Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Nov

Dear Mark: Are Roasted Nuts and Nut-Based Baked Goods Healthy?

roastedalmondsI type these words with cranberry stickiness under my fingernails and the faint but unmistakable scent of turkey lingering about my person (I don’t think Buddha, my white lab, has stopped following me around all weekend, sneaking in the odd lick to an elbow still glistening with turkey grease; and, yep, he just got me again). The massive poultry carcass just finished three days of simmering for stock, odd bits of breast meat and yam and solidified gravy popping up on every shelf in the fridge, empty wine bottles holding an Occupy Kitchen Counter. Ah, Thanksgiving, how I love you.

A staple of Thanksgiving seems to be fretting over holiday treats, only it’s a little different in the Primal community. Instead of freaking out over the saturated fat content of a dollop of whipped cream on a slice of pumpkin pie, we agonize over the gluten content, wonder if baking truly deactivated all the wheat germ agglutinin present in the crust, and speculate about how our gut flora will react to the fiber in the pumpkin filling. And when we make our own versions of holiday baked goods, like almond meal this or walnut flour that, we worry about the potential oxidation of the heated omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in the nuts. In fact, in the past week, I have received several questions on this very topic:

Dear Mark,

With all the delicious Primal recipes out there for holiday baked goodies, I have to wonder if they might actually be doing my health more harm than good. Does baking with nuts/nut butters turn them from a nutritious whole food and healthy snack into an oxidized omega-6 disaster?

Thanks!

Alyssa

There are several questions (and sub-questions) that need addressing here. First, do the omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in nuts oxidize when you heat them? Second, if they do, does the degree of oxidation from heating increase when you use ground nuts? Third, even if nut fats oxidize to some degree after heating, does it matter if we eat them? When the rubber hits the road, when the partially oxidized nut lipids hit the GI tract, what happens? Does eating said nut products translate to increased inflammation in the body or more oxidation of serum lipids? Well, let’s look into it.

Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), I was unable to find any studies that specifically examined Primal or paleo nut-based baked goods. I did find some interesting research on the stability of nuts when exposed to heat and some on the stability of blood lipids after eating nuts. It’s not what we’re looking for, not exactly, but from the available data we can divine some useful information and perhaps even make an educated guess or two about whether that Primal pie crust is okay or not.

So, heating nuts. There’s actually not a ton of data on the effect of roasting on nut lipids, but there’s some.

What’s cool about nuts is that they’re not just passive little balls of MUFA and PUFA, nice bite-sized vegetable oil snacks. You may not want nuts to oxidize because you don’t want to eat the rancid fats, but nuts have some real skin in the game, too; if they oxidize prematurely, they don’t germinate and grow up to be trees. To avoid this, the lipids are located within individual cells, protected by dense networks of cell walls made of polysaccharides lined with phenolic compounds designed to prevent the oxidation of the admittedly fragile fats. Simply put, the stability of a nut exposed to heat depends on a few things – its polyunsaturated fat content (more PUFA means more susceptibility, more MUFA means more stability), its antioxidant content (flavonoids and other antioxidants like vitamin E protect against oxidation), temperature, and the method of heating (dry roasting is gentler, oil roasting is harsher).

What about eating them?

Roasted almonds, raw almonds, and roasted almond butter all improved lipid numbers in one study, with the butter having the smallest impact. So, roasted pulverized almonds are less good, but still pretty good.

A big review of nuts and oxidation (PDF) found that for the most part, eating nuts improves serum lipid stability. It either reduces markers of oxidative stress or increases the resistance of lipids against oxidizing. And in the studies that showed no benefit, there were also no negatives. It was either beneficial or neutral. Almonds usually had better effects on oxidation than walnuts (lower PUFA, more MUFA). Of course, though most of the studies used raw nuts, the ones that used heated nuts still found benefits. Not too much data on heated ground-up nuts, sadly. There was a study that used almond meal muffins (although they weren’t exclusively almond meal). Eating those had no effect on lipid oxidation, neither good nor bad.

