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

Dear Mark: Nuts and Omega-6s

Nuts have gotten a surprising amount of flack as of late. Many nuts have a fairly high PUFA content, and most of that PUFA is Omega-6, which is the bad one. It’s easily oxidized, highly unstable for cooking, usually rancid on the shelf, and, thanks to government farm subsidies and public hysteria over animal fat, it’s in absolutely everything nowadays. We Primal types generally avoid it for good reason, and that tends to influence how we react to the O6 content of nuts. Last week I received this email from a reader:

Dear Mark,

I’m a little confused. I get the animal fat, the meat, the veggies, and the lowish sugar fruit recommendations, but what about nuts? I love nuts, don’t get me wrong… I’m just a bit paranoid about the Omega 6 content. You recommend nuts in the book. If you (and pretty much all other Primal bloggers) tell us to avoid Omega 6 fats, should we still be eating them?  I’m having trouble reconciling the two bits of advice and there seem to be mixed messages out there. Thanks.

Is there a place for nuts in the Primal Blueprint diet? Let’s take a closer look.

Omega-6 Content Various Nuts (1/4 cup)

Walnuts – 9.5 g

Almonds – 4.36 g

Cashews – 2.6 g

Macadamias – 0.5 g

Brazil nuts – 7.2 g

Hazelnuts – 2.7 g

Pistachio – 4.1 g

Pine nuts – 11.6 g

Pecans – 5.8 g

The basic takeaway is that quite a few nuts are fairly O6-intensive (with several, like macadamia nuts, being extremely low). A diet high in these nuts, then, would presumably skew the vaunted tissue O6-O3 ratio toward pro-inflammatory bodily processes… right? I mean, if you were to eat food fried in high-O6 vegetable oil at some restaurant, that would be pro-inflammatory. If you were to eat cheap Chinese food stir-fried in cheap, high-O6 soybean oil every day for lunch, you’d expect a good amount of oxidized LDL at your next lipid test. And if you were to supplement your diet with a few daily tablespoons of unheated corn oil, there would be markedly negative effects (besides gagging and/or vomiting) on your body. How are nuts any different?

For one, nuts aren’t just “bags of linoleic acid” (as Stephan Guyenet recently pointed out in a comment board I’ve misplaced). Isolating Omega-6 fatty acids and then exposing them to air or heat is bad dietary policy. I don’t care where it is – in your body, in your cupboard, or in the skillet. But nuts are much more than linoleic acid. In fact, a nut is a pretty complete nutritional source. After all, it’s the seed of a tree, a sort of arboreal egg. Contained within is everything that tree needs to start growing from scratch – fats, carbohydrates, even protein, plus natural antioxidants like Vitamin E and plenty of minerals. We have to remember that antioxidants in foods exist, first and foremost, to protect the food from damage. That linoleic acid in the walnut isn’t meant for you to consume (we’ve adapted to it, not the other way around); it’s there to provide energy for the budding tree. A damaged, oxidized fat is no good to any tree, and Vitamin E helps prevent oxidation. When we strip a nut of everything but the liquid fat, we’re asking for trouble, but if we eat the whole nut, the fat remains protected by the natural antioxidants, at least to a point (eating burnt, damaged, or rancid nuts isn’t the same as eating raw or soaked nuts). In other words, extracting, refining, and isolating a highly unstable Omega-6 fatty acid in oil form is entirely different than eating the odd handful of pistachios every other day or so. If you roast your nuts to the point of burning, then, yeah, you’re probably eating damaged fats, and that could be a problem. But eating a quarter cup of nuts every few days isn’t going to hurt you – even if they’re high-O6 walnuts (the horror!).

Even if the Omega-6 fat in nuts is bad, the positives of the nut seem to weigh more heavily. Whole nut intake seems to reduce markers of systemic inflammation, and inflammation is linked with a wide range of ailments and afflictions (obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, excess cortisol, etc.). The study’s (PDF) authors hesitate to isolate and praise a single component of the nut, referring to them as “complex food matrices containing diverse nutrients and other chemical constituents.” I think that’s an accurate appraisal of the humble, irreducible nut.

What’s the Downside?

