3

votes

Can we make friends with nuts?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 22, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Hi,

The following is an "answer" I posted on another thread, but I'm reposting it as a question because a) No one's noticing it on the other thread ( "Help! Can???t stop picking on nuts / nut butters!" ) and b) it seems like a relatively new concept among paleohackers. Here it is:

I think we are craving nuts so strongly because they provide something vital that we don't get from other things. I say this because I notice that if I eat a moderate amount of nuts/seeds in a meal, along with some proteolytic fermented foods to aid in digestion, I feel quite well, and that the nuts have "hit the spot," a spot that I can't imagine any other food hitting.

Avocados were an okay replacement for a while, but after a while, it was clear that they weren't satisfying me as much as nuts did, nor providing as much energy--provided I don't eat so many nuts that it hits my digestive system like a brick.

What do nuts provide that other foods do not? Off the top of my head, all I can think of are magnesium and a particular amino acid profile that nourishes our bodies in a unique way, perhaps providing precursors to important neurotransmitters and hormones. If I find out anything about that I'll post a comment to this "answer." (The below points 1-4)

Yes, nuts can be addicting, but in my experience there are some ways to minimize that effect without forming an abstinence/binging relationship. I have found that adding raw, fermented foods to meals (especially with nuts) aids in both digestion and enhancing satiation signals. Also, eating them slowly helps.

Are nuts bad? I don't think so. Are they a food that some find difficult to form a productive relationship with? That's what I think. I know of many people with strong digestive systems that have no problems eating nuts normally and with moderation, not requiring any amount of discipline to stop themselves. It seems to me that it is those people with compromised digestive systems (a large percentage of us paleohackers, no?) that have trouble with nuts and nut cravings. Perhaps the key here is not to avoid such an ubiquitous food at the risk of slight yet perpetual malnourishment (which has been my experience), but to find ways of safely and productively incorporating this food by enhancing our approach and digestion of said food.

1.) Almonds are unusually high in glutamic acid (L-Glutamine), which is used by the body in greater amounts when it is under stress. Of course, we are familiar with L-glutamine as a supplement, and its ability to curb "carb cravings" as well as reduce stress. I will posit that although we may temporarily benefit from this supplementation, we would do better not confusing our body with out-of-the-blue doses of vitamins, but instead getting our L-glutamine from a natural source, along with all the other amino acids and vitamins that it's "supposed" to come with.

2.) The second most predominant amino acid in almonds is l-arginine. Wikipedia says that the plant foods highest in arginine are: wheat germ and flour, buckwheat, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, nuts (coconut, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pinenuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), chick peas, cooked soybeans, Phalaris canariensis (canaryseed or ALPISTE). I dunno about you guys, but this is essentially a list of the "non-paleo" foods that I crave the most. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide and has been found to stimulate secretion of growth hormone.

3.) Stated before, I'm sure, but the calcium and magnesium (and I'm sure other vitamins and minerals) are going to have a nourishing effect on the nervous system, possibly in a way that supplementing with these separate components would not. What about the phytic acid, you say? All I have to say is that when I crave nuts, I crave roasted nuts over raw ones. (Roasting nuts breaks down much of the phytate.)

4.) High in MUFAs?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 24, 2012
at 06:10 AM

you know, now i think about it, i think my craving for nuts diminished after upping my intake of red meat

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on September 24, 2012
at 01:16 AM

Ha, ya understandable JayJay.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:53 PM

In the context of these comments I am fairly certain I won't be clicking on any anonymous youtube links there Colin ;).

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 02:38 PM

I as well have had the experience of going vegan (5 years ago) and having the subsequent surge in nut cravings. Since then, I have incorporated fish into my diet (every day) and that has reduced my nut cravings, but certainly not all the way.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 02:36 PM

I appreciate this answer a lot. It's been a long time (think 3 years) since I've included red meat into my diet. I haven't excluded it for moral reasons, however. Red meat consistently flares up my rheumatoid arthritis, therefore, I stay away from it. But I will tell you that I am trying to figure out how to safely get it back into my diet.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 23, 2012
at 11:36 AM

C'mon chaps, I'm English, that sort of thing is legal here, and in some schools, positively encouraged.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 08:45 AM

I can't recommend anything, but I can say what works best for me. I like eating roasted nuts or seeds or nut/seed butter (tahini, for example) along with a fermented vegetable. For example, today I ate sardines mixed in with tahini, tamari (also a fermented product) and garlic sauerkraut. It was delicious. Other times I might follow a snack of almonds with a sour pickle and a little pickle juice.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on September 23, 2012
at 07:23 AM

What fermented foods would you recommend to eat with nuts? And do you recommend eating the nuts raw, soaked or cooked/roasted?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 06:01 AM

I don't restrict my calories at all. I eat when hungry, often a bit too much.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:42 AM

The other plus of the high calories, is that people can go too low on calories sometimes. If you want something energy dense, nuts are good for that too.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Lots of stuff in nuts. Vitamin E is very high, and in very few other foods. Manganese, magnesium, calcium and copper (and selenium for brazil nuts) - nuts are very rich in various minerals. When I eat nuts my minerals shoot up massively, along with my vitamin e. Only downside of nuts is the digestability (and also phytic acid for those with leaky gut). This makes them a no go for some health situations.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:37 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj3VphK9AMk

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 12:28 AM

is homosexuality paleo?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 12:28 AM

It's not that I just "think" that nuts are inflammatory, it's just my experience with them. I still plan on including them in my diet, because I am sure they benefit me in some way, even if they are a little pro-inflammatory (for me).

