Nuts May Help Prevent Death

Nuts May Help Prevent Death
4.94 (98.75%) 16 votes

Just a few small servings of nuts a week may increase our lifespan and lower cancer risk.

Discuss
Republish

We’ve known “[i]ncreased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including [heart disease and diabetes].” But do those who eat nuts actually live longer lives? “Clinical trials have shown” nuts help lower cholesterol and oxidation, and improve our arterial function, and blood sugar levels, but does this all translate into greater longevity?

Researchers at Harvard “examined the association between nut consumption and subsequent…mortality” of over a hundred thousand people, followed for decades. In that time, tens of thousands died, but those that ate nuts every day lived significantly longer. Daily nut consumers had fewer cancer deaths, heart disease deaths, and fewer deaths from respiratory disease. And, this was after controlling other lifestyle factors. So, nut consumers lived significantly longer whether they were older or younger, fat or skinny, whether they exercised more or smoked, drank, or ate other foods that may affect mortality.

But, nuts are so filled with fat. “There may be a concern that frequent nut consumption can result in weight gain.” However, that’s not what they found, and, in fact, other studies have associated nut consumption with a slimmer waist, less weight gain, and lower risk of obesity. If you look at all the studies put together, it’s pretty much a wash. Diets enriched with nuts do not seem to affect “body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference” much at all.

Just for a visual, this is one of the most recent such studies, in which subjects were told to add either zero, 70, or 120 pistachios to their daily diet as quite an afternoon snack, every day for three months, and the results looked like this. Can’t even tell which line is which—whether they were eating no nuts, or over 100 a day. Hence, it appears, the incorporation of nuts—around one or two small handfuls a day—would be advisable to ensure various health benefits, without the risk of body weight gain. And, what was nice about this review is that there were no apparent ties to the nut industry.

How nuts do we have to go? Not much. Just a few servings a week may boost our lifespan and lower cancer rates. But, it appears we have to keep it up. In the PREDIMED study, when long-time nut eaters were told to cut down on eating nuts, or choose extra virgin olive oil, within five years, they apparently lost much of their longevity benefit. Only the group that started out eating nuts, and continued to eat at least the same amount of nuts, had the significant survival advantage.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

We’ve known “[i]ncreased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including [heart disease and diabetes].” But do those who eat nuts actually live longer lives? “Clinical trials have shown” nuts help lower cholesterol and oxidation, and improve our arterial function, and blood sugar levels, but does this all translate into greater longevity?

Researchers at Harvard “examined the association between nut consumption and subsequent…mortality” of over a hundred thousand people, followed for decades. In that time, tens of thousands died, but those that ate nuts every day lived significantly longer. Daily nut consumers had fewer cancer deaths, heart disease deaths, and fewer deaths from respiratory disease. And, this was after controlling other lifestyle factors. So, nut consumers lived significantly longer whether they were older or younger, fat or skinny, whether they exercised more or smoked, drank, or ate other foods that may affect mortality.

But, nuts are so filled with fat. “There may be a concern that frequent nut consumption can result in weight gain.” However, that’s not what they found, and, in fact, other studies have associated nut consumption with a slimmer waist, less weight gain, and lower risk of obesity. If you look at all the studies put together, it’s pretty much a wash. Diets enriched with nuts do not seem to affect “body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference” much at all.

Just for a visual, this is one of the most recent such studies, in which subjects were told to add either zero, 70, or 120 pistachios to their daily diet as quite an afternoon snack, every day for three months, and the results looked like this. Can’t even tell which line is which—whether they were eating no nuts, or over 100 a day. Hence, it appears, the incorporation of nuts—around one or two small handfuls a day—would be advisable to ensure various health benefits, without the risk of body weight gain. And, what was nice about this review is that there were no apparent ties to the nut industry.

How nuts do we have to go? Not much. Just a few servings a week may boost our lifespan and lower cancer rates. But, it appears we have to keep it up. In the PREDIMED study, when long-time nut eaters were told to cut down on eating nuts, or choose extra virgin olive oil, within five years, they apparently lost much of their longevity benefit. Only the group that started out eating nuts, and continued to eat at least the same amount of nuts, had the significant survival advantage.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to The Daily Meal

Doctor's Note

For more on nuts and heart disease, see Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering and How Do Nuts Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?

For more on nuts and cancer, see Tree Nuts or Peanuts for Breast Cancer Prevention?

For more on nuts and inflammatory disease, see Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell.

For more than you ever wanted to know about nuts and weight, see Nuts & Obesity: The Weight of Evidence.

What if your physician tells you to not eat nuts because you have diverticulosis? Share this video with them: Diverticulosis & Nuts.

Those 100 pistachios a day may have one side effect, though; see Pistachio Nuts for Erectile Dysfunction.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

146 responses to “Nuts May Help Prevent Death

Commenting Etiquette

The intention of the comment section under each video and blog post is to allow all members to share their stories, questions, and feedback with others in a welcoming, engaging, and respectful environment. Off-topic comments are permitted, in hopes more experienced users may be able to point them to more relevant videos that may answer their questions. Vigorous debate of science is welcome so long as participants can disagree respectfully. Advertising products or services is not permitted.

