Servings of Nuts and Seeds on the South Beach Diet

Pile of fresh Brazil nuts on a wooden table
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On the South Beach Diet, nuts and seeds are allowed in limited quantities. This is great news if you enjoy a snack of almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds from time to time or like to dress your salad with them. The restrictions are pretty tight, however, so you need to be ready to count your nuts.

Nuts, Seeds, and the South Beach Diet

Dry roasted nuts and seeds are recommended for the South Beach Diet. It seems that the suggested nut servings are about 2/3 ounce per day on the diet, while about an ounce of seeds is allowed. This information is from the original South Beach Diet book.

In contrast, "The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide" seems to indicate that a 1-ounce serving can be used for nuts. This is contradictory and, depending on which phase of the diet you're in, you might want to take either the lower or higher amount.

Nut Servings 

When we say "count your nuts," we are not kidding. As you can see by the recommendations, this diet is very specific about exactly how many nuts you can have each day.

  • Almonds - 15
  • Brazil Nuts - 4
  • Cashews - 15
  • Hazelnuts (Filberts) - 25
  • Macadamia - 8
  • Peanuts (boiled is fine) - 20 small nuts
  • Pecans - 15
  • Pistachios - 30
  • Walnuts - 15
  • Nut butter, including peanut butter - 2 tablespoons

Seed Servings 

Seeds are also an excellent snack and salad option and the good news is you don't have to count each individual seed. On the South Beach Diet, the recommended serving size is one ounce which is about 3 tablespoons (there are a couple of exceptions).

  • Flax Seed - 3 tablespoons
  • Pine Nuts (Pignolia) 3 to 4 tablespoons, depending on the size
  • Pumpkin Seeds - 3 tablespoons
  • Sesame Seeds - 3 tablespoons
  • Soy "Nuts" (roasted soy kernels) - 1/4 cup
  • Sunflower Seeds - 3 tablespoons

Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

All of these nuts and seeds have their own health benefits associated with them. Yet, as a group, they can be quite beneficial in a healthy diet as long as the quantities are kept in check.

Many nuts have surprising health benefits. For instance, some studies have shown that they can help fight disease, lower your risk for things like heart disease and diabetes, and they may actually help you live a longer life.

Nuts are filled with all sorts of good things our bodies need. They're an excellent source of protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Many nuts — particularly almonds, pistachios, and walnuts — also contain monounsaturated fats and this is one of the good types of fats. This means that nuts can also help you lower cholesterol.

The main problem with nuts is the tendency to overeat them. It's understandable because they're a bite-sized food and once you get started, it's hard to stop. That's why diets like the South Beach Diet ask you to count individual nuts and measure out seeds. It's all about control, but there's no reason you can't enjoy a few nuts each day.

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