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

mixednutsNuts 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. Thanks for the mention, Mark. And you’re right on. This is exactly how I handle nuts, going 2-3 weeks at a stretch without any so that when I do get them chowing down with even a whole cup or more in an evening is no big.

    Also, I’m pretty much sticking to macadamias and pistachios from time to time.

    Richard Nikoley wrote on March 16th, 2010
  2. I have recently re-introduced more omega 6 into my diet after avoiding it like the plague and being an omega 3 junkie for many months. Believe me, you do not want too little omega 6 in your diet and there is some omega 6 that is downright beneficial, not to mention essential for inflammation, regeneration and the nervous system. Omega 3 (both EPA, DHA AND ALA) regulate the body’s conversion of omega 6 fatty acids into the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes and so where there is omega 3, there can also be omega 6. One omega 6 fatty acid that we tend to ignore is GLA which can be found in evening primrose, borage oil and my new favorite seed, hemp. GLA also regulates inflammation and so adding a source of GLA along with your nuts and seeds or in the case of hemp in the same package is a downright smart move.

    In the absence of any omega 6 from sources other than the little bits in meat, flax, chia, olive oil and avocado, an oz or two of nuts and most definitely some hemp seeds is a downright healthy choice. Just don’t go overboard and don’t roast them.

    Stabby wrote on March 16th, 2010
  3. The consensus seems to be nuts are OK, but in moderation… If the main issue here is n6, what is wrong with eating more than a “moderate” amount of macadamia nuts (only .5 g in 1/4 cup)? Also, since they are so low in PUFA would roasted be OK?

    sandra wrote on March 16th, 2010
  4. My only way to regulate my nut consumption (they are SO delicious!!) is to buy them in the shell. Yes it is a royal pain in the ass to de-shell each nut, but Grok had to, right? I just buy a mixed bag… Tip: to max out on the primal factor, dont use a nutcracker either!! Grok on!

    Julie Aguiar wrote on March 16th, 2010
  5. I am big fan of walnuts.

    Multi Wing wrote on March 16th, 2010
  6. For those who have trouble controlling their nut intake, they are now conveniently sold in 100 calorie packets. However, I find it much less expensive to buy them in bulk and exhibit some self-control!

    Melinda Neely wrote on March 17th, 2010
    • That is a useful tip – although as you say bulk is cheaper, so I too take that option. Nuts are moreish and calorie dense so self control is the key…

      Luke M-Davies wrote on March 18th, 2010
  7. I have been eating far too many nuts as of later and have not been feeling well for quite some time. I will cut them out and see if it helps.
    I only recently converted from a vegetarian so eating meat is still a teething process so I was relying heavily on nuts for protein and fat. Its not unusual for me to eat 3 cups a day. Yikes!
    Also I am eating a full avocado every day – can someone tell me if this is also pushing my omega 6 – 3 ratio too far?

    avey wrote on March 17th, 2010
  8. Great article! Everything in context, and everything in the proper amounts.

    By the way, “The Irreducible Nut” would make a great name for a rock-n-roll band. :)

    DianeC wrote on March 17th, 2010
  9. Hi Mark,

    I just wanted to comment on your statement that “Overanalyzing your food intake is a good way to stress yourself out and make every little dietary choice an internal struggle.”

    Especially for folks who may have or are currently exhibiting patterns of disordered eating, getting too analytical with your food choices can cause an unhealthy obsession with the quality of the food you eat, to the point of having a serious impact on quality of life.

    The approach you promote seems pretty balanced, though — there’s a lot to be said for ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’.

    Cheers

    Jesse Bastide wrote on March 18th, 2010
  10. Ignore this…I wanna see if I setup my gravatar correctly. :)

    Mike wrote on March 20th, 2010
  11. The argument that Grok didn’t eat nuts each day doesn’t really work here I think. Cant see that Grok consumed about 3-5 eggs a day either but I got the impression PB says that is okay?

