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In the Nuthouse about Best Choices

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 21, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Can someone please explain why so many Paleo sites list Macadamia Nuts and Cashews as the most desirable and Walnuts as the least desirable? For instance, Whole9 lists Cashews, Hazelnuts & Macadamia Nuts as "best", Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachios & Pecans as "occasional" and Walnuts as "limit". When I do a comparison on Omega-6s to Omega-3s in each nut (1 oz serving, data from USDA nutrition database), the best ratios are English Walnuts (4:1), , Macadamia Nuts (1:7), Chestnuts (1:8) or Black Walnuts (1:16) ... and then way down the list Pecans (1:21), Hazelnuts (1:90), Cashews (1:125) and Almonds (1:1987). What other info is playing in to the ranking of nuts? As I see it, if you're going to grab a handful, you're best off with the nut and / or seed with the higher Omega-3 content, right? Of, is the Omega Conversion Pathway the missing link, e.g., degradation in conversion of ALA to DHA? Thanks ...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 23, 2013
at 11:48 PM

Exactly. Though some folks do hoover up the nuts.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 23, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Same point as with Matt. Mass "trumps" individual ratios at the end of each digestive day.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 23, 2013
at 10:39 PM

The obsession with ratios usually ignores a metabolic mass balance. You eat a handful of the "wrong" nut. But over the rest of the day you eat a lot of sat fat. At the end of the day you've eaten 100g of sat fat and 2g of PUFA. Where's the problem? Your body doesn't sort them into little piles for separate digestion.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on January 22, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Yes... Macknz.. That's what I was saying above. O6=Polyunsaturated. So you want the least 06 and the most Saturated.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on January 22, 2013
at 06:00 AM

+1 - Also in personal experience, mac nuts are the only ones that don't stall my weight loss, even when dealing with the same cals and carbs, any other nut stalls me out, and I think it is a sat fat issue.

4cb421de97f1e33b1a56dee7cf009f32

(15)

on January 21, 2013
at 11:05 PM

Thanks, and your point is a good one. But since nuts are high in O6 and part of eating Paleo / Primal is to bring O6:O3 ratios closer to 4:1-5:1 (vs 10:1-20:1), shouldn't the O6 content be a factor in the nut hierarchy, perhaps along with protein content?

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5 Answers

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 23, 2013
at 07:08 PM

You could obsess over total PUFAs and PUFA ratios, but just eat real food and don't sweat it. Nuts are real food. When you get into oils (not whole food, though mostly real), then you can analyze to your heart's content.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 23, 2013
at 11:48 PM

Exactly. Though some folks do hoover up the nuts.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 23, 2013
at 10:39 PM

The obsession with ratios usually ignores a metabolic mass balance. You eat a handful of the "wrong" nut. But over the rest of the day you eat a lot of sat fat. At the end of the day you've eaten 100g of sat fat and 2g of PUFA. Where's the problem? Your body doesn't sort them into little piles for separate digestion.

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 23, 2013
at 06:43 PM

Things like hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, and macadamias have much more monounsaturated fat than polyunsaturated. So even though the ratio of 6 to 3 is high, the total polyunsaturated content is low (compared to mono).

Walnuts are fairly high in 3 compared to other nuts, but they still have a lot of 6. (Far more 6 than 3, in fact, and unlike the nuts above, walnuts are mostly poly.)

Kind of like the scenario that's often used to show percentages versus absolute amounts:

Would you rather have 99% of my money, or 2% of Donald Trump's money?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 23, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Same point as with Matt. Mass "trumps" individual ratios at the end of each digestive day.

1
06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

on January 21, 2013
at 10:55 PM

You're thinking of it wrong. Has nothing to do with Omega 3s. You want the most saturated fat and the least polyunsaturated. So, mac nuts win every time.

4cb421de97f1e33b1a56dee7cf009f32

(15)

on January 21, 2013
at 11:05 PM

Thanks, and your point is a good one. But since nuts are high in O6 and part of eating Paleo / Primal is to bring O6:O3 ratios closer to 4:1-5:1 (vs 10:1-20:1), shouldn't the O6 content be a factor in the nut hierarchy, perhaps along with protein content?

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on January 22, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Yes... Macknz.. That's what I was saying above. O6=Polyunsaturated. So you want the least 06 and the most Saturated.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on January 22, 2013
at 06:00 AM

+1 - Also in personal experience, mac nuts are the only ones that don't stall my weight loss, even when dealing with the same cals and carbs, any other nut stalls me out, and I think it is a sat fat issue.

0
A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

on February 19, 2013
at 07:11 PM

Agreed with some of the other answers in that "it's not about high Omega-3". Part of this in my experience is from having purchased bag after bag after bag of rancid walnuts. Ugh.

I am thinking because Omega-3s are so fragile that walnuts by definition are the most delicate of all nuts regarding shelf life, so for now I'm just leaving them on the shelf and out of my GI.

0
69d24654933b57b6c0bac5a32717f0eb

on January 22, 2013
at 04:07 AM

This website has a good list of the total PUFAs in different nuts and their 6:3 ratios.

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