Problems arise with steady year-round access to foods whose historical availability was seasonal and intermittent. If you were a hunter-gatherer, you probably weren’t gathering bushels of nuts on a daily basis – at least, you weren’t finding enough nuts in the wild to eat eight ounces a day. Nuts should never comprise the bulk of your diet, anyway. A quarter cup as a snack every now and then isn’t going to kill you. It’s not even going to compromise your progress. I mean, they’re nuts. They aren’t meals, and they’re not meant to be. They’re snacks, basic supplements to an already nutritious diet replete in animal fat, protein, and vegetables. And in a high Omega-3 diet like the Primal Blueprint they definitely have a place.

Just make sure you treat your nuts as delicious snacks, rather than staple cornerstones of a meal. Don’t burn your nuts, and don’t cook with the oil. The safest bet is to buy them raw and soak or roast them yourself. That way, you control the heat and you can mediate the oxidation.

Overanalyzing your food intake is a good way to stress yourself out and make every little dietary choice an internal struggle. Avoid falling into this trap. Be vigilant of your food choices, but pick your battles wisely. Making sure you ask the waiter to cook your omelet in butter rather than vegetable oil is worth the trouble; stressing over the Omega-6 content of the twenty walnuts in front of you is decidedly not.

This is a fairly contentious topic in the community, with a ton of bloggers weighing in. Richard Nikoley (last I heard) opts for the harvest-and-gorge nut consumption style, going regular periods of time where he eats none at all. He’ll avoid buying any “for 2-3 store visits in a row.” Remember, Grok didn’t have around the clock access to nuts.

Stephan Guyenet and Don Matesz go back and forth in the comments section of Don’s recent post on walnuts, in which Don offers very sound evidence in favor of walnut consumption. Definitely check it out.

My general take, as I see it, is that nuts shouldn’t make up the bulk of your caloric intake. It’s not that Omega-6s are inherently dangerous, especially bound up in whole food, nut form; nuts may even be beneficial to heart health, probably by decreasing systemic inflammation. It’s that they’re often too available, too plentiful, and way too easy to consume in excess. What drew our ancestors to nuts – the caloric density and the fat content – is what makes them “dangerous” to modern man. Most seeds, including grains, were passed over because the labor involved in their gathering and their refining was prohibitive with inadequate payoff. Nuts are meaty, though, and they’re dense and (somewhat) filling. It makes sense that we easily snack on them all day, because our ancestors probably gorged themselves on nuts when they were available. We should eat them, too, but it’s important to stick to reasonable, evolutionarily realistic amounts.

Care to weigh in with your thoughts on nuts? I know a lot of forum members have reservations about them, so I’d love to hear in the comments section.

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. Mark, does soaking nuts in water overnight reduce anti-nutrients in it?

    Kishore wrote on March 15th, 2010
  2. The book “Nurishing Traditions” by Sally Falon talks about soaking nuts in lightly salted water overnight to help with assimilation of the nutrients. I have to get my copy of the book back out and brush up on my nuts! Oops!

    Biglee wrote on March 15th, 2010
  3. Since going primal, my nut consumption has dramatically increased. I used to care less about them, but having tuned my taste buds away from overly sweet or salty foods (i.e., junk foods), they’ve quickly latched on to nuts as a delicious treat. For a while around the new year, my nut consumption had ramped up to a daily indulgence. Even though I stuck to the lower omega 6 nuts (macadamia and almonds), I found that I was starting to gain some weight around the midsection and my appetite had increased. Listening to Robb Wolf’s podcasts, I realized that nuts might be to blame so I cut them out completely for a week and returned to my normal post-going-primal weight and appetite. I’ve since added them back in to my diet, but only in small, carefully controlled amounts. Usually instead of eating them alone, I add them to salads. They are a great, healthy alternative to croutons!

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Exactly. They’re a condiment or a snack, and can occasionally be used in larger quantities for baking purposes- as long as you’re eating plenty of Omega 3s I don’t see to much to worry about.

      Yes, many on the PB find that cutting nuts and/or dairy can help break a weight loss plateau. Thanks for the comment, Aaron.

      Mark Sisson wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Aaron pumpkin seeds are awesome for salads too. Fewer cals, more protein, & IMO less addictive 😉

      Grok wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • Do you soak or roast them? Do you need to remove the shell before consuming them?

        Aaron Blaisdell wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • I just buy the raw shelled ones from the bulk at the grocery store. Unless its Halloween, then I just eat the guts raw :) Or… any other time I have squash.