    Rilla wrote on March 21st, 2010
  12. The Primal Blueprint book states (p125): “Nuts and seeds and their derivative butter products are filling and nutritious and can be *consumed liberally* in place of high-carbohydrate snacks.” This seems to be in contradiction with this blog post. Or am I missing something?

    chris wrote on March 31st, 2010
  13. Doesn’t the ratio of O6:O3 come into play with the nuts? Can I assume that’s why the amount of O3 in the above nuts is not listed?

    Signed,
    Diabetic, and so very confused about nuts :(

    Debbie wrote on April 17th, 2010
  14. Wow. This is interesting, because since I added more Almonds, I lost weight. I was for the first four days of eating them everyday, loosing 1lb a day. When I cut back I gained weight. I just had a baby three months ago, and lost all the weight I gained. I never thought I’d be fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes so fast, compared to my other two pregnancies, I never got back to pre-pregnancy with either of those. I still have the boys weight to loose, but with my little girl, it all fell off. And I was eating Almonds everyday, several times a day, feeling great and less hungry. They were baked into foods, so it was more like Almond flour I ate allot of. I guess I’m just different? Or maybe nursing a little one really changes things? I don’t eat them as often right now (and not seeing weight loss, more like fluxes), even though I and have added Coconut oil into my diet. I add it to my smoothies in the morning, and it’s so good. I love Coconut oil, and can’t say enough good things about it. I also make other dessert foods with all types of coconut, like raw sugarless fudge. It’s really good, and uses Macadamia nut butter instead of almonds. Or Mark’s recipe: Truffles. Thanks for all the info.

    Esther wrote on January 9th, 2011
  15. I try to keep PUFAs under 10%, though I usually only reach under 15%, but given all the research on proinflammatory eicosanoids (obviously derived from n6), I’d say it’s not too bad. I get most of my fats from salad oils (usually 75% red palm oil and 25% olive oil). I’m a big nut for saturated fat, anyone read the 1992 Framingham study where the director pretty much summed it up as “the more saturated fat and dietary cholesterol individuals ate the less they weighed and the lower cholesterol they had?” I’m not aiming for the latter as high cholesterol is pretty healthy, though the former shows great potential for obese people.

    Jay wrote on February 1st, 2011
  16. The other part of the story with walnuts is that, although higher in omega-6, they are also higher in omega-3 with a ratio of 4:1. Almonds on the other hand, have no appreciable omega-3s and have an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of 1689:1. While consuming more nuts I therefore weigh the walnuts more heavily than the almonds or other nuts. For me, this is a consideration on those days when I make a nut mix of 4 to 6 ounces. It helps knowing that I’m consuming a good dose of omega-3 to help balance the omega-6 intake.

    Louie wrote on March 29th, 2011
  17. I was really confused to read that nuts actually reduce inflammation. Doesn’t this undermine everything we are told about omega 6 consumption? How can the fact that nuts also contain other nutrients offset the omega 6 effect? Seems there must be a lot we don’t yet understand – certainly in my case. Am I missing something?
    Justine

    Justine wrote on July 20th, 2011
  18. I’m typically to running a blog and i really appreciate your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and maintain checking for brand new information.

    Electronic Cigarette Coupons wrote on September 1st, 2011
  19. Hmm… I eat TONS of nuts. Couldn’t do primal without it. Guess it’s all a bit of a trade off!

    Meagan wrote on October 20th, 2011
  20. lol arboreal egg, mark is so eloquent :) I’m glad he’s the current figurehead for Paleo

    Dan Han wrote on November 19th, 2011
  21. Mark have you read prof Brian peskins studies on omega 3 and 6 it will open your mind

    brian wrote on November 20th, 2011
  22. So in other words, if you eat a lot of primal salmon and beef, you can eat nuts, but only a 1/4 once every few weeks or so.

    Nuts have the pro-inflammatory omega-6 and many anti-nutrients. The omega-6 content of nuts can be balanced out by the DHA and EPA forms of omega-3 found ONLY in meat. Your body needs a 1:1 ratio of omega-3(DHA and EPA, not ALA) to omega-6.