In other words, if eating nuts doesn’t improve the situation, it at least doesn’t worsen it. Then again, we have to take these studies with a grain of salt and consider the subjects’ baseline diets. These were not Primal subjects on a strict Primal – but nut-free – eating plan who experienced benefits upon incorporating nuts into their diets. These studies are by and large conducted using representatives of the general population, the same general population that eats a bad diet, is overweight trending toward obese, ingests a litany of pharmaceuticals, and leads a sedentary, stressful life. Replace their Cheezits with almonds and you’ll absolutely see some miraculous health benefits. I don’t think anyone would disagree.

But what if you add nut-based muffins and pancakes to a Primal eater’s daily arsenal of grass-fed beef, coconut, liver, eggs, leafy greens, berries, and sweet potatoes? Do good things happen? Bad things? Neutral things? Now, some of us in the Primal camp are overweight, eat less-than-ideally, have a few prescriptions, and don’t move and avoid stress as often as we’d like (and indeed a lot get involved with this stuff to avoid or defeat said maladies of the general population), but we are generally better off than the average eater. But what happens?

Definitive studies on Primal treats don’t exist, so I won’t be citing anything. But I’ve gathered plenty of feedback from readers, and I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of how these Primal treats affect us. As treats, as special occasions, they appear to be fine. And remember: even if those people in the nut studies who saw the most benefit from eating almonds or walnuts were strict SAD-eaters, that just indicates that the occasional Primal nut-based baked indulgence is a better cheat choice than pizza, pie, and fries.

raw crust

As staples, as regular parts of the daily diet, they may cause problems.

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t eat Primal almond meal pancakes that use a cup of pure almond meal every morning for breakfast, because, well, a cup of tightly packed pure almond mass is over 1000 calories with more than 13 grams of omega-6 PUFAs. And that’s not including the eggs and coconut milk you used to bind it, the grass-fed butter you slathered on it, nor the blueberry reduction you drizzled all over it. Almonds, eggs, coconut, butter, blueberries (with, let’s face it, some sausage on the side) are all fantastic, delicious, nutritious Primal foods, but a lumberjack you ain’t (if you’re a lumberjack and you’re reading this, you have my apologies and my blessing to consume almond meal pancakes regularly). Most of you don’t need all that food every morning. There are limits. The studies that show benefits to nut consumption use reasonable amounts, usually around 50 or 60 grams, which is a large handful of nuts. 200 grams of almonds with the protective cell walls pulverized and subjected to heat? It might add up over time.

Exercise moderation with the baked goods. Be smart and pay attention to what they’re doing to your body. If you find yourself gaining weight after too many walnut meal pie crusts, maybe cancel your Amazon subscription to the nut flour variety pack. All in all? Don’t eat this stuff all the time. They’re treats. They’re not really health foods, regardless of the quality of ingredients used. Just like you wouldn’t eat cupcakes every day and think you were making a massive contribution to your health, don’t eat almond muffins every morning and call it breakfast. And remember, if you’re going to eat nuts, the best option in my book are macadamias, hands down.

Thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. As always, a reasonable and, as much as possible, evidence-based approach, Mark. Thanks!

    My main wonder is why nuts seem to stall weight loss in so many people. Is it simply because they are so calorie-dense? Is it the o-6 content? Because they’re too damned hard to stop eating? All of the above?

    Uncephalized wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Excellent question. With what ChocoTaco has posted in the recent past, I would tend to believe it’s the o-6 content more than the others. Almond muffins are awesome.

      IcarianVX wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Some ideas (all a matter of degree):
      Omega 6 >> elevated triglycerides >> leptin resistance
      Low nutrient density per calorie >> overconsumption
      (Possibly) PUFA/omega 6 >> inflammation >> metabolic damage.
      It all depends on how people gained weight in the first place

      Steven wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • They have some carbs…

      Catharine wrote on September 14th, 2012
  2. Good summary of the limited research. Thanks.

    Harry Mossman wrote on November 28th, 2011
  3. Variety is the spice of life, Tony Horton keeps on saying.
    It’s great to eat in a great variety of preparation methods.
    These makes things taste better and certain nutrients become more available under heat, while others can be found in smaller quantities because of thermal preparation.

