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Objectively, how are nuts Paleo?

Commented on August 17, 2014
Created March 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM

The gist of my question: how are nuts/seeds justifiably paleo (as a significant caloric source)? Many nuts and seeds have more antinutrients than grains do, especially in phytic acid content. They are also in the same boat as grains in that large quantities would be unavailable in nature. We are being hypocritical in condemning all grains across the board while bingeing on nuts and seeds that are in fact worse than many grains (rice, quinoa, etc.). I know some paleo-stars preach being careful about nut consumption, but I think we should start to seriously reconsider our stance from an objective viewpoint and remove nuts from the paleo food list.

My background:

I recently participated in a paleo challenge at my crossfit gym. In the 6 or so months before this challenge I was barely lacto-paleo and eating SAD a few times a week (read: pizza, beer, etc). For the first few weeks I noticed large improvements in my acne and general fatigue levels as a result of being off of wheat and dairy (I have had a hard time giving up dairy even though I know I am intolerant). To try to gain some weight I was eating a lot of larabars, as well as some cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds every day. But about 3 weeks in I started getting large cysts on my face that didn't go away. I also had severe tooth sensitivity that just suddenly appeared out of nowhere (and I do vit D and CLO every day). I actually did better eating SAD than when I was 3 weeks in to strict paleo!!! I decided to quit ignoring my body's warning signs and cut out all nuts/seeds for the last two weeks, and the results are clear.

My face cleared up to the point where I only have some red marks with no active infections, and my tooth sensitivity vanished (Mr. Price was on to something...). There's no way this was an O6/O3 ratio problem, since I was taking CLO every day, eating sardines about every other day, and I was eating a lot of pumpkin seeds for their high O3 content. But unfortunately pumpkin seeds are VERY high in phytic acid, and the larabars and cashews were not helping. If you have any unresolved immune or weight-loss issues I would cut all nuts/seeds immediately.

BOTTOM LINE: nuts ain't paleo, folks.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on August 17, 2014
at 11:09 AM

Ah, I just posted the same thing. Good.

Having just watched a National Geographic programme about them yesterday they have to crack every one open with a tool so not an easy task even though they manage to get 1300 calories a day from the nuts.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on August 17, 2014
at 11:08 AM

I was reading about the San peoples (bushmen) yesterday. Their original diet was 70% fat and most of it was from nuts. They have 1300 calories a day from mongongo nuts (or did before Western food got in the way) plus protein from meat and up to 100 insects.

Anyone wanting to lose weight though needs to go easy on the nuts. I can easily eat far too many of them when I'm not hungry.

http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-3f.shtml

Medium avatar

(0)

on August 16, 2014
at 12:21 PM

Interesting. Now I want to plant mongongo nuts.

Absolutes aren't paleo; they're Sith.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on March 25, 2014
at 08:38 PM

I agree completely, macs are supreme. Possibly the best nut there is (expensive like it too).

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on March 25, 2014
at 08:34 PM

Not hard to gather at all. I had an almond tree next to where I lived when I was a child and I would collect almonds by the bucket (almond trees are very prolific) and break them open with a rock and eat the seeds. Definitely worth it, especially since I lived in a third world country where food was scarce. Those almonds were amazing, I ate them by the bucket. For some reason I never took to gathering seeds from grass growing by the side of the street (grains). From personal experience your logic doesn't convince me, nuts are definitely paleo.

Medium avatar

(624)

on March 25, 2014
at 03:15 PM

I eat lots of macadamia nuts (average about an ounce a day) and rarely touch the others. Macadamia nuts are basically a clean fat source with a bit of micronutrition and very little antinutrition... Low in omega 6, low in phitic acid, and extremely low carb.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on March 25, 2014
at 02:59 PM

Bodybuilders don't eat for health.

To get the calories required for builking you need to make quite a few compramises. You pretty much have to go carb heavy, protein heavy, or chug oil. None are terribly appealing.

6b1ff7c892dc33287ea779e36b9a884b

on March 25, 2014
at 01:58 PM

Fruits and nuts are "paleo" and were recommended to me for bulking up.

