 94% of the DV
  • Copper: 87% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 73% of the DV
  • Manganese: 61% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 41% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 29% of the DV
  • Zinc: 27% of the DV
  • Potassium: 19% of the DV
  • Calcium: 16% of the DV
  • Iron: 13% of the DV

And a few others in smaller amounts. These are extremely high amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. This combination in micronutrients also makes brazil nuts helpful in maintaining a healthy thyroid function.

Even too high depending on your dose of brazil nuts. There is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of selenium. In simple words that means that too much selenium can cause negative side effects. About 20 grams of brazil nuts gets you to this Tolerable Upper Intake if you are a healthy adult (2).

The UL means “the highest level of nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population.” (3).

Brazil nuts also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day.

brazil nuts on table

Fiber in brazil nuts for weight loss

Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.

Brazil nuts contain around 7.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

This is a great amount compared to most other foods, about average for nuts. For most people more fiber is a good thing for weight loss.

Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.

Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.

With the amount of fiber in brazil nuts you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.

Protein in brazil nuts for weight loss

Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.

Brazil nuts contain about 14.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). Brazil nuts are a good source of plant-based protein but also a great source of protein in general.

Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.

The amount of protein in brazil nuts is good for a plant-based source of protein. That being said there are a few nuts higher in protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but brazil nuts can get you on your way to your daily goals.

Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.

Are brazil nuts good for losing weight?

To know whether or not you can eat brazil nuts while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in brazil nuts.

Brazil nuts contain around 656 calories per 100 grams. 50.1 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (12.3 g per 100 grams of which 7.5 g fiber).

You can definitely fit in some brazil nuts in low-carb diets like the keto diet. They are even high on the list of the best low-carb nuts.

On the one hand, you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this very large amount of calories.

The thing is that the calorie content from nuts does not get absorbed that well compared to many other foods (3, 4). A part of these calories 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 (5, 6, 7, 8). Chances are this varies from individual to individual and situation to situation.

Even with that in mind, the message is that it might be smart to limit daily brazil nut intake. Partly because of the calories, partly because of the risk of overconsuming selenium.

Depending on your current diet a certain amount of brazil nuts can help you lose weight by helping you feel a lot fuller and helping you consume more protein. This can help you avoid high-calorie foods that may interfere with your weight loss.

Brazil nuts can be a great healthy snack for weight loss but if you overdo it, they might be fattening due to the high amount of calories in them or even risky because of their selenium content.

Who should not eat brazil nuts

While brazil nuts can be a great addition to the diet to a certain extent, some people are allergic to them.

Brazil nuts next to bowl

How many brazil nuts are safe to eat a day

One of the main things to look at is the amount of selenium in brazil nuts. 100 grams contains about 1917 mcg but this can vary from nut to nut. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of selenium is about 400 mcg (2).

A typical serving of 1 ounce brazil nuts is about 8 medium brazil nuts.

So that means that more or less 5-6 medium brazil nuts provide you with the Tolerable Upper Intake Level. And this is without including other food sources.

How many brazil nuts are safe to eat a day depends on a wide variety of factors but most people can consume 2-3 medium brazil nuts a day without problems.

Best time to eat brazil nuts for weight loss

Eating food raises insulin levels, even if it is a more low carb food like brazil nuts. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. On top of that, your body doesn’t like to digest and sleep at the same time. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.

For those reasons the best time to eat brazil nuts for weight loss is any time that is not too close to your bedtime.

This wouldn’t mean the end of your weight loss and health but if you can eat them at a more beneficial time why not.

Brazil nuts vs other popular nuts for weight loss

Brazil nuts next to other nuts on table

You now know how good brazil nuts are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other popular nuts? Find out how good brazil nuts are for weight loss vs macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, and filberts.

These comparisons will not take into account the healthy selenium intake.

Brazil nuts vs macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are a popular comparison. Macadamia nuts are higher in calories, 718 calories per 100 grams (9).

The amount of fiber is a lot different. Brazil nuts have about 7.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 8.6 grams of macadamia nuts. macadamia nuts contain about 7.9 grams of protein per 100 grams. Brazil nuts are generally higher in vitamins and minerals than macadamia nuts.

All in all, brazil nuts will be slightly better for weight loss than macadamia nuts.

Brazil nuts vs walnuts

The next comparison is between brazil nuts and walnuts. Walnuts are about the same in calories, 654 calories per 100 grams (10).

Walnuts contain 6.7 grams of fiber so a small amount lower than brazil nuts. In terms of protein walnuts contain slightly more, 15.2 grams per 100 grams. Walnuts have lower amounts of vitamins and minerals.

One benefit walnuts do have is that they are higher in omega 3 fats than brazil nuts. It’s not yet clear exactly how much of a difference that makes when it comes to weight loss.

The difference will be very small but if you had to choose one of the two brazil nuts are slightly better for weight loss due to the importance of fiber.

Brazil nuts vs almonds

Next there is brazil nuts vs almonds comparison. Almonds are very lower in calories than brazil nuts, 575 calories per 100 grams vs the 656 calories per 100 grams of brazil nuts (11).

Almonds contain around 12.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A big amount higher than the 7.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams in brazil nuts. Almonds contain about 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. Brazil nuts are higher in vitamins and minerals.

Almonds outscore brazil nuts on some of the most important points. This makes almonds better for weight loss than brazil nuts.

Brazil nuts vs filberts

Lastly filberts, also known as hazelnuts. Hazelnuts contain a similar amount of calories as brazil nuts, 628 calories per 100 grams (12).

Filberts have more fiber per 100 grams than brazil nuts, 9.7 grams. Filberts are also slightly higher in protein per 100 grams, 15 grams vs the 14.3 grams in brazil nuts. Both of these nuts are very high in vitamins and minerals but brazil nuts even more so.

Filberts are likely better for weight loss than brazil nuts.

Chart of brazil nuts vs other popular nuts

There are some interesting differences in nutritional content that will most likely matter when it comes to weight loss. As you can see, there are a few nuts better for weight loss than brazil nuts.

The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for brazil nuts (1), macadamia nuts (9), walnuts (10), almonds (11), and filberts (12) to compare.

Values Per 100gBrazil NutsMacadamia NutsWalnutsAlmondsFilberts
Calories656 calories718 calories654 calories575 calories628 calories
Fiber7.5 g8.6 g6.7 g12.2 g9.7 g
Protein14.3 g7.9 g15.2 g21.2 g15 g
Chart comparing brazil nuts vs other nuts for weight loss