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Phytic acid in shelled vs. unshelled nuts

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  • Phytic acid in shelled vs. unshelled nuts

    I've read plenty of articles expressing concern about the high levels of phytic acid in nuts (as much as 1,866 mg/100 grams in cashews). However, reading up on phytic acid it seems that it's only present in the hull, or shell of the nut. Cashews, however, are always sold without the shell. Does it follow therefore that cashews (or any other shelled nuts) don't actually contain phytic acid? Or at least far less than first thought?

    Thanks guys.

  • #2
    I do not know the answer to your question, but consider this:

    The average American gets around 1/3 of their calories from low-nutrient grains, which are very high in phytic acid.

    The average American eats limited fruits and vegetables.

    The average American drinks a substantial amount of calories, which contains essentially 0 nutrition.

    The average American still makes it into their 70's and 80's.

    If you are following a Primal Blueprint style diet, your intake of phytate is going to be lower than the average American, while your intake of nutrients is going to be much, much higher. I do not feel you should be concerned about phytic acid. Consider buying your nuts "raw," soaking them for 6 hours, then drying them in the oven at 155 degrees F or so until dry (it may take a few hours, especially with cashews since they soften quickly). You will remove much of the phytate that way. However, I do not bother usually because I feel I eat a nutritious diet low in phytate and my nut consumption is intermittent at best. As long as you aren't drinking coffee with every meal, you're probably in decent shape (coffee is extremely high in phytic acid, I only consume while fasting and not with food because it can really hamper nutrient absorption), so don't stress IMO.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.


    • #3
      I think the problem with phytates is the science is unclear as to what extent they hamper nutrient absorption. I have read a few places it is only a few minerals even in question? It seems somewhat negligible if you are already not eating wheat to be overly concerned about nuts. That is just my understanding though. Was not aware about coffee though - but I am not a big drinker.


      • #4
        It's an issue if the base of your diet is brown rice and coffee. That probably isn't many of us, though. I've seen studies allude to it being an antioxidant in modest quantities. Mark's recent posts on hormesis was a wonderful thing because they speak to how perfectly clean living destroys the body. Think of living in a clean room. You'll have no immune system, leaving you susceptible to infection if you ever come across a contamination. Brief, intense exercise like squats or sprints are great because you break your body down and it comes back stronger. Chronic cardio is bad because it's a chronic stressor that you don't have time to recover from, and you get broken down more than you get built back up. Food toxins are beneficial in tiny quantities - enough to build up a resistance and make you stronger. It's too much that's the issue. It gets me thinking if grains, at least gluten free grains, can be beneficial in tiny quantities as well since they contain more toxins, and perhaps our issue is that it's just a staple. Not sure if I'm willing to try that out yet, though.
        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Alexis View Post
          Cashews, however, are always sold without the shell. Thanks guys.
          That is because cashews are actually a seed inside a fruit and is surrounded by the same crap as what makes poison ivy an irritant.


          • #6
            I personally only am interested in phytate as it relates to coffee.

            Now - I'll tell all you lurkers this:

            1) I've seen many studies saying phytate is bad for the absorption of minerals
            2) I've seen many studies saying yes it is bad for the minerals but good for excretion of toxins
            3) I've seen at least one study saying phytate is basically just good for you

            Don't take my advice though, I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, just my internet info. Finally, I've seen something saying there is 1 mg of phytate found was found in a particular instant coffee while I think 10 or 15 was found in regular coffee - not sure what that means.