Surprising study results: nuts have fewer calories than believed

Whether as a Snack, as a Topping for your favorite Bowl or cereal for Breakfast – go nuts simply.

Despite its Image as a calorie bomb you are now considered very healthy and are becoming more and more popular.

Who previously had to enjoy nuts and co. because of their calorie content is rather economical, may now have reason to celebrate: a new American study revealed that the fruit with the hard shell has not so many calories as previously thought.

The study was published in the journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The calorie content of food is determined

The energy content of foods is primarily determined by the Atwater factors for certain food groups may not apply to you, including nuts count.

This measurement method is used for more than 100 years, to measure calories with the so-called bomb calorimeter – here, food is burned in a heat-transmissive Container, which is surrounded with water.

Is measured by how many degrees has heated the water. The resulting fuel can then be value, so the energy content, can be derived.

The problem is the Atwater method, in the sense that the calorie content is not taken into account, in which foods the nutrients are, or how the individual nutrients in the digestive system of the human behavior.

The calorie content in nuts has been studied in more detail

Janet A. Novotny is a nutritional scientist at the U.S. Department of agriculture and has engaged in the past few years, with the caloric content of various nuts.

For the investigations of nine adult subjects ate nearly three weeks of an almond-enriched diet, while a further nine subjects was a diet without almonds. In the Crossover study, both diets were asked to point to. In this Form of diet, the subjects received doses of one of three Almond – these contained zero, 42, or 84 grams of almonds per day.

On the basis of the degradation products in a regular chair, blood and urine of the subjects of the samples was then reconstructed how much energy the body could actually pull out of the almonds. For this purpose, the samples were analyzed for macronutrient and energy content.

The result is surprising

The result could actually make for a Surprise, because the energy content of almonds was 4.6 kilo calories per gram, this corresponds to a normal Serving of 28 grams of about 129 calories.

This is significantly less than the energy density of approx. six kilo calories per gram, as determined by the Atwater factors. This corresponds to 168-170 calories per Serving.

The Atwater factors resulted in the application on almonds to an Overestimation of their measured energy content of all of 32 percent.

Probably some nutrients, especially fat, are not included, so in the nut cells that you included in the stomach and intestines at all from the body, but simply be excreted.

Nuts are often chewed for a very long time – so you get chunks into the digestive system and will not be decomposed completely, and therefore, their calorie content is lower than previously assumed.


  • Novotny, J. A., Gebauer, S. K., & Baer, D. J. (2012). Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 96(2), 296-301. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.035782

Antonia Hagedorn

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