    Paul Alexander wrote on November 28th, 2011
  4. Thanks for citing those studies. I’d say the moral of the story is that while roasting nuts isn’t the perfect scenario, eating them in moderation is better than some of the alternatives. Nuts are healthy after all.

    Coach Calorie wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • well said!

      Becca wrote on November 28th, 2011
  5. this has been one of the best in this series! best i can remember… thanks, mark!

    jakey wrote on November 28th, 2011
  6. I’ve been waiting for a post on this. I was always skeptical of people using almond flour all the damn time but I think many have learned their lesson.

    I favor macadamias, blanched almonds and pistachios but try to limit them. It’s tough when I can literally buy half a pound of blanched almonds at TJ’s in Chicago for $2.49!

    Primal Toad wrote on November 28th, 2011
  7. If people are so concerned about heating nuts, maybe they could go the raw food route when making treats? There are a ton of raw food recipes out there for cakes and pies that use nut-based crusts that never need to be cooked.

    I try not to eat nuts except for macadamias. To be honest, I don’t really like most nuts all that much. Back when I was following conventional wisdom, I would eat plain almonds as a snack all the time. I didn’t really enjoy them; I just ate them because I was told to because they were healthy. Nuts are all right, but they’re usually a last resort kind of snack food for me! The ones I do like (raw organic macadamias) are expensive, so I buy them occasionally as a treat :D

    Amber Lynn wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • One of the easiest is simply mixing equal amounts butter and ground nuts, whatever type and consistency you prefer. I love a butter-pecan crust.

      Uncephalized wrote on November 28th, 2011
  8. Interesting article!!! I know I can never give up all my paleo/primal goodies made w/ nuts but that’s ok. At least I’ll try to practice moderation and know I’m not completely wrecking my health! Thanks again Mark!

    Kathleen wrote on November 28th, 2011
  9. completely agree. glad you cleared that up though, some people go a little too nuts on nuts!

    Burn wrote on November 28th, 2011
  10. On a side note, check out the long article on gluten in this week’s NY Times Magazine. It’s all about replacing gluten with processed foods and food product marketing. It makes one realize why we are in the shape we’re in.

    John Marschke wrote on November 28th, 2011
  11. As a coatings chemist I always shudder when I see recipes involving flax seeds.
    Flax seed oil + oxygen + heat = varnish!
    Walnut oil is similar, even omega 6 oils are used in alkyd resins but are less reactive and require metal driers for reasonable cure times.

    Better to microwave a sweet potato, mash it and use that to make a muffin than almond flour in my opinion.
    Better to not even bother making the muffin though.

    johnnyv wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • That’s a good idea :) I hate almond flour in baked goods. For some reason I quite like the almonds themselves, I just can’t stand the whole almond essence flavour.

      Using sweet potato or pumpkin or something instead is a much better idea.

      That gives me some more options for birthdays etc in this household-with-children!

      homehandymum wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Yeah, I recall reading a few of the meat recipes in Cordain’s first Paleo diet book–they called for a liberal brushing of flax-seed oil. I’m actually surprised anyone in the Paleo/Primal community takes Dr Cordain seriously anymore.

      fritzy wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • haha! As someone who likes painting with oils, I can say that Flaxseed/linseed oil smells like oil paint to me; actually, I think linseed oil is used in very good brands of oil paint.

      Milla wrote on November 29th, 2011
      • we used to rub linseed oil on our cricket bats as kids ;) and had (rancid) olive oil in our ears to relieve earache. Yes these oils go rancid easily and should never be used heated….

        earthgirl wrote on October 28th, 2013
  12. Good thing I hate nuts =P

    Although, I do binge on boiled chestnuts ONLY every November. Nut-free the rest of the year.

    Arty wrote on November 28th, 2011
  13. Nice work Mark! I get a little nervous about the daily consumption of almond flour that many indulge in as well.

    I’m confused as to why you included a study on peanuts in your list of research. Peanuts are legumes, right?

    gilliebean wrote on November 28th, 2011
  14. Thanks Mark! It really is too bad there aren’t more studies. I like the above idea to use raw recipes for nutty treats!

