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Myth or Fact: Nuts Should be Avoided as They are Fattening

Nuts are often touted as a good alternative source of protein for people who are vegetarian, on a diet, or simply don't like the taste of meat--but, how healthy are nuts for you? Nuts contain high amounts of fat, so shouldn't they be avoided? This article discusses the truth behind nuts, and answers the question: should nuts be avoided since they are fattening?

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About Fat

As the number of people around the world who are diagnosed as being overweight grows, we hear more and more about the type of fat in our food, and how this contributes to weight gain. And this is partially true--fats in our food do contain high amounts of calories, which can lead to weight gain and the development of obesity. Per gram, carbohydrates and protein each contain 4 calories--while for the same gram, fat contains 9 calories. That is more than twice the amount of calories for the same amount of food! So, it is no surprise that eating fat can contribute to weight gain.

Fat in Nuts

For years, fat in your food was frowned upon--and for good reason. As discussed above, fat is high in calories, which can lead to the development of obesity. In addition to this, saturated fats, which are typically found in meat, dairy products, and packaged snack foods and sweets, has been found to be linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some types of cancer.

Nuts were often described as a food rich in fat, which therefore should be avoided at all costs. Recently, however, researchers have found that while nuts do contain a large amount of fat, the fat is not saturated--rather, it is unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat has been found to be actually quite healthy, and has been proven to be effective in the treatment of many of the conditions caused by saturated fats. In fact, often times nuts are now being offered as an alternative source of protein for people who are vegetarian, or unable to eat a particular type of meat.

The Verdict

So, what's the verdict in this case? Should nuts be avoided? This question is actually a bit tricky to answer. In reality, yes, nuts are high in fat, which as we discussed earlier makes them a high-calorie food. However, since nuts contain unsaturated instead of saturated fats, it is difficult to instruct people to avoid eating them due to the numerous health benefits associated with their consumption. It appears that the best way to answer this question is to say that while nuts should not, in fact, be avoided, they should be eaten in small quantities in order to achieve good health and maintain an ideal weight. For best results, choose nuts that are unsalted.

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