Why You May Want To Think Twice Before Eating Macadamia Nuts

Most of us have heard that nuts are a healthy snack, and grabbing a handful or two of our favorite high-protein nuts can be a great alternative to salt and fat laden chips or other less healthy treats. While there certainly is some truth to this, not all nuts are necessarily created equal. While macadamia nuts can provide a good deal of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants, eating too many can have some potential downsides. 

Macadamia nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, while also being low in sugar, according to Healthline. They also contain high amounts of the important health-boosting antioxidants flavonoids and tocotrienols, which play an important role in helping to protect against cell damage. They also contain many essential nutrients like manganese, thiamine, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. Studies have shown that regularly consuming the fiber and nutrients found in macadamia nuts can improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and inflammation. However, macadamia nuts are fairly high in calories, which makes them a less than ideal snack for dieters that are hoping to shed some pounds.

Macadamia nuts are high in calories and fat

According to Fitday, just one ounce of the nut contains about 200 calories, so it can be easy to accidentally consume quite a few calories in one sitting without even realizing it, particularly because the serving size is so small. One ounce is the equivalent of only about 10 to 12 nuts, which is far less than the average person is likely to eat in one sitting, according to Medical News Today. And that can definitely lead to accidental overeating, since just one cup of macadamia nuts contains close to 950 calories, which is around half of the average person's daily calorie needs.

These nuts also contain very high amounts of fat. While some monounsaturated fats can be a good addition to a healthy diet, a single one cup serving of macadamia nuts has a whopping 102 grams of total fat, including about 16 grams of saturated fat, which is 25 grams over the max average recommended daily intake of 77 grams (via Nutritionix and Cleveland Clinic).

Some macadamia nuts contain high amounts of added sodium

Furthermore, some types of macadamia nuts may contain high amounts of salt, oil, and even sugar. Naturally, macadamia nuts are very low in sodium and sugar, with just 1.13 milligrams of salt and only about 1.2 grams of sugar per each one ounce serving, according to Very Well FitHowever, many brands of macadamia nuts are sold with extra toppings, which adds flavor but can send the sodium, sugar, and calorie content skyrocketing. Roasted macadamia nuts are often the worst culprits when it comes to sneaky additives. Additionally, roasting macadamia nuts at a high temperature may cause them to lose some of their nutritional value when compared to raw nuts, according to Medical News Today

So, not only are roasted macadamia nuts likely to contain even more calories, salt, and other additives, they may also provide lower amounts of the nutrients that help make the nuts a healthy snack. Individuals that are trying to be mindful of their calories, sugar or salt intake should take care to look at the labels and ensure they are purchasing natural nuts with no added ingredients, and perhaps they might do well to avoid roasted macadamia nuts entirely.

Macadamia nuts are a common food allergen

Macadamia nuts are also a type of tree nut, which means they are one of the more common allergies that people suffer from, according to Verywell Health. Macadamia nuts, as well as other tree nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, are probably best to avoid if you plan on serving a large gathering or are having company and are unsure of every attendee's dietary restrictions. For some people with severe allergies, even touching foods that have been contaminated with the tree nuts or breathing the particles in the air can cause a reaction, so it is best to avoid them entirely in the company of those with food allergies (via Medical News Today).

When it comes to the wide variety of snack foods on the market, macadamia nuts are hardly the worst option for an afternoon pick-me-up. However, they aren't exactly a dieter's dream either thanks to their fairly high calorie and fat content, and the fact that they can pose a severe health risk for those that suffer from nut allergies. For the average person, a serving or two every once in a while isn't a bad idea, but when it comes to macadamia nuts, the best practice is probably to consume them in moderation.