To make NutritionFacts.org a place where people feel comfortable posting without feeling attacked, we have no tolerance for ad hominem attacks or comments that are racist, misogynist, homophobic, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate. Please help us to foster a community of mutual respect. Enforcement of these rules is done to the best of our ability on a case-by-case basis.

  1. People who eat a plant-based whole foods diet are already protected from the diseases presented here. Same goes for decreased mortality. So can nut consumption do even more for a person who’s already eating healthy or will nuts give them no greater edge? I’m aware of a study that showed improved health for people on a Mediterranean diet who substituted nuts for olive oil, but is there a study out there that compares people on a healthy vegan no added oils, plant-based whole foods with and without nuts?




    0
    1. Fats are most important for brain health, as the brain even manufactures some cholesterol. It’s important not to have a fat-free, or even very restricted low-fat, diets. Studies have shown that calcium in milk is not as bioavailable in fat-free milk as it is in whole milk! The myth that fat is bad has to be displaced in medicine and healthcare. BAD fats, e.g., trans fats-margarine-hydrogenated, chemically-extruded polyunsaturated fats which usually are rancid and produce carcinogenic factors when cooked with or eaten, and highly-marbleized animal fats, especially when charbroiled (PAHs), are the culprits.
      Years ago MDs and RDs denounced avocados as ‘bad’ fats; same with nuts. I remember those days as I fought against such nutritional ignorance. Today those foods are promoted as healthy heart foods, and rightfully so.
      That’s why organic seeds, nuts, and fat sources like olives and avocados should be important staples in any plant based diet.




      1
      1. I agree with this fact and we should no more motivate absolute fat free diet for anyone and encourage to have a diet with SFA and PUFA in 1:1 ratio as well as PUFA and MUFA in the same ratio




        1
      2. I don’t consume oils or copious amounts of nuts or avocados. I do eat chia and flax regularly, and when I make hummus I use tahini. You would probably consider my diet “very restricted”. However with that my fat consumption is about 12-18% of my total calories. I don’t see how this could be considered unhealthily low. I’m not concerned with lowering it, but I wouldn’t want it to be any higher certainly.

        When I hear the words “fat free diet” I cringe a little, and always think back to a post by Jeff Novick, where he lists all the fat percentages of certain foods: kale 12%, romaine lettuce 14%, oatmeal 16%, strawberries 9%, etc. There’s no such thing as a “fat free diet”.




        1
        1. I’ve done an 80-10-10 macro nutrient diet before. I lasted for about eight months on it, and the excess pounds just fell off. You can do it, but it means no added oils and a tablespoon of flax with everything else being greens, grains, vegetables, fruits and mushrooms. At the end of the day you might have some fat budget left over to have a few walnuts or almonds. It was difficult at first, but it will really up regulate your sensitivity to added oils, and down regulate your desire for them. When you go out to eat, everything will taste like its swimming in oil.




          1
          1. Hi Joe, I don’t disagree that an 80-10-10 diet is healthy, I just don’t happen to follow it myself. I do omit oils from my diet and don’t eat very many nuts at all; and yet my fat % is higher than 10%. Because my diet is whole foods-based, varied, and made nearly entirely of what you mentioned, greens, grains, vegetables, fruits (though also lots of legumes), I don’t feel the need to “chase” any particular numbers. I go with nutrient density and variety and let the %’s fall where they may.




            0
        2. I am doing exactly the same, flax, chia, and hummus made with tahini on occasion. Avocado on occasion but only 1/4th, I have 4 members in my family so each of us gets 1/4th. I have experimented with adding nuts to my diet, based on videos like this one, which of course raises my fat intake to well over 20%. All I get is extra fat around my mid-section. I am 46, though, so maybe that’s why, maybe if I was in my 20s or 30s I would not get the fat gain. I like to maintain a lean waistline so I see no reason to add the nuts to my diet. I’ve heard Dr. Fuhrman say that a diet 30% in fat can still be a healthy diet, as can a diet 15% in fat or 20% in fat, however, he says a diet 10% in fat is not a healthy diet. I guess that’s one of the areas where he breaks from Dr. McDougal, because McDougal believes a diet 10% in fat can be healthy. I have no idea who is right. Personally I like to err on the side of caution, and since I do well at the 15% range, give or take a few percentage points, I will stick with it..




          0
    2. I would love to see a study which compares the whole foods plant based vegan population who do and do not consume nuts and/or avocados. Sadly, it is a pretty sparse demographic with a reputation for an above average prognosis. I don’t know who do such a study unless they were the control group in a study comparing them to omnivores.




      0
    3. Yes, this is also my question Jack. I love Dr. Greger’s site, but I have never understood his pro-nut position, since most plant-based doc that I follow suggest a strong caution with nuts due to their incredibly high caloric density. Like you, I wonder about whether nuts would be beneficial or not to me in that I am currently eating low fat, plant-based due to cardiac concerns and am following the Esselstyn diet. I am concerned that introducing nuts would be going backward. I would like to see a nut trial done on two groups of whole food plant-based eaters.