          Grok wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • Like Grok (below) I have also roasted seeds from the various squash varieties that I cook for dinner. It is a little bit of a chore to separate and clean them but worth it. I just roast them with little sea salt. Then I don’t have to wait for Halloween.

          Chris Sturdy wrote on March 16th, 2010
    • In “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig talk about how eating a lot of monounsaturated fats can cause some weight gain. The idea fat, of course, is saturated fats because, if I remember correctly, you’re body utilizes them and burns them for energy quicker than the unsaturated fats.

      I’ve noticed the same thing, too, when it comes to overeating on the nuts. It just gives me a completely different feeling than when I eat saturated fats (especially coconut oil).

      So, yeah, up with the saturated fats, and some moderation with the monos/polyunsaturated fats.

      E.M.R wrote on March 17th, 2010
  4. I think people might be forgetting that omega 6 is still an essential fatty Acid, meaning our body can’t make it, so we need to consume it. We just need to consume the right ratio of it. It’s only bad if consumed in excess and/or in a damaged form.

    Remember- our body uses omega 6 to synthesize Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), which is very manti-inflammatory.

    I personally don’t worry about it too much. I eat a handful of nuts or a few spoonfuls of almond butter on a daily basis and my Omega 9 (monounsaturated) and saturated fat intake still far outweighs my Omega 6 intake when I crunch the numbers.
    Now I just need to work on being more consistent about Omega 3!

    Erin wrote on March 15th, 2010
  5. Nuts are mini embryos… like beans, they will make you sterile…


    Troy wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Now this is just totally freakin stupid.

      pecanmike wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • You can’t seriously believe that! My husband and I eat lots of almonds and beans, as well. I just had my 3rd child 9 weeks ago. There are no fertility problems here.

      jamie wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • Jamie, beans are usually loaded with phyto-estrogens. Nuts, not really.

        Here’s some phyto-estrogen content (mcg/100g or 4OZ) in certain foods:

        Flax seed 379,380
        Soy beans 103,920
        Tofu 27,150.1
        Soy yogurt 10,275
        Sesame seed 8008.1
        Flax bread 7540
        Multigrain bread 4798.7
        Soy milk 2957.2
        Hummus 993

        Kishore wrote on March 16th, 2010
        • I do not eat soy at all, but properly prepared beans (soaked and sprouted), yes, sometimes. Nuts, though, we eat quite a lot.

          jamie wrote on March 20th, 2010
  6. nother Horizon programme..unless in Blighty we canny use BBC I player but can download from myriad other sources.

    Very interesting of note in the prog were the bods doing research on oxidative stress and anti-oxidants and if i understood them correctly, certainly in mice…….antioxidants did bugger all.

    simon fellows wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Exactly.

      Jack wrote on March 17th, 2010
  7. When I first started PB, I had some nuts every day to help transition over, but I found that it actually make me hungrier.. So now I’ll eat ’em if they’re around, but I won’t go out of my way to stock up on them. I find eating a hard boiled egg is much more satisfying than a handful of nuts :)

    Lillian wrote on March 15th, 2010
  8. Very interesting post! Im not gonna stress about my almond butter that I have once in awhile, or those *gasp* walnuts I sprinkle on my salad every so often. :) Enjoy life, no one ever died from eating healthy except for nuts! lol

    Athena wrote on March 15th, 2010
  9. Stick to Macadamia nuts predominantly and you will have no problem, they taste the best anyway….

    As Mark says though if you use them as a snack you will have no problems. Have a look at this article I wrote on nuts a while back for tips on consumption

    Chris - Zen to Fitness wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • +1

      Plus the price of the dang things will keep you from buying them as often :)

      Grok wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • i agree macdamia nuts are the best…esp straight out of the fridge!

      MalPaz wrote on March 15th, 2010
  10. As a grower of pecans and follower of your primal blueprint I think your post is fair. I eat a small handful of nuts most days but not as a meal. I raise a grassfed beef for that.

    As a side note I recently purchased your book for my brother in law and he can not believe his weight loss and how much better he feels. My results were the same.

    pecanmike wrote on March 15th, 2010
  11. Thanks for the clarification Mark! I have been downing a ton of nuts each day. Problem is, I don’t like avocados or coconut so much so I found a handful of nuts at each meal was an easy way to get my fat. Now I understand that I will have to limit that as well. Maybe I will better control my appetite like another poster without all the nuts?