    Alyssa wrote on November 28th, 2011
  15. Did anyone see the PBS special on the relatively new restaurant using various chemicals (supposedly organic) to change the taste of the food it serves?

    Even their menu is eatable.

    Saw this over the weekend and got a little scared about messing with our food supply and all.

    Pam wrote on November 28th, 2011
  16. I use almond flour, coconut flour and flaxseed meal in most of my baking. I don’t eat baked goods everyday, maybe once a week and otherwise have the occasional handful of nuts. I was curious about this very thing, as so many in the paleosphere gasp at using nut flours. Always citing the O6:O3 ratio and oxidation. I started doing some research myself, had my O6:03 levels tested and had a lengthy e-mail exchange with Dr. Doug Bibus one of the top Omega 3 experts in the world. Conclusion, my 06:03 ratio is better than 1:1 and according to Dr. Bibus, no need to worry about oxidation of almond flour as long as baking temps are below 400.

    Vanessa wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • That’s good to know Pam. I confess that we would have a nut-based treat every day. I think that sometimes you just have to listen to your body. We are all very different beings, each with our own reactions to whatever we consume. I know that Paleo has turned our health around, even with ‘the daily bread’.

      Maria wrote on August 29th, 2012
  17. According to the primal evolutionary philosophy, I don’t believe “Grok” would be eating large doses of either coconut or nuts regularly in baked goods. So the correct conclusion would then be that we shouldn’t be eating tons of it. Treats, like Mark said.

    Meagan wrote on November 28th, 2011
  18. When I make a pie, I use 1 cup of white rice flour and 1/4 cup of tapioca starch. I’m going to stick with this approach. The lack of information on heating nuts and oxidation is a wall I’ve run into a few times. From my own personal experience, I know I can handle glucose spikes very well, but then again I’m very active. What’s the bigger threat to you? The high calories and oxidized omega 6 of a nut crust, or the increased blood glucose from a rice/tapioca crust? I’ll choose the latter every time, but that’s just my opinion given the limited information at hand.

    ChocoTaco369 wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Great comment. Well stated. It comes down to priorities and what a person is more concerned with… cancer, diabetes, weight loss, or just keeping the body as stable as possible. Both sugar and oxidized omega 6 are linked to cancer, so again, which one concerns us more? These should be occasional indulgences either way.

      As with other commenters, I favor raw nut crusts or baking with coconut flour. (Although as Meagan stated: “According to the primal evolutionary philosophy, I don’t believe “Grok” would be eating large doses of either coconut or nuts regularly in baked goods.” …and she’s right!) Again, it’s priorities… I choose coconut flour as much as possible for less impact on glucose and I love all the effects of coconut on my body. But, as I get closer to my weight loss goals, I think the rice flour and tapioca/arrowroot will be a great occasional indulgence.

      I just don’t trust roasting/baking/heating any nuts. I have to keep my raw nut intake limited for weight loss right now, so I just eat some pistachios or cashews as snacks. However, there’s not enough data to convince me that almond flour or ground nut meal, when heated, will not oxidize and possibly promote cancer. I’m with you… I’ll take my chances and spike my glucose for a special treat before I’ll eat rancid oxidized PUFAs and call it “primal”!

      As a side note: when it comes to the varied definitions of what “primal” or “paleo” means in terms of food choice, why is it that only a few paleo sites use maple syrup? I mean, sure, berry reductions are great, and raw honey is used in moderation, but wouldn’t Grok be as likely to spike a tree and lick that sap as to stick his hand in a beehive and eat honey?

      Mary Ellen wrote on April 17th, 2013
  19. It’s so hard to squeeze info out of the scant research available, but you really make it happen, Mark. Thanks!

    I’m still on the once-a-week nut wagon and doing fine. But I’m not trying to lose weight anymore, just maintain it and build a little muscle.