      1
      1. Same here. I am a Esselstyn diet follower but because I did a test and my arteries are clean I use just few walnuts (4-5) and couple of Brazilian nuts every day. I do use Flaxseeds a lot though. I wonder why these nuts would be beneficial to the heart when Esselstyn saw regression of arteries diseases only when someone would steer clear from any foods containing high fat content otherwise not regression was shown. Makes me wonder. Always confusions. Because with my extremely low intake of nuts and seeds, not oils and not fatty vegetables my blood test is perfect, my Pulse Wave Analisys test show to have a arteries of a 22 years old (I am 40) I think will stick to what I have been doing.




        1
    4. I’m concerned about the pasteurization of almonds. Are other nuts treated this way also. What about roasted almonds and what can we do about it.




      0
        1. The issue of pasteurization of almonds isn’t addressed in the video you sent me. With all of the almond milk and almonds being in the top 5 nuts, I think it should be looked into. There’s a great deal of info on the internet about it.




          0
    1. Because nuts are high in fat and cause weight gain if over consumed just like every other food – why are nuts magical of all things? Most studies controlled the weights of the patients so they didn’t gain weight. Very misleading.




      0
      1. Not one of them talks about weight gain, they speak about Heart Disease and Diabetes prevention instead. So if they believe high fat content of any kind will increase chances to incur one of these diseases why promoting nuts?




        0
    2. Esselstyn and Ornish advise coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis) patients. They recommend that those patients eschew (which means, of course, “not chew”!) nuts because of their fat content; they believe that fat of any kind should be very limited for CAD patients.




      1
    3. Yes, this is the question I have. I am trying to reverse heart disease and am a runner so I do eat nuts not a lot but a small amount to help with my training… but if the nuts are so good why are they not good to use in reversing heart disease as you have pointed out in the M E and O works on reversal……????? BTW the WFPBD is a wonderful journey and lifestyle plan…. I feel like a million bucks!!




      1
        1. Nuts, like other high fat foods, can be a trigger for acid reflux– which can be mistaken for angina or other heart pain. My partner, without known CAD, is very sensitive to reflux, and has difficulty with nuts. (Ironically, he would actually like to gain weight.) Might it be that some of Esseslstyn’s patients who report angina when they eat nuts/avocado/olives could be experiencing reflux, rather than renewed angina? The question might be difficult to answer. Perhaps distinguishing between chest pain that occurs shortly after occasional nut ingestion and chest pain after an extended period of nut eating might be suggestive.




          1
      1. to reverse heart disease nuts are not on ornishes or esselstyns list of foods, it is difficult to get the total fat down to 10% of dietary intake if nuts or avocados are consumed, or dairy, it is the 10% reduction that reverses heart disease, reading ross hornes experience with pritikin, he figured that after 2 years on a 10% low fat,low sugar, the arteries begin to unload the plaque, read ross hornes book “you can do better than pritikin.”also what reverses an illness may also prevent it.




        2
        1. I’m about to post the text below to my Tumblr. Your post inspired it:

          Is it really the 10% fat content of the Ornish/Esselstyn diet which causes the regression of arterial plaques? Or is it, instead, the type of fat eaten that makes the difference rather than the fat percentage?

          Or…

          Is it actually the reduction of LDL and inflammation of a whole foods, plant-based diet that reverses the disease process?

          Revelatory research done by the Cleveland Clinic with high dose statins (80mg) and intravenous ultrasound (IVUS) gives us the answer:

          Coronary plaques were verified with IVUS to shrink when LDL was lowered to 60 mg/dl or below. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of the statins contributed even further to the reversal process. Even more plaque improvements were made with blood pressure reduction and blood sugar control in diabetics.

          Of course, they could have tested a WFPB diet, too, but what can one expect from a medical profession which has so little faith in supporting lifestyle change as the answer for most patients in a pill-popping culture and an obesegenic environment? These drug trials and IVUS technology at least confirm that actual atheroma regression is FACT, not fiction. Nor is it mere vegetarian/vegan propaganda. And that’s VERY exciting!!

          So how does a whole foods, plant-based diet reverse coronary vascular disease AND reduce cardiac mortality?

          (1) Dramatic reduction of LDL.
          (2) The anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties of copious and synchronous phytochemical compounds such as salicylic acid and others in their natural state, plus the absence of inflammatory endotoxins from animal foods.
          (3) The blood flow enhancement of nitric oxide generated by leafy green vegetables (a process which is augmented, btw, by sun exposure).
          (4) Lowered blood pressure lessens the constant physical trauma to arteries.
          (5) Natural blood sugar control and increase in insulin sensitivity.
          (6) Weight reduction further contributes biochemically to the decrease of endogenous saturated fat, LDL, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammation.

          So this begs the question about the percentage of fat in the WFPB diet. Obviously, the less total fat in the diet, the less LDL-raising saturated fat there will be in the body. However, it seems that the inclusion of whole food polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat sources like nuts, seeds, and avocados may help lower LDL and inflammatory CRP’s even further [possibly speeding up atherosclerotic regression], as mentioned in this video by Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

          http://youtu.be/mdxVfi632Xw

          Drs. McDougall, Mills, and Esselstyn also weigh in on the subject.

