When it comes to calories, which food wins out: French fries or almonds?


French fries are one of the many indulgences we’re used to enjoying every day. They’re crispy, salty, and delicious, and can complement any meal at any time of day. Almonds, on the other hand, are much more of a health food staple than French fries are—which may come as a surprise to many people! Almonds are high in protein and fiber, rich in healthy fats, and contain plenty of nutrients that can benefit your heart and body overall. So when it comes to calories, which food wins out?

What are you comparing?

It’s no secret that French fries are loaded with calories. A small order from a fast food restaurant can easily pack in over 400 calories. Almonds, on the other hand, are often touted as a healthy snack option. But how do they compare when it comes to calories?

Each gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Each gram of protein and each gram of fat both have 9 calories. That means that a small order of French fries contains over 50% more carbohydrates than protein and almost double as much fat as well! A single ounce (28 grams) of almonds, on the other hand, contains only 8% carbohydrates compared to 13% protein and 74% fat. By weight alone, almonds will give you far fewer overall calories than even a small serving of French fries. The difference is even greater if you compare them by calorie count instead of by weight since people often eat a larger volume (and so get more weight) when eating potatoes versus nuts.

Calories in Almonds

  • Almonds are a healthy snack option because they are packed with nutrients. Just one ounce (28 grams) of almonds contains 163 calories, 6 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of fiber (1).
  • For a typical serving size of 28 grams, you’ll get about 5 percent of your daily calcium needs (9 milligrams), 13 percent of iron (0.49 milligrams), and 12 percent of magnesium (13 milligrams). Almonds are also high in healthy fats, with 32 percent of their total fat content coming from monounsaturated fatty acids.

Calories in French Fries

French fries are a popular fast food item, but they’re not exactly known for being healthy. A small order of French fries from a fast food restaurant can have over 400 calories. And that’s not even including the dipping sauce! When you compare that to a similar-sized serving of almonds, which has around 200 calories, it’s easy to see how the latter can be a better choice when you’re watching your calorie intake.

Still, you shouldn’t think of French fries as bad for you. While they do contain more calories than many other types of foods, that doesn’t mean you should avoid them altogether. If you’re going to eat French fries from time to time—or whenever your craving hits—make sure that you prepare them at home instead of eating them at a restaurant. That way, you can cut down on a lot of excess fat and salt by choosing baked fries over fried ones.

Calories Matter Less Than You Think

The number of calories in a food doesn’t tell the whole story. Just because a food is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s healthy, and just because a food is high in calories doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. The quality of the calories counts, too.

That’s because calorie counts don’t take into account the nutritional value of a food. As a result, you can end up with what appears to be a healthy choice that actually isn’t. For example, let’s compare one ounce of almonds with one ounce of French fries. Both have about 160 calories and contain decent amounts of vitamin E and B vitamins—the kind that help lower your bad cholesterol levels. But there are other differences between these two foods—differences you may not even notice at first glance.

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