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Almonds and cashews aren’t as high-calorie as we thought, and Kind is cutting the calorie counts of its bars as a result


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Six years of human studies from the USDA suggest that people don’t actually absorb all of the calories contained in nuts.
Instead, some of the contents of walnuts, cashews, and almonds just pass right through our systems, making them, on average, about 15 to 25% lower calorie than previously thought.
The Kind snack company is changing its nutrition labels to reflect the USDA’s data.
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Nuts are calorie-dense snacks, but they’re probably not as high-calorie as we’ve been led to believe.

The average walnut, almond, or cashew actually contains about 15-25% fewer calories than what most US nutrition labels suggest, according to a freshly-examined trove of studies from the USDA.

As a result, the Kind snack company is now revamping the labels on some of its most popular bars.

“You can eat a few more nuts and not feel guilty,” David Baer, who led the research at the USDA, told Insider.

The reason we’ve overcounted nut calories has to do with how human bodies process them, and how fiber protects and shrouds some of the calories inside the fruits from digestion.

In the USDA studies, which examined walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios over a period of six years, Baer and his team took a look at the feces of people who’d eaten nuts. They figured out that some of the nuts people put in their mouths end up coming right out their other end, without ever being used for energy.

“We don’t chew up the nut 100%, so we get these particles passing through,” Baer said. “Not all the calories are absorbed.”

Knowing what he knows now, the biologist said he doesn’t hesitate to eat a few more nuts than he used to.

“Whether it’s an almond or a walnut, they are nutrient-dense foods,” he said. “There’s a lot of nuances, but at the end of the day, how many calories you consume and how many calories you expend does matter.”

Kind bars now have roughly 20 fewer calories in them, but the ingredients haven’t changed

On Tuesday, snack bar juggernaut Kind announced that the company will change its labels to reflect the USDA data, a drastic move that may be the first of its kind.

The US Food and Drug Administration, the agency that regulates nutritional labels in the US, doesn’t mandate a specific protocol for how companies calculate the calories in almonds, cashews, or other nuts, as long as the labels are relatively accurate. (Products that are found to be 20% more caloric than what’s advertised on the label can be subject to regulatory action, if the FDA finds out.)

“FDA requires that labels must be truthful and not misleading,” an FDA spokesperson told Insider via email. “Manufacturers may use any appropriate method to calculate nutrient values that are declared on nutrition labels that ensure accuracy.”

Kind has already downshifted the calorie count on its nutrition facts for the bestselling Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar. Each 40 gram bar now says it …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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