          Dr. Fuhrman expounds further in this video clip:

          http://youtu.be/x38WyAVTvYk

          Of course, it’s Drs. Ornish and Esselstyn who have the clinical studies behind them, but my personal lipid panel seems to favor Dr. Fuhrman’s and Dr. Greger’s approach…

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/low-fat-or-whole-food/

          Your mileage may vary.

          BTW…

          IVUS is fascinating technology. Unlike thallium stress tests or angiograms which are two-dimensional and really show just blood-flow, intravenous ultrasound is 3D and images the actual plaque itself! IVUS reveals the amazing reason a person can have a heart attack days or weeks after plaques have NOT been detected by current diagnostic imaging in common use:

          Plaques begin by growing outward first before they ever encroach on blood flow inside the artery! Unstable plaques can kill without a single visible stenosis. Can you say Sudden Cardiac Death?

          Check out the Cleveland Clinic videos on this subject:

          Intravascular Ultrasound Insight into the Pathophysiology of Coronary Disease
          http://youtu.be/YfeCB-GHMvc

          Factors Driving Progression and Regression of Coronary Plaques
          http://youtu.be/7CHuHPtIHBs

          New Targets for Anti-Atherosclerotic Therapy
          http://youtu.be/4K3lv5tOCA0

          Caveat: The HDL-raising drug mentioned in the 3rd video was pulled by the manufacturer due to increased mortality.

          GO PLANTS INSTEAD!!!




          2
          1. hi macsmiley great post very interesting, just like to add one thing, according to essestyn and ornish, also I believe, the ldl in low fat vegans can be not very low, esselstyn says “because the total fat is so low ( below 150 is the magic number) the hdl does not need to be so high to control the ldl. they also used to notice less white blood cell activity, this was a concern until it was realized? it is animal products that have a greater need for more infection control with all the added toxins, I do not have the link to this, any of esselstyns talks should reveal it, especially his talks with dr hans Diehl…




            0
            1. I’ve heard that HDL doesn’t have to be high with low LDL. But doctors in practice don’t seem to be comforted by this. It surely doesn’t hurt to raise HDL with exercise and healthy weight loss, lowering triglycerides, since there is a relation to TG and HDL, especially with metabolic syndrome.

              As for white blood cell activity, I couldn’t be sure on that. Since CVD is an inflammatory process, I assume less LDL in one’s artery walls would equate to a reduced need for WBCs.

              Anyone else with expertise who can comment on this?




              0
      2. Q, As I understand, Dr. Esselstyn asserts that all oils damage the endothelial cells that line our vasculature and produce nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator that increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Below are links to some interesting reading on endothelial function and nut consumption, from which you may draw your own conclusions about eating nuts. Happy you are feeling great on WFPB diet. Don’t look back, keep it up!

        https://circ.ahajournals.org/content/115/10/1285.full

        http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1649S.full




        0
          1. No problem. In case you haven’t seen this, here’s Dr. and Mrs. Esselstyn at their best imho:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6pLRdawBw0

            When Dr. Ess talks about ‘strengthening the cap on your plaque,’ I’m pretty sure he’s referring to ‘laminar shear strength’ discussed in this article:

            http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/18/5/677.long

            BTW, in trying to provide an intelligent answer to your question, I have learned a great deal myself. Thanks!




            0
    4. My doc told me to avoid nuts also, but it was not about fat–rather rancidity. I have to say I can’t dispute this, unless you get the nuts fresh from their shell.




      0
  2. Most nut studies (sponsored by nut industry) controlled people’s weight during the study. So if they started gaining weight, they cut back on their calories. And then we say nuts don’t cause weight gain. See how that works? As scientists do we think calories ie energy from nuts disappears magically in the body?




    0
    1. Will, you are correct re the disappearing calories act. However, ( and it may have been shown in the study ) if the same caloric content was supplied as oil in place of nuts, the weight gain would probably have been noticed. Hence, the ‘magic’ of nuts and their little fibrous bodies.




      0
      1. We need to be a little skeptical here. the nut eaters also consumed more fruit and vegetables

        baseline , Med +OO, Med+nuts

        Nuts, g/day 0, 4.9 ± 2.3 , 25.7 ± 14.4
        Veg, g/day 317 ± 144, 329 ± 145, 355 ± 149
        Fruit, g/day 344 ± 200, 354 ± 195, 407 ± 204

        all p<0.001

        On the other hand total caloric intake was highest for Med +nuts

        Total energy intake, g/day 2,060 ± 529, 2,222 ± 514, 2,416 ± 537

        no info on weight gain but I did email the authors.




        0
    2. I believe it was Dr. Fuhrman who said that not all of the nut/seed is digested by the body, and thus not all of the calories are absorbed. What is undigested is eliminated in the stool.




