Calories are units of energy used in nutrition. Generally, the term "calories" refers to kilocalories (kcal), also known as food calories. One kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise one liter of water by one degree Celsius.
In terms of nutrition, calories are the energy we obtain from our food. Our body needs energy to maintain vital functions such as respiration, heartbeat, brain function, and cell regeneration. Additionally, we require energy for physical activities like fitness training, movement, and sports.
The energy we derive from food primarily comes from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each of these nutrients provides a specific amount of energy per gram:
- Carbohydrates: Approximately 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates. (⇒ carbohydrate-rich foods)
- Proteins: Also about 4 calories per gram of protein. (⇒ protein-rich foods)
- Fats: Approximately 9 calories per gram of fat. (⇒ fatty foods)
- Alcohol: Approximately 7 calories per gram of alcohol.
When we consume, for example, nuts, these nutrients are broken down in the digestive system, and our body utilizes the released energy to perform the necessary functions. The total energy content of a meal or food is the sum of the energy contributions from the contained carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and, if applicable, alcohol.
The total amount of calories a person consumes and the amount of calories they expend influence body weight. If the intake of calories exceeds the amount of energy burned, it can lead to weight gain. Conversely, a calorie deficit, where more calories are burned than consumed, can result in weight loss. The calorie chart can help you keep track of the calorie content of your meals and snacks and make conscious decisions to achieve your weight goal.
Our calorie charts can also help you gain a better understanding of energy balance and the role of calories in a vegan diet:
- Fruits high in calories
- Vegetables high in calories
- Legumes high in calories
- Herbs and spices high in calories
- Grains and cereals high in calories
- Mushrooms high in calories
- Drinks and juices high in calories
- Fats and oils high in calories
This can enable you to make long-term changes in your eating habits and lifestyle to achieve a sustainable and healthy diet. The calorie content of nuts, seeds, and kernels can also be compared to other foods to ensure a balanced diet.
What Impact Do Nuts, Seeds And Kernels Have On Calorie Intake?
Nuts, seeds, and kernels have a relatively high calorie content due to their fat content. This means that even a small amount can contain a considerable number of calories.
Despite their higher calorie content, nuts, seeds, and kernels are a healthy alternative to many sugary snacks. Their high nutrient and healthy fat content can satisfy hunger and reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks.
The impact of nuts, seeds, and kernels on calorie intake should also be considered in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet are crucial for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Nuts, seeds, and kernels mainly contain healthy unsaturated fats. Walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including supporting heart health and reducing inflammation. Compared to saturated fats found in animal products, the fats found in nuts, seeds, and kernels have a more favorable impact on health. Fats are also needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Many nuts and seeds contain natural antioxidants such as vitamin E, selenium, and certain phytochemicals. Antioxidants can combat cell damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Nuts, seeds, and kernels are good sources of dietary fiber. They contribute to promoting a healthy digestion and can lower cholesterol levels.
How Can Nuts, Seeds And Kernels Help With Weight Loss?
Although nuts, seeds, and kernels are calorie-dense, their high fat and fiber content can provide a long-lasting feeling of satiety. Dietary fiber, abundant in many nuts, seeds, and kernels, promotes healthy digestion, regulates bowel movements, and contributes to satiety. With a fiber-rich diet, you can feel fuller for longer and consume fewer overall calories. Studies have shown that people who regularly consume nuts often do not experience significant weight gain. Mindful eating can help control calorie intake. By chewing nuts, seeds, and kernels slowly and thoroughly, focusing on taste and texture, you can better perceive the feeling of fullness and potentially eat less.
Healthy fats are important for optimal hormone production and metabolic regulation. An efficient metabolism can help the body effectively burn calories and promote weight loss. In addition to healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and kernels also contain proteins. Proteins contribute to satiety and have a higher thermic effect, meaning the body burns more calories to digest them. This can support metabolism in the long term and increase calorie expenditure. Especially in a vegan diet, nuts, seeds, and kernels are an excellent choice to meet your protein requirements. They contain high-quality plant-based protein, which contributes to muscle regeneration and building.
Due to their high fat content, nuts, seeds, and kernels are a good source of energy. They provide sustained energy over a longer period, helping to avoid cravings and energy crashes. Feeling energized motivates you to engage in physical activity and burn calories.
Nuts, seeds, and kernels contain a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. By incorporating them into your diet, you obtain essential nutrients necessary for a balanced diet and a healthy metabolism during weight loss.
They also have a low glycemic index, which means they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This helps prevent spikes and drops in blood sugar, regulating appetite and reducing cravings.
Nuts, seeds, and kernels can serve as a healthy snack alternative to avoid cravings. Compared to unhealthy snacks like chips or sweets, they contain more nutrients and healthy fats.
Nuts are easy to overeat, so it's helpful to pre-portion them into serving sizes. Use small snack containers or bags to measure and take individual portions with you. This way, you have better control over your calorie intake.
Nuts, Seeds And Kernels In A Vegan Diet
You can incorporate nuts, seeds, and kernels into your diet in various ways:
- They can be easily combined with other foods. You can use them in salads, vegetable dishes, yogurts, smoothies, cereals, soups, sauces, or as a topping for dishes. This allows you to enhance the taste and texture of meals without consuming large amounts.
- Nut butter such as almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter can be a delicious addition. When you make them yourself, you can control the addition of oils, salt, and sweeteners. However, be mindful of the serving size as nut butter is also calorie-dense due to its high fat content. You can use nuts and seeds to make delicious and healthy butter.
- Roasting nuts, seeds, and kernels can intensify their flavor. You can lightly roast them in a pan without additional fat or bake them in the oven at a low temperature. However, be careful not to over-roast them to avoid burning.
- Create your own mix of nuts and seeds by combining different varieties.
- Add chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts to your favorite baked goods. They can enhance cookies, cakes, bread, or granola bars and give them a delicious crunch.
- Instead of regular breading, you can use chopped nuts or ground seeds to bread vegetables. This adds extra flavor and a crispy texture to the dishes.
- Chop nuts like cashews, pecans, or pistachios and use them as a filling for stuffed peppers, eggplants, or mushrooms. This not only adds flavor to the dishes but also provides additional proteins and healthy fats.
- Some seeds like alfalfa seeds, chia seeds, broccoli seeds, or radish seeds can be sprouted. Sprouting seeds increases their nutrient density and makes them easier to digest. You can add them to salads, sandwiches, or wraps, for example.