If you are trying to eat more plant-based protein, adding more nuts to your diet may be a good idea. You may be thinking, are nuts even high in protein? Well, it depends on what your definition of “high” is, but in general nuts can be a good way to increase your protein consumption.
Are nuts high in protein?
While nuts aren’t as high in protein as foods like meat, dairy or eggs, they still are a good source of protein. In fact, they are categorized as a protein food in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans where they describe one serving of nuts as equal to 1 tbsp of nut butter or ½ ounce of nuts.
What makes nuts confusing is their high fat content, which makes them more of a high fat food than a high protein food. But, this doesn’t mean nuts are unhealthy. In fact, nuts are high in unsaturated fats, which are associated with improved heart health.
Are nuts as good a source of protein as meat?
When discussing what foods are a better source of protein, it’s important to talk about protein quality. This can be measured through a value called PDCAAS or protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score, which describes how well the protein is absorbed through digestion.
For example, peanuts have a PDCAAS score of 0.52, while beef has a score of 0.92. This means even if you consume the same amount of protein from beef or peanuts, you will utilize more protein from the beef.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should eat more meat and less nuts. In fact, there are health benefits associated with consuming more plant protein, even if the protein isn’t absorbed as well. While meat and nuts are both protein foods, they have varying nutrient profiles that benefit the body in unique ways.
9 High Protein Nuts
The following chart lists the five nuts that are highest in protein based on a one ounce serving size. Calories and protein per one ounce serving are listed.
|Peanuts||161 calories||7.3 grams|
|Almonds||164 calories||6.0 grams|
|Pistachio||159 calories||5.7 grams|
|Cashews||157 calories||5.2 grams|
|Walnuts||185 calories||4.3 grams|
What nuts are lowest in protein?
There are several nuts that are fairly low in protein compared to their counterparts. These include pecans (2.6 grams), macadamia nuts (2.2 grams) and chestnuts (1.4 grams). While these are perfectly fine to eat and contain beneficial nutrients, they aren’t going to be a good source of protein.
Are nut butters high in protein?
Yes! Nut butters can be a good source of protein. Grinding the nuts has no effect on their protein content. Plus, they are a great addition to toast, pancakes, oatmeal or smoothies. Here are a few nut butters that are high in protein:
- Peanut butter, 2 tbsp = 7.2 grams of protein
- Almond butter, 2 tbsp = 6.6 grams of protein
- Cashew butter, 2 tbsp = 5.6 grams of protein
- Sunflower butter, 2 tbsp = 5.5 grams of protein
Is it ok to eat nuts everyday?
Yes, it is completely ok to consume nuts every day. One thing to keep in mind is that nuts are rather high in fat and calories, so they can be easy to overconsume. This can potentially lead to weight gain (depending on what the rest of your diet looks like).
It’s always to look at your diet as a whole. Are you consuming enough fiber? Protein? Are you reaching your vitamin and mineral needs? Are you consuming too much or too little overall calories? It’s less about how many nuts you are consuming daily, but how nuts fit into your overall dietary patterns.