Which foods contain more protein?
A new report from the nonprofit Nutrition Facts Initiative (NFI) suggests that almonds, peanuts, and whole grain have more protein than other foods.
But it’s not a total endorsement.
“We can’t completely say, ‘all nuts are nuts’ or ‘all grains are grains’,” said Rachel Tressell, senior nutrition adviser at NFI, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
But the group found that the average daily amount of protein in foods like almonds, pistachios, quinoa, and oats was about 1.4 grams per ounce.
That’s a significant difference from the average for other foods like beans, lentils, and soybeans.
“There is a very good argument that these are all nuts,” said Tressel.
The findings come as the nation’s food supply continues to expand and the population ages.
A quarter of Americans under age 50 will get to eat more meat in the next decade, and the average person’s protein intake is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2040.
Nutritional facts are a way to quantify the health benefits of food.
“They tell you what to eat, how much to eat,” said Sarah Haines, senior editor at HealthDay.
But “there are plenty of myths and misinformation about these foods that you don’t want to be eating,” she added.
“So they’re really important tools for us to know what’s actually healthy and what’s not.”
“Almonds and peanuts have a lot of protein,” said Hains.
“You could eat a lot more almonds.”
Almonds and pecans, on the other hand, contain a lot less protein.
“Pecans have a low amount of dietary fiber,” said Mandy Karp, NFI’s executive director.
But she added that nuts are a good source of dietary protein because they’re rich in essential amino acids like leucine, which can be used to fuel muscle growth.
Nutrients in nuts and legumes are also more easily absorbed.
“Legumes and nuts have been shown to have an impact on digestion, absorption, and satiety,” said Karp.
“It’s important to keep nuts and nuts products high in essential fatty acids.”
Nutrient-rich foods have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In the study, researchers found that people who ate the most nuts had a higher risk of mortality from all causes, including stroke, heart disease and cancer, and a lower risk of all cancers except colon cancer.
Almonds are especially rich in antioxidants.
The nuts are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin E, carotenoids, and vitamin B-6.
“Almond is one of the few nuts that have been proven to have high levels of these nutrients, so that’s really important,” said Lila Riese, chief science officer at Nettle, a nutritional consulting company.
Nutrient rich foods and nutritionally dense foods are important, said Karmachandran, who is the executive director of Nutrition Solutions, a nutrition consulting company in California.
“The nuts are the healthiest foods.
They’re also very nutrient dense.”
Nutrients are also important in helping your body absorb nutrients.
“When you eat nuts, you absorb those nutrients and then they go into your body for other uses,” said Rieses.
Nutritionally rich foods have higher levels of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber, which helps support healthy bones.
The study did not measure nutrient density.
Tresland said the study did show that nut protein was a bit higher in some of the foods, but it’s hard to know how much because they were only measuring protein and not whole grains.
“If they’re measuring whole grains, then they’re counting whole grains,” she said.
Nut protein also has more carbohydrates than whole grain protein.
For example, almonds have about 70 percent of the carbohydrate of whole grain proteins, but they have about 12 percent of that carbohydrate in nuts.
“But there are lots of carbs in nuts, so it’s interesting to see that they’re the only one that have a high percentage of that,” said Dr. Tressley, who has studied nut consumption for years.
“Nutritionally-dense foods are more nutritious than nutrient-dried foods.”
Almond and peanuts are often labeled as whole grains because of their nutritional value.
However, whole grains are also low in carbohydrates, which may help explain the nutritional differences between nuts and whole grains: almonds have a higher percentage of dietary fibre than whole grains do, and peanuts also have a much higher percentage than whole foods of omega-3 fatty acids.
The report also found that whole grains have more calories per serving than nuts and peaches.
The most notable difference between nuts, peaches, and almonds is their lower fiber content.
“People are always trying to get their whole grains to be as low in fiber as possible,” said J. Michael