Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about pine nuts, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Pine nuts are the seeds of certain types of pine cones. You can eat them on their own or as a part of other dishes like for example salads.
While pine nuts are very high in healthy nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals they are also relatively high in calories.
Pine nuts are definitely a better food for weight loss than many processed snacks but on the other hand, there are also a lot of foods that are way more useful when trying to lose weight.
If you do decide to add pine nuts to your diet you will need to exercise some portion control. Also keep in mind that pine nuts contain high amounts of manganese up to the point that overeating this food can be unhealthy.
Micronutrients in pine nuts
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in pine 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 dried pine nuts provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 440% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin K: 67% of the DV
- Copper: 66% of the DV
- Magnesium: 63% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 57% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 47% of the DV
- Zinc: 43% of the DV
- Iron: 31% of the DV
- Thiamin: 24% of the DV
- Niacin: 22% of the DV
- Potassium: 17% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. These are extremely good amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. Pine nuts can get you well on your way to hitting many daily vitamin and mineral goals.
Even too high depending on your dose of pine nuts. There is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of manganese. In simple words that means that too much manganese can cause negative side effects. About 100 grams of pine 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).
Pine nuts also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in pine nuts for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Dried pine nuts contain around 3.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is a good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many other foods.
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 pine nuts you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.
Protein in pine nuts for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Dried pine nuts contain about 13.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (4). Pine nuts are a good source of plant-based protein but also a good 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 pine nuts is big for a plant-based source of protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but pine nuts can get you well on your way towards your daily protein goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Are pine nuts good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can eat pine nuts while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in pine nuts.
Dried pine nuts contain around 673 calories per 100 grams. 53.3 of these calories come from carbohydrates (13.1 g per 100 grams of which 3.7 g fiber). That means about 115 calories in 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.
You should be able to fit in some pine nuts in low carb diets like the keto diet.
On the one hand, you have these big amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this large number of calories.
Pine nuts are mostly unique for their high amounts of vitamins and minerals. You should generally be able to get the other nutrients from foods that are more helpful for losing weight.
That being said pine nuts can help you lose weight depending on your current diet. They help you consume more fiber and protein which are helpful for reducing hunger. This in turn may help you avoid higher-calorie foods.
In general pine nuts likely shouldn’t play too big of a role in your weight loss diet but even a small amount can be helpful for increasing your vitamin and mineral intake.
Can pine nuts reduce belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To reduce belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since pine nuts can help you lose weight in general, depending on your current habits, this food can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in your abdominal area. That being said, there is a wide variety of foods that are more helpful than pine nuts for reducing belly fat.