Most people know that consuming more nuts can be beneficial. But how do pecans and walnuts compare in factors like health, baking, and price?
Pecans are a dark brown, elongated nut with a relatively hard shell. Walnuts are light brown with a more round, brain-like, shape. The walnut shell is generally easier to crack open.
For most of the objective measurements discussed here, like nutrients and price, walnuts are generally better than pecans for the average person. Your personal situation may require different nutrients than the general population so the reverse may also be the case.
Pecans are generally sweeter and used in recipes like this. Walnuts are slightly more bitter and are generally used in more savory dishes. The taste may be important for staying consistent with your eating habits.
This article will compare the nutrients in pecans vs walnuts, for which goals each could be more useful, dishes you can combine pecans and walnuts with, and which one of the two is generally less expensive.
Pecans vs walnuts: nutrition
One of the main differences people want to know about is the nutritional difference between pecans and walnuts. Below you can find a table comparing some of the nutrients in pecans and walnuts and what consequences these differences have for certain goals.
|Nutrients In Pecans||Pecans (100 grams)||Nutrients In Walnuts||Walnuts (100 grams)|
|Calories||691 calories||Calories||654 calories|
|Protein||9.2 grams||Protein||15.2 grams|
|Carbohydrates||14 grams||Carbohydrates||13.7 grams|
|Part of the carbohydrates that is fiber||9.6 grams||Part of the carbohydrates that is fiber||6.7 grams|
|Fat||72 grams||Fat||65.2 grams|
|Manganese||225% of the DV*||Manganese||171% of the DV*|
|Copper||60% of the DV||Copper||79% of the DV|
|Thiamin||44% of the DV||Magnesium||40% of the DV|
|Magnesium||30% of the DV||Phosphorus||35% of the DV|
|Zinc||30% of the DV||Vitamin B6||27% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||28% of the DV||Folate||25% of the DV|
|Iron||14% of the DV||Thiamin||23% of the DV|
|Potassium||12% of the DV||Zinc||21% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||10% of the DV||Iron||16% of the DV|
|Vitamin B5||9% of the DV||Potassium||13% of the DV|
|Riboflavin||8% of the DV||Calcium||10% of the DV|
|Vitamin E||7% of the DV||Riboflavin||9% of the DV|
|Calcium||7% of the DV||Selenium||7% of the DV|
|Niacin||6% of the DV||Niacin||6% of the DV|
|Folate||5% of the DV||Vitamin B5||6% of the DV|
|Selenium||5% of the DV||Vitamin E||4% of the DV|
Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
The first difference many people are interested in when comparing pecans with walnuts is how much each one will help weight loss. Other nutrients play a role in losing weight as well but this section will compare a few main nutrients.
The first nutrient is total calories. 100 grams of pecans contains about 691 calories vs 654 calories in 100 grams of walnuts. This is not a very big difference especially if you know that a few of these calories are due to the extra amount of fiber in pecans which does not get absorbed into your actual body as easily.
That leads to the next important weight loss nutrient, fiber. This nutrient has multiple benefits for weight loss. In short, fiber helps you with feeling less hungry, reducing cravings, and improving the health of your microbiome. All while not really counting towards your total calories.
Pecans contain about 9.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams, walnuts contain about 6.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams. The amount of fiber in pecans is a good amount higher but even with that in mind walnuts still contain a relatively high amount of fiber too.
The final nutrient that will be discussed is protein which helps with reducing hunger and preserving and building muscle. These are all very helpful benefits when trying to lose weight. Pecans contain about 9.2 grams of protein, walnuts about 15.2 grams.
In general, walnuts will be slightly better for weight loss than pecans but the difference will not be very big. If you lack specific nutrients involved in weight loss that pecans offer, they may be the better choice anyway.
A challenge with eating habits when trying to lose weight is being consistent. So due to the small difference in pecans vs walnuts when it comes to weight loss, the best choice is generally your personal preference.
Healthy eating is about both getting the right amount of certain nutrients and avoiding bad substances. This section will focus on getting the right nutrients. It may be possible that there is a difference in farming methods which could lead to more or less bad substances but these differences will not be talked about.
According to the second nutrition report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common nutrient deficiencies are vitamin B6, Iron, vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 (3). Other nutrients that many people need more of include calcium, iodine, and magnesium (4, 5, 6).
The influence of different foods on vitamins and mineral levels is complicated, your intake of one nutrient can influence the levels of other nutrients. That being said it looks like walnuts will generally help you more with these nutrients than the same weight of pecans.
Another nutritional difference that is relevant is the amount of omega-3 fats in each nut. Omega-3 fat is a type of fat most people can use more of (7). Not consuming enough omega-3 fat compared to omega-6 fats may lead to an increased risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases (8, 9).
These things considered for most people walnuts will likely be healthier than pecans. In your personal situation, this may be different due to factors like the rest of your diet, genetics, habits, etc.
Lastly, some people wonder about how keto-friendly pecans are compared to walnuts. For keto one of the most important nutritional details is net carbohydrate content. This is the total amount of carbohydrates minus the amount of fiber.
100 grams of pecan contains about 4.4 grams of net carbs vs 7 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of walnuts.
Purely looking at the differences in terms of keeping your net carb intake per 100 grams of food low, pecans are a more low-carb-friendly nut than walnuts.
Pecans vs walnuts: taste and baking
In terms of taste, walnuts are a bit more bitter than pecans. Pecans have a slightly “sweeter” taste. This difference in taste also makes it so these nuts are used differently in the kitchen.
Walnuts are generally more used in savory dishes like salads and oatmeals. That being said walnuts do play a role in a variety of baked goods recipes.
Pecans are generally more used in sweet dishes like baked goods. Again, you can also use pecans in these more savory dishes like salads and oatmeal.
They are most common in different types of recipes but you can definitely use pecans and walnuts interchangeably.
Pecans vs walnuts: price
The actual difference in price of pecans vs walnuts varies from location to location and from brand to brand.
That being said, in general walnuts are less expensive than pecans.
Besides keto-friendliness, walnuts are better than pecans for most people in most of the objective measurements in this article. For your personal situation, recommendations may vary. Other substances in these foods that are not discussed may have an impact too.
That being said, the differences are relatively small. You can definitely substitute pecans for walnuts and the other way around.
Pecans are generally used for sweeter dishes and walnuts for more savory dishes.
Walnuts may have a few advantages over pecans but personal preference matters too. An important part of any eating plan is consistency.
If you really don’t like one of the two options, choosing the other option may be better because it helps you stay consistent. Even if that means consuming fewer nutrients but actually sticking to the positive change.