    Reni wrote on March 15th, 2010
  12. What about nut butters? Do the same principles apply?

    amandamarie wrote on March 15th, 2010
  13. My only problem with nuts is that it’s hard to find really fresh ones. Most are old and have mold (you don’t see it by the way)…if you eat them frequently this is an issue I think. Best to keep it random.


    Marc wrote on March 15th, 2010
  14. My body is hyper sensitive and I’m dealing with huge leaky gut, candida and inflammation problems.

    I get irritated from almost anything except meat, but I want to stay out of ketosis because it seems my kidneys became irritated from too low carb (don’t know why).

    Right now it’s no nuts, no seeds and no eggs and it seems to be helping. Even eggs, for unknown reasons, are irritation. I know the whites could be Biotin binding, but I don’t know why my system gets irritated from them.

    Too much fruit seem to irritate also. It might be because of the fructose because I’m having a lot of spaghetti squash in order to stay out of ketosis and I don’t have any problem. Spaghetti squash is low on fructose to my knowledge.

    Of course, I’m also focusing on a lot of probiotics to help out with the candida and maybe fix my problems ounce and for all.

    It’s funny all problem foods for me are foods that are in the grey area for the Paleo diet. Seems that these food choices are borderline fine for already healthy people and out of question for people with challenges.

    Sébastien wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • For the egg sensitivity… I have heard that some people are sensitive to egg whites. For some people, mixing the white & the yolk (for example, cooking the eggs scrambled instead of sunny side up) is enough to let them eat the eggs without problems. But if they eat the whites & yolks separately they get problems.

      Just a thought, maybe something to try. Good luck!

      DianeC wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • I’m one of those that’s highly allergic to the whites. I can eat the yolks just fine.

        I get intestinal swelling minutes after consuming egg whites. Intestinal swelling is an anaphylactic shock in the gut…but it isn’t called that. They only call it an anaphylactic shock when it happens in your throat and cuts off air passage…resulting in death most of the time.
        Well, for years I had no clue what’s causing my giant ‘8 month pregnant’ belly (I wasn’t pregnant) until I finally had an allergy test done…after having an anaphylactic shock in the throat and was rushed to the emergency room.

        I have however NO clue what exactly it is in the egg whites that causes that. Wish someone had an answer :(

        Suvetar wrote on April 11th, 2011
        • Un digested cooked protein molecules

          Dustino wrote on April 19th, 2012
    • I can really relate to your post. Was diagnosed with colitis in December 2009 after 3 years of symptoms. Had not eaten gluten, corn and or dairy for 10 years because I knew these foods upset my system. But was otherwise high carb low fat and was slowly getting worse over time. Going paleo in July 2009 helped shift the trend to improvement. But was still experiencing minor symptoms until I cut out a daily dose of raw mixed nuts and eggs. Loren Cordain posted an excellent explanation on his blog about why egg whites might cause a problem in sensitive individuals. I’m now pretty much asymptomatic, and owe a huge debt of gratitude to people such as Mark, which I can never really repay notwithstanding purchasing his book (which arrived yesterday).

      David wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Hey have you tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? Its very similar to Primal– but was created by Drs about 50 years ago to help heal the intestines, usually for patients with Celiac, Colitis etc. But Leaky Gut too. It might be interesting for you to read about.

      WhitsKitch wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • I’m on the same journey with you Sebastian. Leaky gut, candida, adrenal fatigue, you know, the works haha. I also find eggs and nuts irritate me for now and will give your suggestion of staying out of a ketosis a go. Seems like a struggle everyday but I know we can do this!


      fidelity wrote on March 16th, 2010
    • Sebastian, L-glutamine in large quantities is an effective way to fix leaky gut. Atleast 15 grams taken 3-4 times a day between meals. Stay away from common allergens: Eggs, wheat, oatmeal, dairy, shellfish. Take enough fish oil (3-5grams daily).

      Kishore wrote on March 16th, 2010
    • Sebastien,

      I feel your pain. I was like that years ago. I could not eat anything except meat and homemade broth for a long time. It turned out that I have several food allergies. After I strictly avoided the allergenic foods and followed Specific Carbohydrate Diet for better part of a year I was a lot better. It has been a few years since I had to do that – there are still foods that I can not eat but much better than I was.

