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Walnuts in the shell

"Nut” Those Calories—These Ones!

Here's some nutrition news to go nuts about: Some of our favorite tree nuts, like almonds and walnuts, have fewer calories than previously thought—at least in terms of what the human body can use.

For example, an ounce of almonds has about 168 calories. However, ARS physiologists in Beltsville, MD, found that not all those calories may be available for uptake and use by the body.

Many factors beyond a food’s basic composition can influence the so-called “bioavailability” of its calories. With nuts, this includes whether they’re raw, roasted, or ground—and even how well they’re chewed!

In their studies, the researchers found that the bioavailability of calories for almonds was 4.6 calories per gram. That’s 23 percent less than the currently accepted 6.0 calories per gram.

Although this may not seem like much, a calorie reduction of 23 percent daily can be quite significant. Providing accurate information on what the body can use (or metabolize) calorie-wise is important for reliable food labeling and can have important health ramifications.

Related Information

Article: Going Nuts Over Calories