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Nuts are very good for heart health!

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  • Nuts are very good for heart health!

    I have looked through MDA and these forums quite a bit. I would like to argue the point that nuts are good for you even after messing up the omega 3:6 ratio. First of all, I have yet to find any conclusive evidence that this ratio is as important as many sources claim. I understand the rationale that we evolved eating a certain ratio, so this is best. But to be honest our estimates of grok's 3:6 ratio is just hearsay. Anyway, if anyone has any conclusive studies stating the importance of this ratio to heart health (or health in general) please prove me wrong. The only thing I have found is someone looking at a study and guessing that positive results came from improving this ratio. I might not have looked hard enough though. So please prove me wrong.

    One thing that is VERY well documented is nuts being heart healthy. First let us look at worker bee's post on almonds. It is extremely pro almond. Also, just to clarify, this post was made after Mark's own "guide to fats" where he first (first to my knowledge at least) addressed the issue of the omega 3:6 ratio. Also, on a side note, in Mark's own primal blueprint sample menu, he ate a serving of almonds and states "If I’m hungry mid to late afternoon and dinner looks to be a ways off I’ll often grab a handful of nuts. Macadamias, walnuts and pine nuts are great, but I usually reach for almonds." Anyway here is the article on almonds.

    But there is a TON of research basically proving that nuts are great for heart health. Some researchers at Mcmaster University did a systematic review on the causes of heart disease. Anyway, here is a link to the abstract.

    I unfortunately cannot access the full version, but Dr Briffa did and analyzed it. Here is a link to that.

    According to Dr. Briffa "Of all of these factors, the ones that fulfilled 4 Bradford Hill criteria (i.e. those where there was most evidence of cause-and-effect) were:

    Mediterranean diet

    Vegetable consumption

    Nut consumption

    Trans-fatty acid consumption

    Consumption of foods of high GI or GL"

    Obviously the trans fats and high GI or GL foods caused it, and vegetable consumption, mediterranean diet, and nut consumption prevented it.

    The only factors that were shown to be effective in randomized studies were

    "Adherence to a ‘Mediterranean’ type of diet

    Increased intake of marine (fish and seafood derived) omega-3 fat "

    So in randomized studies omega 3's show heart health benefits. You could say "Well this is because it gives a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio." Or, what most people would say, is that it is just that omega 3's are heart healthy and adding them to your diet is good for heart health, regardless of omega 6 intake.

    Anyway, it is an interesting review and study, and if anyone could get the whole thing and send it my way it would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyway, nuts were one of the three factors that were most associated with reduced rate of heart disease. I could go through and post some of the studies that this review looked at, but I don't even think there is much of a need to do so.

    So the question is, if the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is so important for heart health, why are nuts that are raising the ratio proven to be heart healthy. Actually I challenge any of you to find me a study that suggests nuts are correlated with the onset of heart disease. I can almost guarantee that you cannot fine one.

    Basically, what I am saying is that this is a website dedicated to beliefs based on science and reviewing studies. So why is everyone telling people to stop eating nuts due to the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio when nuts are basically proven to be beneficial to heart health? Nuts are extremely well researched where as the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is not. Also Mark eats nuts and agrees they are part of a healthy diet.

    Basically, I challenge any of you to prove to me that the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is associated with heart disease through studies (I don't doubt that people will do this to be honest). But the main challenge is then showing that this heart risk outweighs the HUGE PROVEN heart benefit of eating nuts.

  • #2

    checking if this thread is still locked...looks like it is not. Thanks!


    • #3

      My thoughts are that not all nuts are created equal.

      Some have a high % of omega 6, and others have very small numbers.

      Personally, I think it matters more about the total omega 6 consumed, rather than just the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 within the individual nuts.

      Because of this, I stick with macadamia, cashews, and almonds. (In that order.)



      • #4

        BobbyLight, I sincerely hope what you're saying is true because I eat TONS of nuts. As of now, I do what Sean does, eat mostly almonds, pistachio (O3:O6 ratio similar to almonds), cashews.


        • #5

          Well maba, I do believe it is true. And to be honest, I think that the evidence really backs my argument. Go to pubmed and do a search for "almonds" or any other type of nut and you will get studies telling you that they are correlated with reduced heart disease. As I said in my original post, they are so correlated with reduced risk of CHD that they are most likely the cause of it, judging by the Bradford Hill criteria. To be honest, I do not know anything about the Bradford Hill criteria but I would imagine it is reasonably valid.

          I just believe that if the o36 ratio was so important, nuts wouldn't be so correlated with reduced risk of heart disease and there would be more research on the effects of having a bad o36 ratio.

          Really, what I want to see is a study done where people eat quite a bit of omega 3's but then eats a lot of omega 6's so their ratio is bad, say 10:1. Then I want to see another group of people eat almost 0 polyunsaturated fats, but have a better ratio of say 3:1. To be honest, who do you really think is going to be heart healthier? I would guess the people eating the extra omega 3's with the worse ratio just because that is what the research supports. If you eat more omega 3's (especially from fish), you are less likely to get heart disease, and that is what the research states. The ratio to omega 6 isn't even considered.

          I don't know, this whole ratio thing just doesn't add up considering all the research that is out there.


          • #6

            Sometimes,I think we can all get too tied up in uber-analysis of every single thing that we eat. According to some, I dn't eat enough fatty meat. But to be honest, I love eating acan of tuna, tomatoes, cucumber and dressed with olive oil, White balsamic, garlic and pepper. And of course others would poo-poo the tomatoes. But at the end of the day, I feel good on what I eat - and that also includes a good dose of nuts every day. In my world, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


            • #7


              I'm like you. Consciously reaching for the fattest foods making an effort to add even extra fat doesn't work for me as it causes me nausea, irregular blood sugar and a sense of heaviness. A more natural approach, eating whatever is healthy and handy and with its natural occurring fat is what works best for me. And I eat nuts as well. After all we can't do worse than eating SAD and not even people eating SAD are dropping dead like flies because of the junk they eat, why should I with a 99% better than theirs diet.