    So if you are a vegetarian or vegan, eating nuts would be bad for you. In fact, with all the anti-nutrients and omega-6 in nuts, it seems like they should be in the same category as grains and legumes, but that’s just my opinion.

    Peter wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  23. Basically, everything you’ve heard about how nuts are supposedly healthy ARE NOT TRUE.

    People really need to know the importance of balancing omega-3 to omega-6, and that only the meat forms of omega-3 (DHA and EPA) are the reliable ones. The plant form of omega-3(ALA) is the bad one because it has no use in your body. Even the omega-3 nuts don’t have the DHA and EPA, only the ALA (bad) form.

    Peter wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • ALA isn’t necessarily bad for you. ALA can get converted by our bodies into DHA and EPA. The problem is that this is not a perfect conversion. The amount that gets converted is fairly small.

      So while ALA can be converted, consuming 200 mgs of ALA does not equal the efficiency of consuing 200 mg oof either EPA or DHA since not all 200 mgs of it will be converted.

      Still, some usable Omega-3 is certainly vastly preferable to none!

      Drumroll wrote on April 24th, 2012
  24. so are omega 6 from animal fats more valuable?

    Max@flavortogofast wrote on November 25th, 2011
  25. Mark…you mention we should roast our own nuts so as not to overcook them. Ok…but you never say what temperature and for how long

    Chris wrote on March 31st, 2012
  26. You people are nuts! Omega 6 is hardly the devil you paint it to be and eating nuts certainly isn’t detrimental to your health. In fact, one would be hard pressed to put on weight simply because they ate nuts everyday. One would have to eat POUNDS of nuts for it to have any sort of cumulative effect.

    And the piddly amount of omega 6 (which is good for you) that you get in a handful of nuts is nothing to worry about. It’s sad that so many of you people are neurotic worry warts. I wish my life was so empty and pointless that I had nothing better to worry about all day than the linoleic acid in a handful of almonds. Insert eye roll here please.

    Hermione Hairpie wrote on April 24th, 2012
    • Omega-6s (well, MOST Omega-6s, anyway) are pro-inflammatory and this is NOT good. It’s one of the problems of the standard American diet that it is EXTREMELY heavy in Omega-6s. Now, to some extent, Omega-3 fats can cancel the negative effects of too much Omega-6 fats. But I don’t see people (even those who supplement with fish/krill/shrimp oils) consuming near the amount of Omega-3s that it would take to equal the huge amount of Omega-6s they already intake.

      Mark (and I don’t think anyone else here) is suggesting that you never consume nuts, or that you have to avoid Omega-6s like the plague. Humans NEED Omega-6s. The problem is, we are consuming VASTLY more now, than we ever were in the past. What I think is suggested here is simply bringing down your consumption of Omega-6 fats closer to the more reasonable level that Grok most likely would have consumed. Moderating nut intake is an extremely good way to bring this down to size, as is watching your oil intake.

      Drumroll wrote on April 24th, 2012
  27. Hello everyone,
    I’ve just discovered this website, very interesting and informative I should say :)
    Recently I’ve started on a nutty diet, eating about 200 grams of mixed nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, dried grapes… I’ve to say that it completely fills me in (in one go) and then it’s like my stomach is totally peaceful – I don’t feel hunger, I’ve no cravings, my stomach doesn’t hurt… Fo as long as I remember myself my stomach aches when I eat cooked food (I think I have gastritis). But when I eat only nuts and fruits and veggies my stomach is at peace :) Roasted nuts also make it hurt so I avoid them, in fact don’t consume them at all. I’ve tried soaked nuts and they seem very lively and like they say ‘Hey, I like you, eat me please, It would be my pleasure’ :))))
    Some time ago I underwent a 3-month nuts and plants diet and lost seveal pounds, I felt really energetic, really truly good! I’m starting again, with teh desire to make this my main life style for as long as I can.
    Nuts are just great!! :)))

    Eva wrote on May 11th, 2012
  28. I still like mine salted, I don’t

    buy the salt is bad talk !

