Can I eat just nuts for protein?

Can I Just Eat Nuts For Protein?

May 29, 2024

Through the understanding of the health benefits and nutrition that nuts provide, it's not surprising that people are considering replacing other protein sources with them. While it is intriguing to implement this in our high-protein diet, it may not be a wise decision, considering a healthy diet should consist of a variety of foods that contain different nutrition to support our daily body requirements.

In short, no, we should not solely rely on nuts for our protein intake. They can be added to our diet to provide a diverse source of protein as well as healthy nutrition.

Can I eat nuts all day?

A full bowl of nuts but can we eat that just for the entire day?

It's not advisable to consume only nuts for the entire day due to several reasons. While they are a nutrition powerhouse that provides protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they can be high in calories when consumed in large amounts.

Although nuts are high in protein, they are not the same. For example, based on 100g, almonds contain 21.4g of protein, while pecans contain 9.96g of protein, a difference of about 114%.

Ideally, we should not rely solely on nuts for protein. Other food sources should be considered in a healthy diet that provides protein sources from meat or plant-based.

Replacing a Meal with Nuts

Theoretically, replacing a meal with nuts may not have a detrimental effect on our bodies if done occasionally, but it should only be considered when we are faced with a lack of time to consume a proper meal and not as a regular practice.

Such cases are common among corporate employees, especially during peak and hectic periods. Some may skip lunch to complete their work turning to nuts as a temporary solution to curb their hunger.

It's important to pay attention to the portion of the nuts when consuming as a meal replacement. A serving size per day should be only about a handful.

Can you get enough protein from nuts?

There are 20 protein-amino acids, 11 of which are non-essential, meaning our bodies can produce them naturally and are not required to obtain them from food.

The remaining 9 amino acids are essential, meaning we must obtain them from the food we consume. While some nuts, like pistachios, provide all 9 essential amino acids, the amounts may not be well-balanced, and this applies to other nuts as well.

Therefore, the answer is no, we cannot get enough protein solely from nuts to fulfill our body's needs for essential amino acids. We must obtain protein from other foods to ensure a more balanced intake of essential amino acids.

Are nuts better than meat for protein?

A plate of chicken breast with salads, but are the protein better than nuts?

It's not straightforward to only compare the protein content when it comes to food. Every food provides different nutrition, and our meals should consist of a variety

Here is a comparison between peanuts and a skinless boiled chicken breast with their protein, fats, and calories based on 100g.

Items Protein Per 100g Fat Per 100g Calories Per 100g
Peanuts 23.2g 49.2g 567kcal
Skinless Chicken Breast 32g 6.2g 284kcal

From the comparison table above, peanuts contain a lower protein (38% less), higher fats (694% more) and more calories (100% more). We can conclude that having too many nuts would cause an imbalance in nutrition intake with much higher calories and fat content.

Nuts may not necessarily be better than meat in terms of protein content, but both are excellent additions to our diet and consumed in moderation.

Nuts are a good substitute for meat protein.

While nuts may not offer as much protein as meat, they serve as an excellent meat substitute due to their relatively high plant-based protein content. This makes them particularly valuable for vegetarians or vegans.

Moreover, nuts are rich sources of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They make for ideal snacks, especially for individuals on weight loss routines. Even a handful can effectively curb hunger and keep you feeling full between meals.

The Best Nuts For Protein

As previously discussed, the protein content of nuts varies depending on the type, allowing for flexibility in dietary planning based on individual preferences

Here are 6 nuts ranked by their protein content, from highest to lowest:

  1. Peanuts.
  2. Almonds.
  3. Pistachios.
  4. Cashews.
  5. Walnuts.
  6. Pecans.

For further information, you can refer to our article on the best nuts for high protein.

The Role of Nuts in a Diverse Protein Diet

A crepe cake with cheese and nuts for a diverse protein source.

In this article, we cover the reasons why relying solely on nuts for protein is not advisable for a well-balanced healthy diet. A complete protein contains both essential and non-essential amino acids; however, nuts cannot provide us with the full range of essential amino acids in balanced amounts.

We require other sources of protein from meat or other plant-based foods to ensure a more rounded protein intake. While some nuts contain all 9 essential amino acids, this is insufficient for our bodies' needs.

In addition to protein, we must consume foods that provide essential nutrients such as fats, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Solely consuming nuts can lead to an excessive intake of calories and fats, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease or diabetes.


More articles