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:54 PM

Uh.....his name is Dan....but I guess if thats the way you swing....

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:44 PM

...and anecdotally I find both of the omegas 3 ANd 6 to be helpful with inflammation. I have tennis elbow and it got really bad when i experimented with a very low PUFA, Ray Peat style diet. However, it could have just been all the sugar that was causing inflammation, and not the lack of omega 6s, I'm not sure.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:36 PM

Right. Well if you do not think they have any inflammatory affect then I would wonder why all of the few clinical studies on nut consumption suggest an anti-inflammatory affect, such as this one http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22722891. Omega 6 has both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which is often forgotten or ignored in this circle. Omega 6 is also necessary for proper cell signaling. I wouldn't worry about including a modest amount of nuts into your diet at all. HGs sometimes make the majority of calories from nuts when they are in abundance.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Right. Well if you do not think they have any inflammatory affect then I would wonder why all of the few clinical studies on nut consumption show an anti-inflammatory affect. Omega 6 has both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which is often forgotten or ignored in this circle. Omega 6 is also necessary for proper cell signaling. I wouldn't worry about including a modest amount of nuts into your diet at all. HGs sometimes make the majority of calories from nuts when they are in abundance.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:26 PM

However I do agree with you that magnesium probably plays a big part of our attraction to nuts, as well as the fat content (nuts are ~50% fat!). I am a wicked fat burner, and subsequently crave fats like crazy.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I haven't found nuts to be anti-inflammatory in my experience. I have RA, and nuts either have no effect on the joint inflammation or a negative one. I think if we craved things for their anti-inflammatory value, we'd be craving garlic and kale a lot more than nuts, which I don't think is the case.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:22 PM

I didn't think anyone was intentionally ignoring me.

05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

(795)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:00 PM

I don't eat nuts but if I did, Sprouting and roasting reduces some of the phytates, I think sprouting does more than roasting. but then my concern would be if it is commercially roasted a potential of the fats becoming rancid? I think it be better to sprout and dehyrate.... imo

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8 Answers

3
40befdb27ebc5f02993523f3625bc8c5

on September 23, 2012
at 05:55 AM

Hi. I just saw that you are 23 and underweight. Nuts are super calorie dense, so my guess is that you are just craving the calories. I also find it odd that you are fine with avocado but find nuts inflammatory and yet are not allergic to them. Seems strange that is all. I dance in ballet and I will be completely honest with you- the only men that I have who claim to be underweight beyond adolescence are men with eating disorders. Especially if you get cravings at night, you are probably restricting calories too much during the day time.

I like nuts think they're a smart inclusion to one's diet, assuming no allergies.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 06:01 AM

I don't restrict my calories at all. I eat when hungry, often a bit too much.

2
Ba1c998b18470309687f07606767668a

(161)

on September 23, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Just to add a bit of personal experience in relation to nuts and meat, if it's useful.

The short version is: my cravings for nuts completely disappeared when I started eating red meat and seed mix, with the rest of my diet remaining reasonably consistent.

Long version:

When I started paleo 'properly' a few months ago, I was a very strict meat eater on moral grounds, only eating red meat once or twice a month.

At that time, I ate a lot of nuts - consistently 100-200g a day of cashews and/or almonds, and no seeds.

I became concerned that eating meat was more important than I gave it credit for, and made an effort to get more red meat and chicken in my diet. I started eating red meat at least once a week, and also at that time started eating seed mix (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed, sesame).

Since doing that, I don't feel like eating nuts anywhere near as much, and now eat maybe ~50-100g every few days.

The rest of my diet remained reasonably consistent.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 02:38 PM

I as well have had the experience of going vegan (5 years ago) and having the subsequent surge in nut cravings. Since then, I have incorporated fish into my diet (every day) and that has reduced my nut cravings, but certainly not all the way.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 02:36 PM

I appreciate this answer a lot. It's been a long time (think 3 years) since I've included red meat into my diet. I haven't excluded it for moral reasons, however. Red meat consistently flares up my rheumatoid arthritis, therefore, I stay away from it. But I will tell you that I am trying to figure out how to safely get it back into my diet.