6b1ff7c892dc33287ea779e36b9a884b

on March 25, 2014
at 01:56 PM

I guess it is true that everything is bad for you in some way, but that nuts are as bad/worse than some grains in this area should be much more prevalent in paleo literature.Phytates also inhibit pepsin and trypsin enzymes needed for protein digestion. I'd bet most newcomers do not limit nut consumption to a more Paleo-friendly couple of ounces, and they likely don't keep nuts separate (enough) from meals. I guess I should revise my statement in that nuts aren't Paleo in the context of how a lot of people use them (ex: for bulking up on paleo I was recommended to eat more nuts).

6b1ff7c892dc33287ea779e36b9a884b

on March 25, 2014
at 01:27 PM

I understand this aspect, but it in itself is enough to indicate that they should be limited even more than fruit (since they would be difficult to find and then get into without a lot of work). I'm no nut expert, but I do believe that a lot of preparation and timing goes into harvesting nuts. It's true that in nature you'd probably have only nuts when you did have them (due to the effort and time involved in their gathering).

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on March 25, 2014
at 07:20 AM

So, I'm thinking about getting some cricket bars. 20 crickets and 11.5 carbs in half a bar.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on March 25, 2014
at 01:49 AM

i know this much...larabars are not paleo

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10 Answers

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0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on March 24, 2014
at 10:19 PM

Not too educated on the topic, but here's my two cents.

Isn't there something wrong with every food? Quite a few foods have phytic acid, oxalic acid, gluten, phenoestrogens, ect...

If one was to eliminate any food with anything wrong with it, we would pretty much just starve...I've even seen things stating we should cook all dark greens - pretty much something everyone agrees on is still not ideally healthy.

I may be wrong, but doesn't phytic acid just inhibit the absorption of nutrients already in that food, for example like egg whites - which are paleo. Paleo just prioritizes out the things that everyone will do bad on no matter what, gluten, sugar, processed foods.

In your instance, maybe you do have an alergy to nuts...maybe you shouldn't eat them. But just because you don't tolerate nuts they're suddenly not paleo for everyone who can? I think not. This has already been demonstrated with things like dairy, legumes and even wheat. If properly prepared you can eliminate the negatives of the foods while preserving the nutrients. In phytic acids case I believe heat reduces them significantly in things like roasted nuts - very common.

Again not sure about anything I just said. Just playing the devils advocate. Don't hate me! :D

Edit: My actual view on nuts is, feel free to eat as many as your O3 levels will support as they tend to be quite high in O6. (I limit them to about 1oz a day personally and only because I need the Vitamin E they provide.)

6b1ff7c892dc33287ea779e36b9a884b

on March 25, 2014
at 01:56 PM

I guess it is true that everything is bad for you in some way, but that nuts are as bad/worse than some grains in this area should be much more prevalent in paleo literature.Phytates also inhibit pepsin and trypsin enzymes needed for protein digestion. I'd bet most newcomers do not limit nut consumption to a more Paleo-friendly couple of ounces, and they likely don't keep nuts separate (enough) from meals. I guess I should revise my statement in that nuts aren't Paleo in the context of how a lot of people use them (ex: for bulking up on paleo I was recommended to eat more nuts).

0
8c1162278d254ee13d8219198f09a3af

on August 15, 2014
at 03:47 PM

  
They are also in the same boat as grains in that large quantities would be unavailable in nature.

"Mongongo nuts are a staple diet in some areas, most notably amongst the San bushmen of northern Botswana and Namibia."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongongo_nut

Medium avatar

(0)

on August 16, 2014
at 12:21 PM

Interesting. Now I want to plant mongongo nuts.

Absolutes aren't paleo; they're Sith.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on August 17, 2014
at 11:09 AM

Ah, I just posted the same thing. Good.

Having just watched a National Geographic programme about them yesterday they have to crack every one open with a tool so not an easy task even though they manage to get 1300 calories a day from the nuts.