    For weight loss and initial fat-burning training, I’d advise anybody to stay away from nuts for at least the first few weeks on Primal Blueprint if jumping in with both feet. For fence riders like I was, starting out with one foot in led me to eat too many nuts and I eventually learned it was stalling my initial weight loss. Just putting that out there for anybody who is exploring this topic.

    knifegill wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • Thank you!!!! I just started eating primal like a week ago and I do have serious addiction to almonds as a healthy snack. Heard it: Laying off the nuts!

      Maureen wrote on November 30th, 2011
  20. Hm, very interesting. When I made the switch to Primal/Paleo I started by replacing my morning bowl of cereal to “paleo cereal”. I took a mixture of almonds, macadamias, walnuts, shredded coconut, and pumpkin seeds, ground it all up and toast it in a small pan with butter. I was eating this every morning and still lost weight easily. I’ve since grown tired of the paleo cereal since discovering how to make a great omelette, but confess that my diet still contains a lot of nuts. I’ll be looking for ways to cut down a bit, although so far (6 months into it) I’m not having any health problems and my weight is stable. Kind of a bummer to hear that toasted nuts and nut flours aren’t as good for me as I thought, however.

    My question is: would I be better off making a gluten-free crust with rice and tapioca flours? Since this is a once-in-a-blue-moon treat perhaps it doesn’t matter and I should just go for what tastes better?

    PaleoMyWay wrote on November 28th, 2011
  21. I only wish I could eat macadamia nuts! Several years of Atkins dieting resulted in an allergy to macadamia nuts. Sigh.

    I also find I feel “weird” whenever I eat anything made with almond flour. Straight almonds are okay, so it could be the total volume. Lucky for me, I prefer my pumpkin pie crustless.

    Diane wrote on November 28th, 2011
  22. Costco is currently carrying a 16oz bag of Gourmet Macadamias under the brand Savanna Orchards ($11.99). I understand it’s a private formulation not available on their website. The bag says they are roasted and salted with sea salt. The ingredients list: Macadamia Nuts, Peanut Oil and/or Soybean Oil, Sea Salt. They are quite oily – but damn tasty for sure… but are the wonderful qualities of the macadamias ruined by the peanut oil/soybean oil? Thoughts? Thanks.

    Jason wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • I wouldn’t personally touch them–both oils are tremendously high in PUFAs and Soy is just rotten. Yeah, I’d say they pretty much ruined some good nuts.

      fritzy wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • whole foods has them raw for $13 / lb in the bulk section. spend the extra $1 if you really want them.

      pixel wrote on November 29th, 2011
      • Whole Foods opens here in February – Can’t wait!

        Jason wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • The Target near me recently started selling a huge jar (30 or 32oz) for $9.99. They are dry roasted and salted. I think they may only have it for the holiday season, so stock up!!

      Also if you happen to be in New England, Shaw’s supermarket has a store brand of dry roasted macadamias for $3.99 for an 8oz jar.

      Leigh wrote on November 30th, 2011
  23. I always worry about the Omega 6 overload when consuming too much nuts as in nut flour baking. so I just satay away. I have had great success with whey protein powder in baking. extra protein with none of the Omega 6 issues.

    PaleoDentist wrote on November 28th, 2011
  24. I’ve been waiting on a post like this. Wish there were more studies. Thanks!

    Erik wrote on November 28th, 2011
  25. I’m glad you posted this article because I eat a small (equivalent to one slice) primal pizza made with almond flour almost every day. Believe me, it’s better than eating one with whole wheat flour, which is what I used to do before I stopped eating grains.

    You are right about the calorie count. One of the first times I made this pizza, on my birthday, I made it with one cup of almond flour. I calculated the nutritional information of that dish using http://www.fitday.com and it had besically all the calories I should consume in one day on just one meal (about 1500 calories). Since then I made a smaller pizza with half of the ingredients, cutting calories and nutrients in half obviously.

    Ghaleon wrote on November 28th, 2011
  26. Wow, I learn as much from the comments as I do the posts! I’m gonna cut back my nuts and get moving more. Think that’s been stalling my weight loss. Thanks for the info and motivation.