1
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on September 22, 2012
at 09:50 PM

I do not think that others are intentionally ignoring you. Rather, I think that this is a not a novel idea. A lot of people here believe that cravings tend to stem from some sort of deficiency or need for a certain nutrient.

Nuts are high in magnesium, and magnesium is often lacking in other places in a paleo diet- so that could be it. Nuts are very anti-inflammatory (due in part to the MUFA, in part vitamin, but also to the nutrient composition), so they may be helpful in easing any internal inflammation. Nuts taste good. When you are an efficient fat burring machine, nuts just hit the spot, as they tend to lower the glycemic impact of meal and provide ample MUFA, which is easy to burn for energy when you are metabolically flexible (as MUFA is the primary constituent of our own body fat stores).

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:26 PM

However I do agree with you that magnesium probably plays a big part of our attraction to nuts, as well as the fat content (nuts are ~50% fat!). I am a wicked fat burner, and subsequently crave fats like crazy.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:44 PM

...and anecdotally I find both of the omegas 3 ANd 6 to be helpful with inflammation. I have tennis elbow and it got really bad when i experimented with a very low PUFA, Ray Peat style diet. However, it could have just been all the sugar that was causing inflammation, and not the lack of omega 6s, I'm not sure.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:36 PM

Right. Well if you do not think they have any inflammatory affect then I would wonder why all of the few clinical studies on nut consumption suggest an anti-inflammatory affect, such as this one http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22722891. Omega 6 has both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which is often forgotten or ignored in this circle. Omega 6 is also necessary for proper cell signaling. I wouldn't worry about including a modest amount of nuts into your diet at all. HGs sometimes make the majority of calories from nuts when they are in abundance.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:22 PM

I didn't think anyone was intentionally ignoring me.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 22, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I haven't found nuts to be anti-inflammatory in my experience. I have RA, and nuts either have no effect on the joint inflammation or a negative one. I think if we craved things for their anti-inflammatory value, we'd be craving garlic and kale a lot more than nuts, which I don't think is the case.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Right. Well if you do not think they have any inflammatory affect then I would wonder why all of the few clinical studies on nut consumption show an anti-inflammatory affect. Omega 6 has both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which is often forgotten or ignored in this circle. Omega 6 is also necessary for proper cell signaling. I wouldn't worry about including a modest amount of nuts into your diet at all. HGs sometimes make the majority of calories from nuts when they are in abundance.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 12:28 AM

It's not that I just "think" that nuts are inflammatory, it's just my experience with them. I still plan on including them in my diet, because I am sure they benefit me in some way, even if they are a little pro-inflammatory (for me).

1
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on September 22, 2012
at 09:48 PM

Personally the only thing I've noticed in my nutrient tracking lacking without the incorporation of nuts is vitamin E. While egg yolks contain vitamin E, they don't pack as much in as an ounce of almonds. Just my two cents. :)

0
7896f132a54650eff768b3db6eacf89a

on May 25, 2014
at 08:40 PM

Ask this question and it might help!

When is a Nut NOT a Nut?

When it's a Tiger Nut, that's when.

Tiger Nuts (www.tigernutsusa.com) are actually a tuber, they are not nuts at all, but have all of the taste and chew of nuts, they taste a little like coconut.

If you are backpacking take Supreme Peeled Tiger Nuts with you, they can be eaten right from the bag, and they will help stave off those hunger pangs because they are packed with fiber.

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 24, 2012
at 05:22 AM

May be you are craving nuts for the Oleic Acid (monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid c18:1).
I notice you mention you do not eat much red meat, which is also high in oleic acid.

So may be your diet is deficient in oleic acid (by not eating a lot of red meat) and you crave another source of oleic acid?
http://wholefoodcatalog.info/nutrient/oleic_acid/foods/high/

...something to think about

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 24, 2012
at 06:10 AM

you know, now i think about it, i think my craving for nuts diminished after upping my intake of red meat

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:10 PM

You can make friends with my nuts anytme.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 22, 2012
at 11:54 PM

Uh.....his name is Dan....but I guess if thats the way you swing....

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 23, 2012
at 11:36 AM

C'mon chaps, I'm English, that sort of thing is legal here, and in some schools, positively encouraged.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on September 24, 2012
at 01:16 AM

Ha, ya understandable JayJay.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:53 PM

In the context of these comments I am fairly certain I won't be clicking on any anonymous youtube links there Colin ;).

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 23, 2012
at 12:28 AM

is homosexuality paleo?

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on September 23, 2012
at 03:37 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj3VphK9AMk

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 22, 2012
at 09:48 PM

Let me just basically say that nuts and seeds are a fundamental part of the human diet. I think you get nothing but good things when you incorporate at least a couple handfuls into your daily regimen. I'm not gonna break them down...eat a variety...eat em often....and be healthy. I am not concerned about O6 or any other micro breakdown unless you are basically living on just nuts (would be an interesting experiment).

What should concern you is how fresh they are and how you store them though. Other than that THEY ARE AWESOME!

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