      0
    3. You are correct about the RD’s in those studies adjusting calories to offset nut consumption. Nuts, because they are so calorie dense, tend to addictive. For tens of millions of years primates had to struggle to get enough calories to survive. This food scarcity left us with a hardwired instinct to get as many calories as we could whenever available. Overeating nuts adds way to much fat to the diet. Most of that fat is N6 and as that N6/N3 ratio tips further pro-inflammatory cytokines ensue. They are OK if you can limit yourself to 1 or 2 ounces daily. If you can’t, skip them. Seeds like flax and chia would be a far better choice being very high in ALA.




      0
      1. I agree. I skip nuts altogether and only consume flax, chia and pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin will not screw up your N6/N3 balance, they are 4-1 N6 to N3. And as a weightlifting male I benefit from the high zinc levels in pumpkin seeds. Also pumpkin seeds are 21% protein, the highest of all seeds/nuts.




        0
        1. Hi Ben, by my calculations, the omega 6:3 ratio in pumpkin seeds is about about 175:1. Did you calculate the 4:1 ratio yourself or read it somewhere?

          Walnuts do have a ratio of 4:1 if you happen to enjoy those.




          0
          1. I checked two sources for the omega 6:3 ratios for pumpkin seeds and I got 114:1 and 168:1, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that you are not going to improve your ratios with them regardless of whatever the actual numbers are.

            Where pumpkin seeds really shine is their magnesium content because it a common mineral deficiency and its arginine content because it may boost your bodies ability to burn fat. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fat-burning-via-arginine/

            There are favorable ratio of omega 3’s in green leafy vegetables, but if you really want to boost your omega 3 ratios, I don’t believe flaxseeds can be beat, and one tablespoon a day will cover you.




            0
          2. Yep, you are right, thanks for the correction. I am eating them very sparingly, though, so they still don’t disrupt my omega 3/6 balance and my total fat % is still at around 15%. Thanks again for the correction.




            0
        1. The reason, IMO, that the people did not gain weight on the nuts or lost weight on the nuts, is because the nut consumption improved the quality of their diet. These are just mainstream folks in these studies, consuming a SAD. I know from personal experience, adding handfuls of nuts to my diet will only put extra fat around my waistline.




          0
          1. We all react differently to foods, of course. The operative word here may be handfuls (plural) versus carefully measured amounts.

            One of my most used kitchen tools is my OXO food scale which helps me not only manage my caloric intake but, just as importantly, my finances by controlling my serving sizes.

            My initial weight loss came from a financially lean period whereby I ended up measuring serving sizes to get the designated number of servings off the Nutrition Facts panel from my boxes of shredded wheat and whole wheat pasta! :-D




            0
    4. Sorry for double posting that link. When first posted, the comment shows directly underneath yours. But later on, when you come back to the page, the comment drops to the bottom of all the replies. Disqus has no delete button.




      0
    1. Even better benefits from seed consumption. Dr. Fuhrman has long advocated seeds over nuts as the ideal choice. Furhman says we should consume G-Bombs every day. G (greens) B (beans) O (onions) M (mushrooms) B (berries) S (seeds).




      0
        1. Fuhrman says so for two reasons. #1 seeds are more nutrient dense then nuts. #2 easier to maintain ideal ratio of omega 6/3. Anyone who knows anything about Dr. Fuhrman knows he does a good job of evaluating the latest science.




          0
          1. I would say Dr. Fuhrman does a great job in making pointless generalizations which are obviously not based on latest science but on… whatever.




            0
        2. I don’t really consider Fuhrman a “low-fat” guy. He’s as gaga for nuts and seeds as McDougall is for potatoes. He is against oil, but I think that’s more an issue of the low nutrient density than the fat content. And even then, he says it’s fine to eat it (or any other of the non-recommended foods) as long as it amounts to less than 10% of your calories.




          0
  3. Best part: Your body really thrives on a mainly plantbased diet – and a bonus: You live longer! What many people misunderstand: WFPD is NOT about missing something, but gaining something – energy and well-being.




    0
    1. Is it the omega 3 in nuts or some other ingredients the provide the benefits? Dr Esselstyn avoids nuts for cardiac patients, other may have some. Ditto for McDougall, Barnard, Novick (1 oz/day). Most limit fats to 10% of calories on their low fat, Whole Food, plant-based diet (low salt, oil, sugar). Walnuts would be the healthiest nut due to their 4:1 omega 6: omega 3 ratio, but flaxseed even better (1:4), plus other benefits. Studies done on healthy Whole Food, low fat, plant-based vegans seems lacking, so hard to compare different populations….Mike




      0
      1. Its probably not the omega-3:omega-6 ratio of nuts, because with the possible exception of walnuts (1:4), the ALA:LA ratio of nuts is mostly poor. Peanuts are equally effective in mortality reduction, and their ALA:LA ratio is a terrible 1:500.

        Its more plausible that nuts are functioning as a magnesium and vitamin E supplement, as deficiencies of these two nutrients are widespread, and nuts are fairly good sources. However if this is their primary mechanism wheat germ may offer similar benefits with fewer calories.