    Brenda wrote on November 28th, 2011
  27. why 3 days for stock? I thought poultry bones only needed more than 6 hours

    Max@flavortogofast wrote on November 28th, 2011
  28. We get a 10lb bag of Macadamia nuts (whole nuts and pieces) from Amazon for $80. They are raw and unsalted. Pop the bag in the freezer and they last for months! Best price I have found!

    Janet wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • I’ve always bought nuts in bulk from farmers’ markets and stashed them in the freezer! It really keeps the nuts from going rancid; I also find it intensifies the flavour.

      Milla wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • Good to know, thanks! :D

      Jules wrote on November 29th, 2011
  29. I tend to think that making “paleo” baked goods kind of misses the point of primal eating entirely… isn’t the idea to change one’s eating paradigm? to move to whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible? If you keep all the highly palatable baked stuff as a consistent proportion of calories then the paradigm isn’t shifted away from SAD, is it?

    Gydle wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • For some, definitely. For others who’ve been contaminated by a lifetime of SAD, that’s not feasible. It’s like saying an alcoholic should be able to drink in moderation (or shouldn’t have the occasional O’Doul’s when the cravings become hard to beat).

      Eating can (and has been) a drug for me in the past and the occasional almond flour or coconut flour treat helps me from giving in and backsliding. For folks like me, one sandwich on wheat flour bread (especially in the winter when I have odd cravings for soup and grilled cheese) would set off a backslide. This is one of the worst parts about the contemporary American diet. It has a host of drug-like effects, including addiction.

      I always think of how Mark described Primal in one of his early posts (and I’m paraphrasing here): “Using our evolution as a guideline while implementing advances in modern science.”

      Cooking and eating are some of the great joys in life. Giving up certain foods entirely, to me, would be tantamount to giving up sex. Sure, those who give up all of these things may be able to take a certain spiritual or moral high ground, but I’d rather eat the occasional almond and coconut flour crust pizza and cuddle up with my wife at night.

      Moderation and experimentation. Everyone needs to find how their own body works. I’ve kept the weight off eating the occasional nut flour treat, kept my energy and mood and health up, keep my sprint times down, and my deadlift numbers up. If you see no harmful effects from it AND enjoy it, why it give it up? For someone else, though, these “treats” may be causing digestive issues or hinder weight loss. Your body are both your temple AND your laboratory. Listen to what it’s telling you and you’ll be alright.

      Brad C. Hodson wrote on December 3rd, 2011
      • “Your body are both your temple AND your laboratory. Listen to what it’s telling you and you’ll be alright.”

        Is. I meant “is.” (Open palm, insert face)

        Brad C. Hodson wrote on December 3rd, 2011
      • Well said!

        Penny wrote on June 14th, 2013
  30. I can identify with a lot of readers here who think that any nut consumption is detrimental to our health. I have eaten Paleo 100% of the time for the past three years due to severe digestive issues (celiac and UC). I avoided nuts completely during this time. However, now that I am better, I feel that the occasional nut flour treat does wonders for my quality of life! I am so much happier now that I can indulge in a piece of carrot cake or a paleo brownie, once in a while.

    Mark is right to point out that nut flour baked goods should be occasional treats.

    Sabrina wrote on November 29th, 2011
  31. Roasted nuts give me gas. On the other hand, raw nuts that have been soaked and then dehydrated at a low temp do not. Roasted nuts taste so much better (to me), but the raw/dehydrated ones don’t cause internal distress, which is lovely.

    I enjoy baking with almond flour but don’t partake on a daily basis by any means.

    Dawn wrote on November 29th, 2011
  32. LOL – my 8 year old white pitbull’s name is Buddha!!

    GiJo wrote on November 29th, 2011
  33. I was wondering about almond meal too. It is hard these days as far as nutrition goes, there is a lot of conflicting info out there so I will stick to what I feel is the right thing for me to eat. If I don’t feel sick after eating something, then it’s good for me :).

    Tatianna wrote on November 29th, 2011
  34. The WAPF recommends soaking raw nuts before roasting – what about using soaked nuts in baking?

