Protein in Cashews

Protein in Cashews

Is Cashew Protein Complete?

No, it isn’t.  However, it so close to being complete that it would be hard to argue that it isn’t on anything but a technical definition.  The issue, as is so commonly the case, is with lysine.  Take a peak at the chart below.

Cashew Protein Complete

Protein Density of Cashews

The protein density of cashews really isn’t that great.  If anyone tries to tell you cashews are a great source of protein they’re basically lying to you.

Relative to calories a Russet potato has more protein than a cashew and NO ONE says potatoes area great source of protein.  We express protein relative to Calories in the equivalent “Caloric cost of one gram of protein”… check out the table below.

Source Density (Calories per g of protein)
Pure Protein 4.00
Pacific Cod 4.54
Egg Whites 4.77
Turkey Breast 4.88
Alaskan Halibut 5.11
Chicken Breast 5.32
Whey 4.40
Tofu, Soft 8.51
Lentils 12.86
Kidney Beans 14.65
Black Beans 14.90
Pinto Beans 15.87
Chickpeas 18.51
Quinoa 27.27
Oatmeal 27.95
Cashews 37.49
Brown Rice 48.28

Comparison with Soy and Lentil Protein

Not bad.  Great in methionine but terrible in lysine.  More interesting is that it’s leucine content is right up there just a tad under soy.

Cashew Lentil and Soy Protein Comparison

Comparison with Whey Protein

Our last benchmark is with Whey which is a great source of leucine (along with being complete).   We see here that it does ok in terms of leucine.  Nothing to right home about.

Cashew and Whey Protein Comparison


If you love cashews then eat them.  They’re a good source of fats and vitamins that we all need in our diet.  Cashews tend to be carb heavy when compared to other nuts like walnuts but that’s probably why we can eat them like candy.

That said, don’t eat them with the thought that you’re doing it for the protein.  You’re not.  The density of protein relative to calories is just too low.


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