    Bill P wrote on May 15th, 2012
  29. CLA is product in omega6.It play an important role to reduce Weight.

    Ch.liaquat Ali wrote on May 23rd, 2012
  30. I don^t like nuts because they taste horrible when I tried them on my pizza.
    Even on my pasta with tomatoe sauce there not good. II^l stick to peanut butter in the morning with my grains(oatmeal,whale wheat etc)

    Kim wrote on May 31st, 2012
  31. The limit my body alerts me to when I eat nuts, especially walnuts, is when my mouth and teeth get that “dry” feeling, a simple mental reminder only due how mildly uncomfortable it is, but a nice cue to stop (I wish snack foods had similar cues). So, probably about 5 big handfuls as the ultimate limit to my nut consumption, and even then I usually never get that high. I ‘ll still snack on them happily in this limited amount, however. They have a place.

    BC wrote on June 27th, 2012
  32. Ik think nuts where large parts of the year available since they have excellent ‘shelf life’ properties as long as they are kept in their skin. So the idea we were just eaten nuts some parts of the year, needs more scientific back up. We were not just hunters but also gatherers. Even grains were eaten already 100.000 years ago (contrairy to modern paleo believe) But these where other grains, processed and eaten in other ways.

    About the inflammatory effect of nuts there is more to say than just their natural omega-6 content. Roasting nuts actually means frying them, probably interchanging natural oils and water partly for the oil they are fried in (corn, soy, peanut) so that will upper their natural omega 6 / omega 3 balance. Really dry roasting probably is a little less harmful.

    Honey wrote on July 6th, 2012
  33. What about almond bread? I make it daily for my 5 boys to make sandwiches for lunch. Am I hurting my family?

    Monique wrote on September 7th, 2012
  34. I just entered my food diary on “food journal” and they said I had consumed too many omega 6’s. I had 3 eggs, about 450 – 500 gms of lamb and a handful of almonds and walnuts. I had a total of 12 gms of omega 6 and 2 gms of omega 3. Since all of this is recommended by the PB, how do I cut down my omega 6’s? The eggs are DHA enhanced eggs.

    Srinivas Kari wrote on October 4th, 2012
  35. You do realise ,don’t you, that this fussing and worrying about getting the perfect ratios ,etc is going a bit too far?
    Foods like nuts are perfectly fine to eat.
    Don’t worry about omega 3/ 6 in nuts ; there are far more to nuts than just those 2 components. We are finding problems with foods because scientists have labeled certain parts of that food(eg vitamin D, omega 3, pantothenic acid, etc ,etc) and we learn that one component is ‘good’ or bad’..when truthfully the food is made of countless components which all act together.
    There are lots of studies to show vastly improved blood profiles ,heart-health, etc from eating liberal amounts of nuts and seeds.
    Here is one such paper : http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/apjcn/volume17/vol17suppl.1/333-336S21-4.pdf

    Dennis wrote on February 1st, 2013
  36. what nuts should be avoided?

    robin ittigson wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  37. Although the internet is awash with info about the supposed health benefits of nuts, I have recently learned that a particular nut, namely almond, is probably not so healthy for me. And I had to learn it the hard way: after eating almonds for six days in a row, I developed symptoms of what felt like carpal-tunnel syndrome (main symptom in my case was numbness in some fingers). First in my right hand and then in my left. I also experienced some mild pain in my right arm. When I ate hazelnut on one occasion during that period, within 30 minutes my symptoms worsened, despite the fact that I have never experience an adverse reaction to hazelnuts before. When I stopped eating almonds, the symptoms subsided, although it took me four days to become symptom-free.