    Dara Cramp wrote on November 30th, 2011
  35. Another thing the studies don’t consider is soaked and sprouted nuts vs untreated. Nuts contain phytates which can impact nutrient absorbtion. I soak mine in warm lightly salted water overnight, then dry out in a 150 deg F oven for about 12 hours. With regards to consuming them, I just listen to my body. If I’m craving them, I eat them, if not then I don’t.

    Mary Enig reports that monounsaturated fats have been linked to slowing down weight loss, so if you are trying to lose weight, consider limiting monounsaturated fat intake.

    mmmpork wrote on November 30th, 2011
  36. I think that this is good advice. When I was first diagnosed with food allergies, I went a little nuts over nuts, trying to get enough calories to stay satisfied… but there is such a thing as too much! I found that more than a few tablespoons of almond flour/butter can make me sick (stomach pain). Although almond flour treats are tasty when you are on a super-limited diet, it is really, really easy to overdo it when it tastes like a light treat but is actually packed with fat and calories. I think that my problem is my gallbladder (although it doesn’t bother me normally), but I would imagine that even in a person with perfect digestion, eating large portions of concentrated nut flour might be hard on the stomach… As they say, “everything in moderation”.

    Kirsten wrote on December 4th, 2011
  37. I’m totally nuts about nuts! I could eat them all the time. There are days, when I eat literally pounds of the stuff. I know it’s too much, but I really crave them. Is my body wrong sending me this ‘message’? I’m not overweight and I otherwise try to eat really healthy, lots of greens, veg, no processed foods and lately no grains either.

    Foxygee wrote on January 30th, 2012
  38. This is my biggest issue! I eat WAY too much almond and coconut flour “treats”. Was trying to get off the food addiction rollercoaster, haven’t quite made it. I’m going to do a 21 day sugar detox starting the beginning of October. Sigh. Been doing really well at staying primal, but still have a few kinks to iron out. Like eating massive amounts of fruit and cookies and cakes oi!

    Amy wrote on September 13th, 2012
  39. Would coating the nuts in a high-MUFA oil, like expeller-pressed safflower oil, protect the nuts even more? Thanks!

    Mike wrote on August 3rd, 2013
  40. One thing I have not seen mentioned in this article or the comments secion is the specific effect nuts can have on the digestive system. I found out about this the hard way.

    There is a sphincter muscle between the small and large intestine called the ileocecal valve. This valve is supposed to remain close except while food is being passed from small to large intestine. In some people, however (more people than you might imagine), that valve gets stuck in either the open position (most common) or closed position. If it’s open, the contents of large intestine back flush into the small intestine, causing toxins and, essentially, “garbage” to fill the small intestine (which is where your immune system lies). If it’s stuck closed, contents of the small intestine stay in there far too long and create a “back up” in the digestive tract.

    Foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, popcorn, raw veggies, spicy foods, etc. can cause irritation to this valve. In my case, I did not heed the warning of my chiropractor when I went Paleo and I consumed too many nuts. Thus, I am now paying the price in the form of an “open” ileocecal valve – and the resulting very strict diet, until it closes back up.

    Look it up on the Internet if you want to learn more and/or you suspect you might have this issue. Again, it’s a LOT more common than you might think and it’s even more common in individuals who have been making changes to improve their diet. This is due do the larger quantities of raw veggies, nuts, seeds, etc. that the person has consumed. I am now avoiding nuts, and all the other foods mentioned above, which have been known to cause an irritation to that valve. So, just a word of caution to those who are eating nuts on a daily basis.

    Rachel wrote on August 25th, 2013
    • I forgot to mention that, at least in my case, one symptom of a weakened ileocecal valve is “heartburn” type of feeling in the lower abdomen, often felt most intensely on the right. The ICV is located about two inches in from your right hip. It can be massaged to help speed up the healing and ease discomfort. Often, there are other, less obvious, symptoms as well, leading the condition to be dubbed “The Great Mimicker.”

      Rachel wrote on August 25th, 2013
      • In my first comment above, that should have read “This valve is supposed to remain CLOSED.” Not “close.”

        And “secion” is supposed to be “section.”

        Rachel wrote on August 25th, 2013

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