              • #8


                Regarding the neglect of research on omega 3 to omega 6 ratio, I think that the real "gems" that you have to look at and read between the lines are related to increased Omega 3 consumption.

                People tend to only look at increasing your Omega 3 fatty acids.

                And you can do that by supplementing, or eating more fish, etc.

                Increasing Omega 3's can help reduce heart risk right?

                Well, people don't tend to look at the fact that increasing your Omega 3's generally just brings a better balance to their Omega 3 to 6 ratio.

                I believe that the same could be done by reducing Omega 6's.

                Most research is done by people pushing a pill.

                And Omega 3 comes in pill form.

                "Just take our pills, and you'll be fine!"




                • #9

                  Bobby, 10:1 6:3 is the average for Americans. And there is a huge laboratory of high Omega 6 eaters: The Jews of Israel. They eat massive amounts of "vegetable" oils and have massive amounts of CHD. The non-Jews eat more Mediterranean and have less CHD.

                  I don't have time to read your links, but something that often is not accounted for is how the nut eaters live vs. the fewer nut eaters. It's like the evidence that vegetarians live longer is skewed because vegetarians are typically better educated (which correlates with longer life), don't smoke, and generally make healthier decisions. The nut eater might be likewise.

                  I believe macadamias have the best omega ratio, is that right? It's STILL 6:1! (Just checked) We whine about that when it's CAFO beef, but it's OK when it's a nut?

                  I think justifying the consumption of nuts beyond small amounts, cuz they ARE good, is like our long distance running conversation here. Neither, really, can be justified. Both have proponents trying to justify. The bottom line is that if one wants to run marathons or eat nuts, that's fine. Doing some running or eating some nuts is also fine.

                  But don't pretend that they are good for you when the preponderance of evidence is otherwise. There are a lot of more successful ways of having less CHD than loading up on O6 nuts, like just kill the sugar and carbs.


                  • #10

                    Well, I limit my nut intake to 1-2 ounces a day not because of the omega3 issue but because of their carb-fat-protein content.


                    • #11


                      Here's a quote from a previous post of mine related to Omega ratios in nuts.

                      And for some nuts, the ratio really does not matter much.

                      "It's been mentioned on this forum that Almonds have a *horrible* omega-3 to 6 ratio of 1 to 2010!

                      That sounds horrendous! 2010 times more omega 6 than omega 3?? Stay *away* from those devil inducing omega 666 almonds!

                      So maybe we should eat the all mighty Walnut, which as a favorable 1 to 4 ratio of omega 3 to 6. (Four times more omega 6 than 3.)

                      And you could go down your entire food list and eliminate the foods with the worst ratios, and only pick the ones with the best ratios.

                      So you could get rid of Olive oil because it has about a 1 to 10 ratio, and keep walnut oil because it has a 1 to 4 ratio, etc.

                      But at the end of the day... You're headed for trouble, why?

                      Check out the TOTAL omega 6 count you're getting from those "favorable" omega ratios.

                      Lets say you ate 1 handful of walnuts:

                      That would give you about 3 grams of Omega 3.

                      And about 14 grams of Omega 6.

                      (Pretty good ratio)

                      But compare that to Almonds: (One handful)

                      Almonds = very little Omega 3 (almost none)

                      But only 5 grams of Omega 6.

                      So by choosing almonds (with the horrible 1:2010 ratio) we've reduced our Omega 6 intake by almost 10 grams.

                      And if you want to "balance" that back into a better ratio, all you'd have to do is get a gram or two of Omega 3 to get yourself back into balance. (Fish oil tabs would prob do the trick.)

                      You could even go for nuts with even less Omega 6 in them such as cashews at about 4 grams per handful, or macadamia nuts at about .5 grams per handful. Even though they have *bad* ratios."



                      • #12

                        Here's a pretty conclusive post showing that tissue ratios of O6:O3 are incredible predictors of cardiovascular disease:


                        • #13

                          I don't think primals condemn nuts in small amounts (an ounce or two a day, for example.) I think the MAIN POINT that they're trying to get across is that you shouldn't be eating a cup or so of ANY nut a day. (I'll say it again...MODERATION...) Nuts are a SNACK and should be treated like one...Moderately, and on occasion...

                          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at


                          • #14

                            Jess and Erik said what I had to say.

                            I am often one to point out the O6 content in nuts, but it is usually to someone who is eating a lot of nuts. I think nuts should be treated as a snack, like fruit, they are a seasonal treat for grok.

                            It's grandma, but you can call me sir.


                            • #15

                              OTB, you said "But don't pretend that (nuts) are good for you when the preponderance of evidence is otherwise. "

                              Can you find me some of this evidence, because all the evidence I can find says that nuts are good for your health. I have yet to find any evidence that says otherwise. You could say that every person that eats nuts in all these different studies just live healthier lifestyles, but that is far more of an unlikely assumption that nuts are good for you and the omega 3:6 ratio isn't as important as some people believe it to be.

                              And as for the jews in israel, how do you know that they don't eat otherwise unhealthy diets. That is a far easier assumption to make than the claim that everyone that eats nuts just are healthier in general. Also, I am willing to bet that someone that has a high omega ratio due to nuts is going to be in a lot better shape than someone who is going to have a high omega ratio due to vegetable oils...many of which contain some trans fats that have been proven to be detrimental to heart health.

                              I just find it funny that you say the evidence points to nuts being unhealthy, yet I can't find any of this evidence. Can you point me to it?