      Try extra virgin coconut oil. It is very good for digestion but is very detoxing so watch out.

      Good luck.

      kathryn wrote on March 16th, 2010
  15. Is it about the same idea with the Omega 6’s in seeds such as flax and chia. Take them out if your weight is stalling but a few tablespoons are fine?

    Allison wrote on March 15th, 2010
  16. Thanks for the tip on eating out – I’ve never thought about request my order be cooked with butter rather than the oil! In fact, the strange looks will be half the pleasure.

    Jeffery wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Better yet bring your own ghee.

      WalterB wrote on May 2nd, 2014
  17. Isn’t the favorable 3:6 ratio for Walnuts and Macadamia nuts what make them our first choices as far as nuts go?

    chris wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Recent medical knowledge is coming to agree that you want the ratio of Omega-3s to Omega 6s to be almost 1:1 rather than 1:4 or even 1:2 as was previously thought.

      That’s why, in my opinion, Walnuts, which have long been touted to have the “optimal ratio” of polyunsaturated fats definitely do not, as we are (yes, even the Government nutritionists!) slowly learning.

      Drumroll wrote on April 24th, 2012
      • Can you link study refs? Searching Pubmed for Walnut does not result in any articles finding inflammation markers increased. Given that n-6/n-3 is 4 it borderline on the PUFA theory and we don’t have a very good idea how the Walnut is digested. For example, could it be the Omega-3 “beats” Omega-6 to the pathway mediating Omega-6 metabolism? Also, remember the typical American diet has a ratio of 16 to 20.

        Dan wrote on September 1st, 2012
  18. I LOVE nuts. All nuts. I have nuts every day. But, never as a main dish – who does?

    Nuts are a perfect snack and a perfect garnish to salads. Nut butters are excellent for smoothies/shakes or as a spread on celery.

    I am going more and more primal as the days progress, but I think I will always love my irish steel cut oats 1-2 times a week :) This with any kind of nut is incredible.


    What about coconuts? Coconuts are nuts but seem to be different then a traditional nut? I now consume some form of coconut everyday. Coconut oil, coconut flour (1-2 times a week in coconut pancakes!, coconut milk, coconut flakes, coconut water, fresh coconut meat….

    It by no means makes up the bulk of my diet… maybe 100 calories a day on average (rough guess)… is this ok? What if I was consuming 300 calories of coconut a day… would this be ok?

    Todd wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • My understanding is that Coconut is actually an MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) and is fairly different than the omega3/6 fats available in most other nut products.

      Bob Ulrich wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Almost every day I consume between 500-2,000 calories of coconut. Often much more. Oil, milk, flakes, water (in that order) make up the bulk.

      You should be fine.

      Grok wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • That’s awesome. I admire you, lol. I never ate coconut until about one month ago. My father always had a whole coconut around and added it to various stuff (usually cereal – gross) and I never had any. My mind told me coconut was gross.

        Thankfully I found this website and have learned that coconut is incredible for you.

        I now love coconut and it is one of my favorite foods. David Wolfe says it is the #1 natural liquid source of electrolytes…. therefore the perfect sport drink – take that Gatorade.

        Yes, I understand that coconut is vastly different. Coconut milk has 14 grams of fat per serving, but 12 grams is saturated fat. So, it has little omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acids, if any.

        But, wow, up to 2,000 calories a day of coconut? How many calories do you eat total in a day?

        Todd wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see plenty of coconut talk, plus lots of other useless info 😉

          Depends on the day, but I usually fall somewhere between 2,500-9,000. Up to 20,000 if I don’t care & go unmetered. 6,000 to 9,000 seams to be where I’ll naturally land for a meal. Keep in mind this is primal food, not junk.

          Grok wrote on March 15th, 2010
  19. Interested to see what your thoughts were on Macadamia Nut Oil for cooking Mark. Robb Wolf talks a lot about not using Olive Oil for high-temp cooking, as it’s fairly easily oxidizable. Since then I’ve been using Macadamia Nut Oil, which according to the data from the company I purchased it through is 1:1 in Omega3:Omega6. It also tastes like BUTTER! :)

    Bob Ulrich wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • My understanding is that the same issues are involved with heating ANY unsaturated oil (either Poly or mono). My advice is to stick with more saturated oils, especially coconut, for your cooking purposes.

