Do You Eat too Many Nuts?

Nuts photo

When I first went primal in April of 2010 I ate a lot of nuts. I had a whole stash in my bedroom of almost every nut you can imagine. Nuts are nutritious, easy, convenient and cheap.

However, all nuts, except for macadamias, are full of omega 6 fatty acids. One of the benefits of eating according to the Primal Blueprint eating plan is getting as close as possible to the ideal omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio of 1:1.

If you eat a lot of nuts then your ratio is going to creep towards the danger zone that leads to inflammation. Read this post and this one to learn more about the nutrition content of nuts. I listed the omega 6 content so you can see for yourself.

Is It Right To Dismiss A Food For One Reason?

I am not sure. There are other reasons to avoid nuts but the most solid reason is the high omega 6 content. But, how do we really know what is an ideal ratio. I have heard that anywhere from 1:1 and 1:4 in favor of omega 6 is ideal. I also heard that the ratio has to be a lot higher in favor of omega 6 for any sort of inflammation to occur. So, what does one do?

Nuts are great with many foods. They add texture and color along with flavor and lots of nutrition. They can also be used as a substitute for wheat flour if one wishes to bake but avoid the harmful effects of grains.

Almond Meal

A lot of people who decide to eat a primal/paleo diet don’t stop baking. To be honest, this never made sense to me. I always felt all vegetables and just about all animal products (all meats and some dairy) were superior to nuts. I felt like people were eating copious amounts of almond meal which is not at all an ideal food. Is it better than wheat flour? Yes. But, again, the omega 6 fatty acid content can really add up.

If you wish to bake something then using a recipe with almond flour or coconut flour (my choice) is better than wheat flour. But, meats and veggies are still far superior in taste and nutritional value.

Mark Sisson, the creator of the primal movement claims to eat only macadamia nuts. He adds other nuts as a garnish to other foods occasionally. Why would he do this? I truly believe it is solely because nuts contain too many omega 6 fatty acids. He understands that too much o6 and too little 03 leads to inflammation. It’s more simple to eat less omega 6 than to eat more omega 3 because seafood can be costly.

Lots More to Come On Nuts, Omega 6, Etc.

I must admit, I was very tired while starting to write this post. I had no idea what I was going to type on my lovely MAC but nuts and their omega 6 fatty acid content came to mind. I don’t wish to bash nuts but if one is to avoid wheat completely then I believe that same person should place a threshold on how much nuts they consume unless they are macadamias.

I wish to learn more about nuts, omega 6’s, omega 3’s etc. and thus will blog more about these subjects in the coming weeks and months. Now, I turn it over to you. I love your comments as it adds content and can help more people which is what this blog is all about.

How many nuts do you eat during the week? Do you eat less now compared to before? What do you think about their high omega 6 content – worry or not worry? How many nuts is too much? Please share your opinions below!

Photo Credit

This post has been shared at Fight Back Friday blog carnival.

 

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Comments

  1. paleoish tom says

    I wonder if the same is true for nuts as it is for beef. Grain fed beef contains higher ratios of Omega 6 while a more sustainable grass fed beef contains higher Omega 3’s. I’m curious if the way nuts are produced raises the Omega-6 ratio due to the type of fertilization and farming techniques.

    • says

      Beef does not have that much polyunsaturated fatty acids to begin with so the ratio is not that big of a deal with beef. I go for grass-fed as much as possible for all the other reasons. Its simply healthier as the cows are fed there natural diets.

      You could be right – the way they are produced might raise the omega 6 content. But I don’t think it would make that much of a difference. One serving of walnuts has 10 grams of omega 6 which is absurd.

  2. says

    I try to buy nuts only once a month, since I have little self-control regarding them. :) I also don’t do much cooking with nut meals – I have a problem with “faux” baked goods. We do eat grass-finished beef and bison almost exclusively, as well as pastured eggs and wild-caught fish. And since we’ve given up all industrial oils and soy, I’m not nearly as worried about our 6-n3 ratios as I used to be.

  3. Gina says

    I have little restraint with respect to nuts as well. I probably should buy only a few macademias to limit my intake. However, my CRP is only 0.4 showing low inflammation. I wonder if nuts are OK for me, or if inflammation from too much O6 is not going to show up on the CRP.