0
C9864d0c1807d2c1c49a3673cc949680

(10)

on August 15, 2014
at 08:33 AM

I agree with you. Mother nature designeg seeds to pass intact thrue our digestive track so it could return back to nature and grow. Nuts on the other hand would have been available to us only once a year so it would be impossible to eat them in large quantities especially if you have to crack the shell every time you want to eat it. That leaves fruit in the same category as nuts. They are only available once a year and people survived without them all year not so long ago. I am from Poland and believe it or not if it was not for imported foods apples wouls only come into season, crazy is it?

Also this foods seem to have a negative impact on my autoimmune condition and for that reason I try to limit them.

0
B5fb873f94766774e49a6f9d533a3223

on March 25, 2014
at 03:22 PM

You also have to consider the glycemic load each of these carry, nuts have a very low GI while processed grains do not.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 25, 2014
at 01:29 PM

Certainly nuts as a staple are not paleo or traditional. Nuts occasionally would be paleo. For all the talk of phytates and anti-nutrients, it comes down to the amount of necessary processing from plant to stomach. Nuts can be eaten raw and are digestible in reasonable amounts like that. You eat a wheat berry whole, you'll get back a wheat berry whole. Processing/cooking is essential for grain consumption. That's the difference.

Phytates, lectins, "excess" PUFAs… all are mitigated by dose. Nuts are not staple, nobody says they are.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on March 25, 2014
at 10:00 AM

Nuts are very paleo, from a historical point of view. Unlike grains, they have very hard shells, so they don't need to rely on antinutrients and outright toxins to protect them.

Ever seen an almond in its shell and tried to open it without tools?

6b1ff7c892dc33287ea779e36b9a884b

on March 25, 2014
at 01:27 PM

I understand this aspect, but it in itself is enough to indicate that they should be limited even more than fruit (since they would be difficult to find and then get into without a lot of work). I'm no nut expert, but I do believe that a lot of preparation and timing goes into harvesting nuts. It's true that in nature you'd probably have only nuts when you did have them (due to the effort and time involved in their gathering).

0
C20970d958352735e8dbbee6b75338bb

on March 25, 2014
at 09:59 AM

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0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on March 25, 2014
at 01:19 AM

I myself have trouble with nuts, and much prefer well soaked, well cooked beans. Nothing is really paleo or not paleo, specially vegetable foods as they all carry toxins, and as pointed out above, even some animal foods like egg whites and milk. The dose, the preparation, and the origin of the food all matter. For me, nuts not paleo. Beans, light varieties, soaked, cooked, one cup per day, paleo.

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on March 25, 2014
at 12:03 AM

I don't eat a whole lot of nuts / seeds, but when I do, I find they fill a nice gap in my diet. If I'm looking for a small snack, I'm usually looking for something with as low of carbs as I can find with a good amount of protein + fat + salt, where nuts / seeds easily meet this criteria while adding some trace elements and vitamins like thiamine or ALA (even vitamin E with walnuts and such.) A single brazil nut each day is as effective as taking a daily selenium supplement.

I might snack on some nuts / seeds twice a week or so, the same with dark chocolate. (Dark chocolate has much more of a problem with phytates.) I find cheese is good alternative snacking material (though, not if you can't digest cheese.)

The phytates could mess me up if I was consuming them all day, but it's generally done on close to an empty stomach for me where I'm not binding up a whole lot of minerals from my diet, and I'm not really needing all of the minerals made bioavailable from the nuts / seeds, as the rest of my diet is pretty packed with nutrition. If you really wanted to clean them up, you can soak / sprout / ferment / bake them as recommended by the Weston Price society.

0
10ec51c0e6e41939215a55316ad3d0b7

on March 24, 2014
at 10:39 PM

I think it's the quantity that matters. Nuts wouldn't be easily accessible in nature, but a serving is only 1/5 to 1/4 cup...just a handful. And this serving offers a good amount of nutrients (if soaked and roasted, which eliminates much of the phytic acid) and a bonus of protein and MUFA's. Another point is that nuts can be eaten raw, whereas grains must be cooked, in most cases, to be edible.

I agree that some people overdo the nuts, especially if they use nut flours. Just eating them sparingly is probably okay for most people. After reintroducing nuts, I haven't had any problems.

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