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Olive oil oxidation varies widely with quality. Typically the higher the quality (such as cold pressed extra virgin organic oil) the lower the smoke point.

      The smoke point of oils is a) literally the temperature where the oil will start to emit smoke, and b) the oxidation saturation point where you’re both deodorizing the oil and converting about 2/3 of the Omega 3 content into trans fats.

      Due to the wide variation of oil quality and information sources on the subject, I’ve started heating a pan when I receive new brands/bottles of oil and adding a teaspoon and waiting 2 minutes to ensure there’s no visible smoke. If not, I consider it good to go (no bad effects to the fats).

      I tend to stick to cold pressed avocado oil and extra virgin coconut oil for sauteing, and leave extra virgin olive oil for cold dishes. I use extra virgin coconut oil and extra virgin red palm oil for deep frying the few times a year I do any. Both nutritional value and smoke point enter into these choices.

      Allegedly macadamia oil has a smoke point higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so I’ll be trying some out shortly to see if I can add it to my list of oils I cook with.

      Bryan wrote on May 11th, 2014
  20. I’ve definitely noticed that I can’t eat a ton of nuts. I swear I used to be able to, but not any more. As a snack, a handful is fine, great even (they can be delicous), or as a salad topper, but NEVER as a meal. Oh god, unless you want to have no appetite and terrible BM’s for the next 24 hours.

    Just a bit here and there….mmmmmmmmmmmm

    Graham wrote on March 15th, 2010
  21. When I first moved to AR I noticed we had many hickory nut trees. That fall I collected the nuts and cracked them. They are not like the thin shelled walnuts or pecans – no, the shell is very thick and it was a lot of work getting to the nut. No gorging on hickory nuts – took too long to get a handful.

    I imagine nuts in paleotime were not the thin shelled varieties we have now.

    That year I also collected the wild blueberries from the woods. They were very tiny berries with a wonderful taste. Again, collection was slow making them a treat.

    Thanks for the info on nuts and O6’s.

    Anne wrote on March 15th, 2010
  22. i have super high cholesterol, and have been trying to get a better 0mega 3/6 balance. anyone have a good link or resource that shows foods levels of both 3&6?

    Often foods are touted as being high in level 3, but forget to mention that they are 4 times that high in omega 6’s, like all of those ‘heart healthy’ spreads that i no longer use- very frustrating.

    tac99us wrote on March 15th, 2010
  23. I noticed cooking with oils was mentioned because of their high Omega-6 content, so i wanted to ask a question pertaining to Canola Oil. WIth nearly a 2:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, is cooking eggs and such in canola oil ok?

    xKEVINx wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • I’d say stay away from canola oil totally. Cook with butter, ghee, coconut oil, lard, tallow or other animal fats.

      tac99us wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • – Butter from grassfed cows, i should add. If you don’t have access to a local farm, there is a brand called irish gold, that is supposed to be from pastured cows, that is readily available. you could google to find others

        tac99us wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • Anchor butter, from New Zealand, is also from grass-fed cows, and is delicious.

          Aaron Blaisdell wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • I searched irish gold and found kerry gold… after some more searching it seems as if they are the same brand? Is this true?

          Todd wrote on March 15th, 2010
        • Sorry yes. It’s called Kerrygold Irish Butter. I realized last night i got the name wrong……what can i say, I’m just a caveman.

          tac99us wrote on March 16th, 2010
  24. I ceated a list for myself some time ago:

    Nuts and seeds that are low in omega 6:

    breadfruit seeds
    ~hazelnut or filberts -> border line
    ~flaxseed, chia, -> other issues
    breadnuttree seeds
    ginkgo nuts

    Alejandro wrote on March 15th, 2010
  25. So what’s considered too many nuts in a day? I usually pack 2oz. of walnuts which I snack on throughout the day when I get hungry. Would that be considered too many?

    csauer52 wrote on March 15th, 2010
  26. Oh no! I probably eat about a quarter pound of nuts a day. They’re all raw and various kinds, (pretty much all the ones Mark listed above). I have to say though, that I have severely decreased BF% and have even lost a fair amount of weight. Daily, I usually consume lots of protien (meat, fish, chicken, etc) and TONS of nuts. I also eat a fair amount of raw sheep and goats milk cheese and have a glass (or a whole bottle, I KNOW, I KNOW) of red wine 2-3 days a week. But, I must say, I am making a killing; energy level is through the roof, faster stronger, leaner and most importantly LESS HUNGRY. Intermittent fasting has become a breeze since eating this way, (with the large amount of nuts that is, been doing this for about 6 or so months).