        0
  4. IMO, while adding nuts to the average diet seems to have benefits, adding them to a low-fat, low-protein 80/10/10-style vegan diet may be detrimental. In comparison to fruits and veggies, nuts have higher protein thus should raise IGF and nuts contain more PUFAs which are prone to oxidation.




    0
      1. For me personally, a fruit & veggie diet reduces cholesterol level the most. The addition of beans increases it slightly. Olive oil raises it more. Meat & dairy, the most.




        0
  5. I think there is much less of a true debate surrounding nut consumption than there appears to be in the WFPB diet world. Esselstyn, McDougall, Furhman, Greger, and Barnard all maintain that 1 oz of nuts or seeds daily is fine.

    There are variations on a theme: Furhman essentially requires 1 oz daily, Greger appears to condone a slightly higher amount (“1-2 handfuls”), McDougall has doubts about whether people can practically limit themselves to only 1 oz at a time, and Esselstyn forbids them to the segment of the population actively trying to reverse CVD.

    So for anyone who doesn’t have active heart disease, eating 1 oz nuts or seeds daily is condoned pretty much across the board.




    0
    1. b00mer: Just to add to your excellent post – Even Jeff Novick who did the “From Oil to Nuts” DVD, going into great detail about the problems with nuts (calories and too many omega 6’s) says right there in that video that 1-2 ounces of nuts in the context of a healthy whole plant food based diet is fine.

      I feel that sometimes discussions nuts are really distractions from the main diet issues that face us.




      0
      1. Tone and attitude is everything in a message. I believe all the current research in favor of the health benefits of nuts and seeds should make each and every one of these doctors encourage nuts and seeds in their preferred doses, not just allow them or discourage them with exceptions, and that includes Dr. Esselstyn’s cardiac patients. They are missing out on some extremely cardiac-beneficial nutrients.

        Roasted or raw (and peanuts should be roasted), recommending nuts in their natural state while discouraging oily, salted nuts is not such a hard thing to do. Drs. Fuhrman and Greger do it all the time.




        0
        1. MacSmiley: I need to give your post some more thought in order to form a personal opinion, but I wanted to thank you for your post as it is certainly a legitimate thought. Thanks.




          0
    2. Dr. Fuhrman recommends nuts and seeds even to those with active cardiovascular disease. However, he discourages snacking or eating out of the bag.

      I take umbrage at Drs. McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn’s openly-admitted lack of faith in the self-control of their patients. It takes away “the locus of control”, as Dr. Esselstyn likes to say, away from the patient. If he can get the NO OILS message through to people, he can communicate ONLY ONE OUNCE OF NUTS just as well.

      It’s very easy to measure out an ounce or a quarter cup of nuts. Avocado is more challenging to measure, but not impossible.




      0
    3. But Fuhrman is really unique because he says a diet 40% in fat can still be a healthy diet. I am not sure any of the other doctors would agree with him on that. But he might be right, who knows. I think you would have to really increase your veggie consumption to make a 40% fat diet work, though, and most would probably not want to consume that many veggies day in, day out. That’s a lot of chewing, of course, you could use the blender to help out with that.




      0
  6. I think the title of this should read, “Nuts May Help Postpone Death.” Because if they actually prevent it, then this is your most awesome video ever!! :-)




    0
    1. Alessio: Great article. Thanks for sharing.

      My thoughts: I don’t think it necessarily contradicts Dr. Greger’s viewpoint. Dr. Greger might recommend more nuts and seeds than Dr. McDougall, but neither of them would recommend a diet based primarily on nuts and seeds. And Dr. McDougall does talk about the nutritional benefits of nuts/seeds. McDougall is just concerned with the fat content and people eating too much. That’s my take-away anyway.

      Thanks again for the article. I liked it.




      0
      1. I once did a diet based on nuts, seeds and oil. It was a raw foods diet. I would make these labor intensive meals. I experienced rapid weight loss, too much actually, and I started experiencing brain fog. I was probably consuming about 80% fat. My only carbs were from the limited fruit. I wonder if I was in that ketosis state? Well, everyone said I looked terrible, emaciated. That was many years ago, though. You live and you learn. Now I don’t trust diet philosophies. Give me the science.




        0
  7. Interestng phrase,

    Nuts May Help Prevent Death
    Can death ever actually be prevented? I know what you mean though. Thanks for the awesome videos and information.




    0
  8. Arg. I’m so confused. Nuts have high levels of AGEs (glycotoxins), which you’ve talked about as bad, but now nuts are supposedly good! Haha. Do I embrace my heavy peanut/almond/cashew/walnut snacking or not?




    0
    1. Don’t worry. Be happy. Eat an ounce a day, plus a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseeds. Explore different kinds (but keep Brazil nuts down to 1-2/day so as not to OD on selenium). Your heart and other parts will thank you. ;-)




      0
  9. I’m confused as well. Esselstyn and Ornish have successfully used a low fat vegan diet to reverse coronary arterial disease (CAD) in which they eliminated oils and restricted nut and seed consumption. Eliminating or at least severely restricting oil consumption is probably a very good thing. It’s difficult not to take these results lightly because most of us have been eating the SAD diet so most of us have arterial plaques, and would benefit from disease reversal that that the Ornish/Esselstyn diet have delivered. That being said, nut and seed consumption is not necessarily problematic.

