Although it’s a fact that is often overlooked, there’s no question that one should be very careful in how they handle their nuts.

Get too reckless, and it could very easily throw your entire muscle building or fat burning program off course…

Yes, nuts and natural nut butters have always been considered a staple source of healthy fat in bodybuilding and fitness diets, and I certainly think they’re a worthwhile food to include in your overall plan.

However, this is one food source where portion control is of the utmost importance.

As I’ve said many times before, if your primary goal is to alter your body composition, then it makes no difference at all how “healthy” you’re eating if your total daily calorie intake doesn’t fall within the proper range based on your goal…

1) If you’re aiming to lean down but aren’t maintaining a net calorie deficit over time (15-20% below maintenance is my recommendation), you’re not going to lose an ounce of fat.

2) If you’re aiming to bulk up and your net calorie surplus shoots too high (15-20% above maintenance is my recommendation), you’ll still gain muscle, but you’ll also be putting on an excessive amount of body fat as well.

It’s really as simple as that.

And the plain fact is that nuts and nut butters, although a “healthy” source of fat, are very calorie dense.

You can only eat a very controlled amount of this stuff before the total calories begin shooting too high without you even noticing.

Sit down with a bag of mixed nuts and begin snacking away, or start aimlessly piling peanut butter onto your toast or into a protein shake, and in combination with a few other small dietary choices you’re making throughout the day, you could very well be completely sabotaging your results altogether.

For example, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter alone contains around 100 calories. Most people end up scooping out far more than this at once though, and end up with 200 or even 300 calories from just one serving of peanut butter alone. That’s a lotof calories for such a tiny amount of actual food.

Peanuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts are no different. For example, just 1/4 cup of almonds equals out to 207 calories. Go measure out a quarter cup of these suckers and you’ll quickly see what a small amount that actually is.

It might sound crazy, but a half cup of almonds per day alone could literally make the difference between consistently losing a significant amount of body fat every single week, and making zero progress whatsoever.

So, the moral of the story?

Treat your nuts with respect.

If you’re going to include nuts and natural butters in your diet, that’s totally fine and even recommended, but just make sure that you measure out your portions carefully and that it fits into your total daily calorie intake as a whole.

In fact, for items like this, using a food scale is probably going to be ideal. It might sound obsessive, but it really doesn’t take any more time than putting them in a measuring cup, and it will ensure that you’re not going overboard, and that what you consider to be a tablespoon of peanut butter really is a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Hard training is important, making the proper food choices is important, but if your total net calorie deficit or total net calorie surplus is not properly in place, your results will definitely be compromised, or even worse, non-existent.

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