    Steven wrote on March 15th, 2010
  27. I grind up macadamia nuts and coconut oil. I store it in the refrigerator, since the integrity of the nuts have been compromised. I have about 2 oz of the mixture a day. Sometimes spread over some celery, or right off the spoon. Occasionally, I’ll take some unsweetened coconut flakes, and grind them into the butter.

    Joshua wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • that sound so yummy!!!!!

      Felicia wrote on April 11th, 2011
  28. I am probably guilty of eating 2 many nuts. I eat a lot of almonds and I have a mature walnut tree in my garden. It is the start of the harvest season and I collect and store enough nuts to last for about 9months of the year. I probably use half a kilogram a week.

    My children love almonds and walnuts and if it were a choice between sugary confection or cake I’d rather seem them snack on the nuts.

    Phil wrote on March 15th, 2010
  29. Good take, Mark.

    Dave Lull sent me a study awhile ago that showed that eating nuts with yogurt helped minimize the downsides and maximize the upsides of consuming a few nuts here and there. That’s how I eat my nuts: sprinkled on top of yogurt. That’s a primal dessert for me.



    epistemocrat wrote on March 15th, 2010
  30. Big fan of the nuts here. I figure I get so many Omega 3’s in my diet, that I don’t worry too much about my nut consumption. However, I wish raw almond butter tasted as good as roasted! 😉

    Heather Eats Almond Butter wrote on March 15th, 2010
  31. Good article and timely too. I eat Macadamias and I was glad to see that they have the lowest O6 content on the list. I find them good for a snack since being on the PB because there is little else that I can get that is as handy. Berries are extremely expensive here.

    Angelina wrote on March 15th, 2010
  32. i like raw almonds mixed with sunflower seeds and blueberries; that’s my “cereal”. but i only eat it a couple times a week. nuts are a good pack food, too. i’ve been avoiding roasted ones since the post on choosing one’s oils carefully

    DThalman wrote on March 15th, 2010
  33. “Overanalyzing your food intake is a good way to stress yourself out and make every little dietary choice an internal struggle”

    I think this is the crux of the case – Nuts are a healthy food snack and ingredient. I think it is that simple. As always, it is moderation that will do the trick!

    I have to admit I find them a bit addictive though. I think it is that natural crunch and great taste – they are like nature’s Pringles (crisps) a bit for me…
    I love the versatility, home made almond milk, nut butter, roasting pumpkin seeds on butternut squash…it’s all great. Granted I think that keeping the nuts even in an airtight container is not going to keep them that fresh but so what if some nutrition is lost, what can we do – life is to short! Buying them with shells is better but not everyone has time to deshell…

    I say enjoy your nuts!

    Luke M-Davies wrote on March 16th, 2010
  34. I have cut out a lot of junk food and don’t often get enough protein from other sources due to my schedule. I rely heavily on nuts (mainly walnuts and almonds) for breakfast and snacks throughout the day. As a matter of fact, I eat a handful with oatmeal (still working on cutting out carbs) each morning after I workout. I really need some fast breakfast ideas to replace the nuts and oatmeal. Also, what do others use as quick snacks with protein during the day? I keep a cup full of mixed nuts and snack on them between meals and also at lunch on my salad. I probably consume about 8 oz a day of nuts at a minimum right now.

    Delaney wrote on March 16th, 2010
    • Can you eat eggs and/or cheese? I usually have a couple of hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, because it’s easy to cook up a dozen at a time & just grab them from the fridge. My snacks usually involve cheese and a few nuts, berries, or olives.

      Good luck, I hope this helps!

      DianeC wrote on March 16th, 2010
  35. Hey Mark/All,

    I am new to the primal way of eating and still trying to figure out the ‘rules’. I haven’t seen any guidance regarding buckwheat. I usually eat soaked buckwheat for breakfast. They are technically not a grain but a fruit. Are they ok to eat on the primal style diet?

    Bern wrote on March 16th, 2010
  36. Does this mean nuts eat grains? :)

    Kevin wrote on March 16th, 2010

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