    What concerns me is an article published in vegsource.com by Jeff Nelson, who advocate the afore mentioned diet, reviews 22 studies that were funded by the nut industry and concludes that nut consumption does cause weight gain.

    The article is “Nuts & Weight Gain: It’s Worse Than We Thought”
    http://www.vegsource.com/news/2012/08/nuts-weight-gain-its-worse-than-we-thought.html

    I like nuts and seeds as part of my whole plants vegan diet, and eat them daily, but I do keep a close eye on my total calorie intake, fat intake and composition and percentage of calories consumed. Ideally, I would like to stop calorie counting, but my weight is stable, and I have not great desire to eat outside the parameters that I have set for myself because I find my diet to be satisfying. Actually, with the inclusion of nuts, seeds and avocados, I find my diet to be down right decadent…




    0
  10. I wish all the freaks here would shut the fuck up. if you don’t do high output physical activity, nobody gives a shit what your gimp ass has to say about your shitty eating regime.




    0
  11. Thanks for the info. Also pumpkin seeds are great at providing zinc. But with most of us consuming a lot of beans maybe zinc is not a concern. But with male athletes sometimes low zinc can be an issue.




    0
  12. Can you clarify the health benefits of eating nuts? I watched your video that mentioned that Kaiser Permanente is promoting a plant based diet ( AWSOME) In their brochure that outlines the plant based diet, it said that ” people with heart disease may want to avoid or limit nuts, seeds, and other fats and oils”. Is this just their version on the diet?, which is great, but are nuts ok for people trying to reverse CAD.




    0
  13. Seems like Dr. Greger is pro nuts for our diet. The arguments he makes for nuts can be made for fatty meat. He is evolving to the dark side.




    0
  14. During my university studies the mycotoxin content of nuts have been stressed and therefore it was advised against nut consumption. Longterm intake of even low doses of mycotoxins can have detrimental effects on health.
    My question to Dr. Greger would be: How can the putative positive effects of nut consumption be reconciled with the knowledge that nuts are likely to be contamined with mycotoxins (even if they cannot be always seen with the naked eye).




    0
  15. So what is the best way to eat nuts?
    Should they be soaked and then eaten?
    Should they be dry roasted and eaten?
    Or should they be soaked and then dehydrated in the oven for 24 hours or until dry and then eaten?




    0
    1. Raw! You can soak if you want, many people do. I just eat them raw seems to do the trick. Lightly roasted is fine, too.




      0
  16. “Nuts May Help Prevent Death”
    ???
    That’s a pretty bold claim. Nuts might help me live longer, but I seriously doubt they’ll help me to live forever.




    0
  17. I was watching one of Dr. Gregers videos where the first 20 minutes cited studies showing vegetarians and vegans were not living longer than meat eaters. Turns out it was the high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio from using processed oils. So my question is, why are nuts different since most are very high in omega 6 fatty acids. Doesn’t this have the same effect on the ratio. Is it even the ratio at all or what food source causes the imbalance. I was hoping for clarification before adding nuts to my diet




    0
    1. Hi Rick,
      There’s a lot more to whole nuts than their constituent oils. For instance, nuts are high in fiber, antioxidants, lignans and are a good source of the amino acid arginine, which is a precursor to nitric oxide (which in turn is a vasodilator critical to maintaining healthy blood flow to the heart, skeletal muscles and other organs). This is almost certainly why nuts show such dramatic health benefits that aren’t seen with vegetable oil alone.




      0
      1. Thank you for your response, I understand all the other benefits of nuts but Dr. Gregers specific point in his video was that vegans and vegetarians with high omega6 to omega 3 ratios were showing similar mortality rates to those who ate animal products. So considering the high level of omega6 in nuts are you saying these other properties of nuts somehow mitigate those effects or change the absorption in the body of omega6 from nuts




        0
        1. Rick Hearn: I can’t speak to your particular theory (though I do believe that is at least partially correct.) But I have a thought for you: The issue about omega 3 to 6 ratios is more about overall daily consumption of the essential fats as opposed to how much is in a single bit of food. Dr. Greger does recommend nuts and seeds in his Daily Dozen, but only 1/4 cup whole or 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) nut butter. I haven’t done the math (nor used cronometer), but I’m guessing that In the context of a whole plant food diet that consists only of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen (including the flaxseeds!), the over all omega 3 to 6 ratio in the diet that day would be pretty good. After all, greens and other veggies have a very good 3 to 6 ratio. Also, the ratio could be especially good depending on the nut or seed chosen. What do you think?




          0
          1. What I think is that I don’t know, that is why I was hoping Dr. Greger could clarify this since it was his original video statements that raised a red flag for me. I researched the ratios the other day and walnuts are the only nut with a decent 6 to 3 ratio of 4:1. The others are in the thousands to 1. You should watch the video if you haven’t. It was quite the eye opener for me. It’s on you tube, called 40 year old vegan dies of heart disease. Also look up the amount of omega 6 in nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans, brazils. It’s high.