    I´m wondering how truly paleo/primal nuts really are anyhow. Now don´t get me wrong, I´m in no way some kind of paleo fundamentalist, who thinks everyone should cut out every single food item that are ancestors did not eat, even if you don’t have any adverse reactions. What I would appreciate, however, is some info about nut consumption among actual hunter-gatherers who survived into the twentieth century and not the highly speculative conjectures about ancient hunter-gatherers in the Palaeolithic. My take on this is, that the only sure thing about the Palaeolithic diet is that people ate meat, animal fats, and costal populations ate seafood. What kind of plant based foods people were eating, I think the only honest answers is: nobody knows. I just find it very odd that nuts are such potent allergens for so many people, yet there are supposed to be this health food which presumably people ate regularly for eons before agriculture. If that was true, surely we would be better adapted to them.

    I am hoping that someone can enlighten me about how nuts may cause numbness in the hands. Any ideas about a possible underlying mechanism? I don’t think it can be explained as the result of excessive amounts of omega 6 oils causing inflammation because in the days when I was cooking with sunflower oil exclusively (also high in omega 6) I had never had the symptoms described above. ( Don’t get me wrong , I am not in any way advocating sunflower oil.) Oh, and by the way! The only time I did experience the numbness in my hand before was when I was taking fish oil capsules – rich in omega 3! So this is somewhat of a conundrum for me…. Any thoughts on this would be highly appreciated!

    Curious wrote on March 11th, 2013
  38. I have been eating loads of walnuts in the last year after learning they had the most optimal 3:6 ratio. Now I can see that while their 3.6 ratio is the best of all the nuts, the total amount of 6 is actually quite high compared to most other nuts.

    So my question is: What is more important, the amount of omega 6 consumed in the diet, or the ratio of 3 to 6?

    Thanks!!

    Brian wrote on May 8th, 2013
  39. Here some update about the strange symptoms I was having descried in my previous post. The numbness evolved gradually into travelling pain across my fingers. It is not so much that my joints hurt, but it felt as if by bones were hurting, every day a different one. In addition, there were some pins and needled sensations in fingers and my fingertips felt really sensitive. After a while the same symptoms appeared in my feet. Also both my hand and feet were at this point really cold during the day and very hot when I went to bed. And if all of this it wasn´t bad enough, I gradually lost all my appetite, I felt really tired and it was as if I was freezing inside. At this point I was panicking.

    To remedy my problems, I tweaked my diet this and that way, but nothing helped. But somehow I still thought that it must be diet, because all this started happening to me when I changed my diet pretty drastically toward a more paleo type of eating. So one day out of desperation I grabbed a pack potato chips baked in sunflower oil just to eat something. I wasn´t expecting this to help my hand and feet. I was just trying to find something I still could eat because I started to lose weight pretty fast as a consequence of having no appetite at all. The same evening the pins and needles sensations subsided substantially and my hands and feet felt less hot than in the days before! Now I do think there is a strong argument for not cooking with vegetable oils due to them easily becoming rancid, so I was thinking maybe if I was to eat sunflower seeds instead, it should still do the trick. Today, after a week of eating sunflower seeds every day, my appetite is close to normal, I feel much less tired, my hand and feet are much better – no pain, they don’t get really hot in the night, although they are still quite cold during the day. Needles to say, I’m elated!

    Please, please if there is someone out there who had a similar experience or any experience (good or bad) with sunflower seed or oil, share it with me. I still don’t understand was going on with me. Is it possible that I had a omega 6 deficiency? What you always hear is that it is omega 3 deficiency you should worry about. What omega 6 deficiency might lead to is almost never mentioned. I have found some mention of omega 6 deficiency leading to anorexia, joint pain, dry skin –this I have also noticed- , but the info about this on the internet very scarce. Or is it something else in sunflower oil /seeds that was responsible??? I was eating meat the whole time, that is, until I was still able to eat. Meat is supposed to be high in omega 6 if it is not grass fed and most of what I was eating was not grass fed.

    This is also a cautionary tale. Be very careful when changing your diet drastically, because it might have unintended consequences, not all of it positive.

    Curious wrote on May 9th, 2013

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