10

votes

Who has scientific evidence that eating lots of nuts are unhealthy?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 08, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Who has evidence that eating a lot of nuts is unhealthy? We have quite good ideas about omega-6s and omega-3s being important. That's why a lot of paleo's advise to eat nuts in moderation. But is there any evidence that there are negative consequences for our health?

Please, this time I'm not interested in personal anecdotes (although they are important), nor in theories, but in hardcore evidence.

Thank you!

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on April 15, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Very good point.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 10, 2010
at 12:45 AM

Wasn't the glucose tolerance thing due to physiological adaptation to a low carb diet? If so, it would not be a pathological condition and thus not unhealthy at all. It's just what happens if you eat very low carb for a while and then suddenly surprise your body with a ton of sugar all at once.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 10, 2010
at 12:42 AM

Interpreting such trials is diffult. THe health of nut intake depends in part on what foods it would be taking the place of. Nut might be healthier than noodles but not as healthy as meat. For those eating lowfat, nut intake might help substantially, but for those eating grassfed steak fat, nut intake might actually be less healthy. The prob is, most studies are done on SAD eaters.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on December 09, 2010
at 03:59 AM

Eating a jar of nut butter or a container of nuts everyday would be a sign of food addiction. In my case it was cashews that I have a problem with, but not really any other kind of nut. Some people throw out Omega 6 but the truth is, Omega 6 is only harmful without Omega 3 to balance it. And many nuts are plentiful sources of Omega 3.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 08, 2010
at 08:04 PM

True, however the same reasoning can be used to doubt the value of any food you have a personal bias against that appears healthy in research studies.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on December 08, 2010
at 07:39 PM

That is indeed one of the difficulties in nutritional science.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:46 PM

"20% of total energy" = @ 400 calories (for me) = a little bit over 2 oz. of walnuts They haven't seen me eat nuts either! Nuts = paleo potato chips. No body can stop at just one, and stopping at one ounce is pretty hard too.

Db29d1edee00887a675b63803d06857e

(48)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:19 PM

Btw, I (Jay) wrote this -- I keep forgetting my password so I sign in differently sometimes...

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:07 PM

Melissa, thanks for the offer.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:06 PM

Mike, I'm quite aware that nuts have some substances that can be unhealthy, like the lectins and the omega6. But I'm really interested to know if these have negative effects if consumed in whole nuts.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 08, 2010
at 05:03 PM

Specific studies please? I can download them and eval them.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 08, 2010
at 04:39 PM

I'm really pressed for time these days, so if anyone wants some studies to read, email me so we can crowdsource this. I have access to move scientific publications through my university.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 08, 2010
at 04:38 PM

Most studies on nuts show positive effects, but I'll have to download a few and read the data to see if there is any negative effects not written about in the conclusion/press release. Also, few of them are long-term.

  • 89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

    asked by

    (10299)
  • Views
    3.6K
  • Last Activity
    1259D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:44 PM

It may be hard to find the studies that would apply, because just adding nuts to the SAD may very well end up replacing calories from wheat, or other junky snacks. I mean if all the people now have nuts to eat for a snack, so they leave out their crackers, there's going to be some conflation.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on December 08, 2010
at 08:04 PM

True, however the same reasoning can be used to doubt the value of any food you have a personal bias against that appears healthy in research studies.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on December 08, 2010
at 07:39 PM

That is indeed one of the difficulties in nutritional science.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on April 15, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Very good point.

1
Cf5c9ba3c06cf300ae23c52778dfd317

on April 15, 2011
at 02:08 AM

Jaya says: "...there is evidence that high linoleic acid diets might be really bad"

This is actually somewhat confusing. Partially hydrogenated and rancid vegetable oils (coincidentally high in O-6) clearly show negative effects in studies. Other than that, it's less about the O-6 intake, and more about the specific tissue concentrations. However, there are various factors that can influence tissue concentrations of O3 and O6 other than just dietary. I tried to touch on this in my question: If dietary and serum cholesterol aren???t always related, could the same thing be said about linoleic acid? It doesn't seem like PUFAs in refined processed vegetable oils and PUFAS in avocados, nuts, meat etc have identical fates in the body. I feel like this is one of the areas we are most clueless about.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 08, 2010
at 05:43 PM

Study Crowd sourcing. Email me if you want a paper to read:

Vrimj read Effect of moderate walnut consumption on lipid profile, arterial stiffness and platelet activation in humans. This one basically proves you have to eat more then a mouthful of nuts to get benefits, there are some sites that show strong positive results, but they were at a higher level of walnut intake.

