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Are Cashews Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

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

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Choosing the right foods to put in your weight loss diet can be confusing. What about cashews, are they good for weight loss or fattening?

Cashews are a very popular food. Botanically speaking they are technically seeds, but due to their nutritional contents, many people consider them nuts.

Many people are worried about how the high-fat content of nuts and cashews, in particular, will impact their weight loss. Find out whether this aspect of cashews interferes with weight loss, what the best way to eat them is, and how cashew “nuts” compares to other popular nuts when it comes to losing weight.

Micronutrients in cashews

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

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 cashews provides you with approximately (1):

  • Copper: 110% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Manganese: 83% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 73% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 59% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 43% of the DV
  • Zinc: 39% of the DV
  • Iron: 37% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 28% of the DV
  • Selenium: 28% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 21% of the DV
  • Potassium: 19% of the DV

And a few others in smaller amounts. These are extremely good amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. Cashews can get you well on your way to hitting your daily vitamin and mineral goals. If you combine them with a healthy diet and you should hit most of these goals.

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

Micronutrients in cashews

Fiber in cashews for weight loss

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

Cashews contain around 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

This is a good amount compared to most other foods, a bit lacking compared to other 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 cashews you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.

Protein in cashews for weight loss

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

Cashews contain about 18.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). Cashews 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 cashews is good compared to other nuts and for a plant-based source of protein in general. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but cashews can get you well on your way to your daily goals.

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

Are cashews good for losing weight?

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

Cashews contain around 553 calories per 100 grams. 123 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (32.7 g per 100 grams of which 3.3 g fiber).

Cashews are one of the higher net-carb nuts. You should be able to fit in some cashews in a low carb diet like the keto diet. If you are on one of these diets other nuts may be more suited.

One the one hand you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this 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 hard to fit in the calories from cashews in your daily diet plan but it might be worth it.

You also don’t have to go for the full 100 grams every day. 30 grams could be enough to provide you with some great nutrients without skyrocketing the number of calories you consume every day.

Depending on your current diet a certain amount of cashews 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.

Cashews 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.

Who should not eat cashews

While cashews can be a great addition to the diet for most people, some people are allergic to it.

Are cashews good for losing weight

How many cashews should you eat a day to lose weight?

Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.

A typical serving of 1 ounce cashews is about 18 whole cashew nuts.

Some people use this 1 oz serving size as a daily recommendation but in reality, it isn’t as simple as that. There is for example no way that a 200-pound man and 140-pound woman should eat the same amount of cashews a day to lose weight.

You need to determine for yourself how many cashews fit in your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.

Best time to eat cashews for weight loss

Eating food raises insulin levels, even if it is a more medium-low carb food like cashews. 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 cashews 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.

Different ways to eat cashews

Like a lot of whole foods there are many different ways to eat and recipes with cashews. Find out how good they are and what you need to keep in mind.

Cashew flour

When trying to lose weight you often want to stay away from flour. In the processing process from grain to flour a lot of the weight loss friendly parts get removed. What is often left is a lot of calories that don’t really fill you up.

Luckily this is not the case with cashew flour. In essence cashew “flour” is basically just crushed cashews which means that, if nothing is added, the nutritional value is about the same as regular cashews.

Shop cashew flour on amazon

Cashew butter

The same as cashew flour goes for cashew butter. In essence cashew butter is just cashews crushed until they become a cream.

You do have to keep in mind that many brands add oils, sugar, and other sweeteners to this mix. All ingredients you preferably want to avoid when trying to lose weight.

If you decide to eat cashew butter make sure that the brand you are buying doesn’t add (too much) oils, sugars, and other sweeteners.

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The best way to eat cashews for weight loss

If you buy the right kinds of cashew flour and butter they have similar effects on weight loss as regular cashews.

That means that it is more a matter of personal preference in what way you will eat your cashews. If you try out recipes with cashews make sure the other ingredients are weight loss friendly and you are good to go.

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Cashews vs other popular nuts for weight loss

Cashews vs other popular nuts for weight loss

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

Cashews vs almonds

First of all there is the cashews vs almonds comparison. Almonds are very slightly higher in calories than cashews, 575 calories per 100 grams vs the 553 calories per 100 grams of cashews (9).

Almonds contain around 12.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams. An extremely big amount higher than the 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams in cashews. Almonds contain about 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. These 2 foods are about the same when it comes to the amounts of vitamins and minerals. Almonds may have a small amount more.

Almonds may be slightly higher in calories than cashews but due to the high amount of weight loss friendly nutrients, almonds are likely better for weight loss than cashews.

Cashews vs peanuts

Peanuts are another popular comparison. Peanuts are slightly higher in calories, 567 calories per 100 grams (10).

The amount of fiber is a lot different. Cashews have about 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 8.5 grams of peanuts. Peanuts contain about 25.8 grams of protein per 100 grams, so a relatively big amount higher than cashews. In terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals, cashews and peanuts are very similar.

The difference in fiber and protein makes a big difference when it comes to losing weight. This makes peanuts better than cashews for weight loss.

Cashews vs walnuts

The next comparison is between cashews and walnuts. Walnuts are higher in calories, 654 calories per 100 grams (11).

Walnuts contain 6.7 grams of fiber so a decent amount higher than cashews. In terms of protein walnuts contain less, 15.2 grams per 100 grams. Walnuts have slightly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals.

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

Cashews and walnuts will have a very similar effect on weight loss but the big difference in calories may work in favor of cashews for weight loss.

Cashews vs pistachios

Lastly the comparison between cashews and pistachios. Pistachios contain about the same amount of calories as cashews, 557 calories per 100 grams (12).

Pistachios have more fiber per 100 grams than cashews, 10.3 grams. Pistachios are also higher in protein per 100 grams, 20.6 grams vs the 18.2 grams in cashews. Both of these nuts are very high in vitamins and minerals.

The difference in fiber and protein makes pistachios better for weight loss than cashews.

Chart of cashews 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 cashews.

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 cashews (1), almonds (9), peanuts (10), walnuts (11), and pistachios (12) to compare.

Values Per 100gCashewsAlmondsPeanutsWalnutsPistachios
Calories553 calories575 calories567 calories654 calories557 calories
Fiber3.3 g12.2 g8.5 g6.7 g10.3 g
Protein18.2 g21.2 g25.8 g15.2 g20.6 g
Chart comparing cashews vs other nuts for weight loss