    • says

      To be honest, I have no idea. But, no one needs nuts. What does your diet look like? Do you ever visit the MDA forum? If you post the question there then there is a good chance that you will get an answer right away.

  4. Stephen says

    I feel a little guilty, as I ate nearly a whole 150g bag of almonds today… They are very addictive. In terms of omega 6 content they’re not as bad as some nuts, but still significant- that binge alone would have laboured my body with about 15g of O-6 :(

    • says

      Damn thats a lot! We all have our moments though!

      Almonds are as bas as most nuts and seeds but I believe they have about 3.5 grams of omega 6 and very very little omega 3 – maybe .1 grams of that?

      • Stephen says

        Almonds are about 12% in weight O-6. Compared to 4% for macadamia nuts.

        Since the ALA variety of O-3 you find in nuts isn’t as uptake-able as the EPA/DHA forms found in fish oil, I wouldn’t have considered the O-3 content in Almonds to in any way balance out the O-6, even if it had significant quantities of the stuff :(

  5. mark says

    My favorite nuts are Organic, Raw Cashews. I don’t bother soaking them because I hear they are not as good soaked. In the summer I leave them out in the sun for a bit though.

  6. says

    whew. timely conversation for me! I just finished my first round of the whole30 last wednesday and I am already for another round. I am definitely still dealing with my “nut” demons. I love nuts and nut butters too much. short of traveling and other dire situations I am letting them go for the next 30 days with dried fruit (nice post on lara bars too).

    do people feel like macadamia nuts are as addictive as almonds or others?

    • says

      Congrats on finishing a whole30! If you think you can give up nuts and nut butters then go for it! It will surely balance out that omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio if you replace them with non heavy omega 6 foods!

      I love macadamias so I am sure they can be addictive. But, there is nothing but AWESOME fats inside along with vitamins and minerals!

  7. Elyse says

    I personally fall victim to eating nuts. I LOVE MAKING PROTEIN SHAKES WITH A SCOOP OF ALMOND BUTTER! I am a very active individual (crossfitter/crossfit endurance follower/ training for a 1/2 iron man) and I am always wondering exactly how many I should have per day? For example, this morning I woke up STARVING and I had probably 10 almonds and 1/2 a spoonful of almond butter with my coffee alongside two eggs, bacon, and a slice of avocado. Later on in the day I had a piece of cod with 5 almonds and a few walnuts. I plan to stay away from them the rest of the day, but plan to do some baking with almond flour tonight. Most of my diet consists of high proteins and vegetables, but I am worried about the inflammation part you speak of Toad. I constantly struggle with the question….How much is TOO much?! And should my allotment be different considering my activity level (6 days a week atleast 1.5 hours of high intensity exercise a day….15% body fat)??

    • says

      I don’t think you are eating too much. Especially since you are very active. I am actually going to do another nut post soon as I have decided to not worry about them as much as I have in the past. I prefer animal foods but they can be a nutritious cheap food source. The omega 6 content is high but if you eat about an ounce a day on average then I say you are fine. Just eat seafood if you can and supplement with a fish oil.

  8. cocobean says

    Wow! Glad to hear you have so much extra time that you waste it by saying shitty things to someone you don’t agree nor like. Feel free to send some of that extra time my way.

  9. Allie says

    Wow, that was really harsh and unnecessary. A pedantic person is someone that flaunts their knowledge or is “overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching” (dictionary.com). This does not seem to apply, the post merely seems to present his view point on the pros and cons of nut consumption. Additionally, ridiculous seems to be far more fitting a term of an individual that trolls on someone’s blog and leaves cutting remarks. Perhaps, if you limited your intake of refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and became attuned with the ‘simple’ process of eating properly you wouldn’t be so critical of others lives and appreciated your own more. I hope whatever has triggered such negativity subsides and you find some joy in life, sans trolling on the internet writing negative comments.

  10. says

    Nothing is wrong with me. May I ask the same of you?

    Fad you say? How can eating the way we ate for tens of thousands of years be a fad? Human beings have been eating the paleo way ever since we existed. It never stopped and never will. Its simple common sense really.

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