This one has them eating 15 g (about 8 walnut halves) a day for four weeks. It didn't have a lot of change in BP (slight increase if anything) and while there were some effects on the lipid panel (lower LDL and some increase in triglycerides) but they were not significant. Other comments (quote is below) in the paper about the concern for the high amount of fat consumed with nuts at clinically significant levels were not important but did explain why someone would do a study on nuts and then not have people eat nuts in any quantity. This is the only health concern mentioned in the paper. I can only conclude these people have never seen me eat nuts.

"The large amount of walnuts consumed in many of the previous dietary intervention trials provided up to 20% of total energy and 55% of daily total fat intake. There have been concerns that this proportion of fat energy from walnuts may be too high to be practical or sustainable in a non-research setting (Feldman, 2002; Banel and Hu, 2009).)"

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:46 PM

"20% of total energy" = @ 400 calories (for me) = a little bit over 2 oz. of walnuts They haven't seen me eat nuts either! Nuts = paleo potato chips. No body can stop at just one, and stopping at one ounce is pretty hard too.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 10, 2010
at 12:42 AM

Interpreting such trials is diffult. THe health of nut intake depends in part on what foods it would be taking the place of. Nut might be healthier than noodles but not as healthy as meat. For those eating lowfat, nut intake might help substantially, but for those eating grassfed steak fat, nut intake might actually be less healthy. The prob is, most studies are done on SAD eaters.

0
Db29d1edee00887a675b63803d06857e

(48)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:18 PM

I am not aware of direct evidence that unlimited consumption of nuts is bad, but nuts are high in linoleic acid and there is evidence that high linoleic acid diets might be really bad. It may be that fresh nuts provide their LA with enough fat-soluble antioxidants that they are not bad at all. Nobody knows this, as far as I am aware. Then, there is the !kung who eat lots of mongogo nuts. They are reasonable healthy but have poor glucose tolerance (Stephan wrote about this recently), especially for a society with a traditiional diet. Since there's no reason to go crazy with nuts, why not keep them to a reasonable quantity?

I, for example, use macadamias and cashews as one of my main sources of LA, along with pastured eggs and pork. Most other good fats (dairy, coconut, cocao) have about 2% LA and I eat lots of potatoes, so I need some relatively high LA foods from time to time to avoid LA deficiency... For that, as I stated, I use mac butter (mac + cashew) and eggs; sometimes avocados or olive oil too... I also have an occasional brazil nut for the selenium...

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 10, 2010
at 12:45 AM

Wasn't the glucose tolerance thing due to physiological adaptation to a low carb diet? If so, it would not be a pathological condition and thus not unhealthy at all. It's just what happens if you eat very low carb for a while and then suddenly surprise your body with a ton of sugar all at once.

Db29d1edee00887a675b63803d06857e

(48)

on December 08, 2010
at 06:19 PM

Btw, I (Jay) wrote this -- I keep forgetting my password so I sign in differently sometimes...

0
9e1dedf12f6ee75b7fe460960971fd21

(624)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:02 PM

PieterD, do a search for nuts and lectins. or for the amount of omega 6 in different nuts. it is fairly clear that we shouldn't be eating a jar of almond butter everyday.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 08, 2010
at 05:03 PM

Specific studies please? I can download them and eval them.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on December 08, 2010
at 05:06 PM

Mike, I'm quite aware that nuts have some substances that can be unhealthy, like the lectins and the omega6. But I'm really interested to know if these have negative effects if consumed in whole nuts.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on December 09, 2010
at 03:59 AM

Eating a jar of nut butter or a container of nuts everyday would be a sign of food addiction. In my case it was cashews that I have a problem with, but not really any other kind of nut. Some people throw out Omega 6 but the truth is, Omega 6 is only harmful without Omega 3 to balance it. And many nuts are plentiful sources of Omega 3.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!