            0
            1. Rick: I’ve watched the video a couple of times. I agree that it is a good talk. I just think it doesn’t matter what the ratio of a nut is if you are having say (to exaggerate to make a point), one almond that day and the rest of your intake for the day is heavily weighted toward omega 3s. Your ratio overall for that day would be just fine. That’s just my understanding. I hope you get the answer/clarity you are looking for. This is a question that many people share.




              0
              1. The thing is Dr. Greger is not recommending 1 almond a day but more like a small handful/or a few ounces. This ends up being a lot of omega 6. However I think I just found the answer over on Mark’s daily apple. Apparently the vitamin E and polyphenols in the nuts prevent oxidation of the linoleic acid (omega 6) and that prevents the problems that come from getting to much omega 6 from processed oils which oxidize easily.




                0
                1. I thought the problems with having too much omega-6 fatty acids are:-
                  1) omega-6 causes inflammation in the arteries
                  2) omega-6 blocks the conversion of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA to EPA and DHA.
                  If one takes EPA/DHA supplements, then the second problem is not a problem,
                  but the first problem, inflammation, still remains.




                  0
                  1. Hendrik: Omega-6 is an essential fat. This means that humans must get omega 6 from our diet or we will not be healthy. It’s not good to have too much omega 6, but it is important to remember that omega 6 is an essential part of every human’s diet. There was a poster not too long ago who was worried that she was not getting *enough* omega 6 following the Daily Dozen except excluding the nuts. I think you can probably get enough omega 6 without the nuts, but an ounce of nuts make it a lot easier to meet our likely omega 6 requirements.
                    .
                    I know you are responding to Rick Hearn, and I assume he will respond back. I’m not attempting to come between your talk. I just thought I would give you something to think about.




                    0
                    1. Thanks for the comment Thea;- I take your point that omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in our metabolism (so dosage becomes the question). My comment above was for the context where the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is too high, which it seems can happen if you have too many nuts of the wrong kind. It’s very easy to eat more than an ounce of nuts.




                      0
              2. I found the answer on another website. Apparently the vitamin E and polyphenols and some other compounds in nuts keep the linoleic acid ( omega6) from oxidizing which is what causes the problems with processed oils since they oxidize easily especially when heated,




                0
        2. Hi Rick,
          Do you have a link to the video to which you are referring? I’d have to see it before addressing your questions in more detail.




          0
            1. Well first of all, this video is 13 years old — look at all that hair!!! :) . From everything I’ve seen and read by Dr. Greger since then, including his new book How Not To Die, he is very much “pro-nut” based on the gobs of research data that have been published in recent years showing that they dramatically decrease risk of an early death. *IF* we maintain adequate omega-3 (preferably from combination of omega-3-rich sources such as walnut, flax and preformed DHA/EPA from algae oil) and do our best to avoid extracted oils in general (whole food, whole food, whole food), I don’t see any reason to obsess about the n-6 to n-3 ratio when it comes to nuts.




              0
  18. Are there any studies on the effects of antinutrients in raw nuts and seeds? Do any of you have personal experience?




    0
  19. If, for some reason, I had to eliminate all nuts and seeds from my diet, what foods would represent alternative and sufficient sources of the vitamins and minerals in them?




    0
  20. I’m a vegan and I usually eat some nuts everyday – almond, walnuts and pistachios – probably about 1oz in total. I also have a handful of pumpkin seeds daily. I’ve recently read a report saying that this means I could have a too high intake of phytic acid which will inhibit absorption of certain minerals ,ie calcium and zinc – the very reasons I’m eating them. Should I soak them before I eat them (yuk!), does roasting help? Confused!




    0
      1. Thanks Thea. I tried to find related posts before but didn’t realise (doh) that phytic acid and phytates were the same thing. Feel much happier now I’ve read more about them!




        0
  21. I can’t manage to find too many studies on the health effects of different kinds of seeds (ex. pumpkin, sesame and sunflower. There’s plenty on flax and chia) and wonder if they should be regarded like nuts (or nutbutters like tahini) or if they have any other health benefits.




    0
  22. Doc, I find it interesting that the participants who continued eating nuts had the significant survival advantage – compared to switching and eating EVOO. Perhaps the oil continued to do damage to the endothelial cells in the arteries, shredding them, and ultimately, aggravating and inflaming them, and thus jarring plaque – causing more heart attacks – and perhaps death. It would be most helpful to hear whether those folks had died of heart attacks.




    0
  23. This 16 years Raw Vegan developed artery disease and a stroke and it was attributed by Dr. Esselstyn to his high consumption of nuts and nuts butters. Doctor Greger will be great please if you could get int touch with Dr. Esselstyn and clear up this confusion. Would be great for all the world Vegan Community.

    Here is the video in question:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbrYzjRjfe4




    0
  24. Can somebody comment on the extremely high Omega-6 content of nuts and peanuts? I was appalled when I just found out that peanuts have 22,711 mg of Omega-6 fatty acids, almonds 11,462, and cashews, 2,179 (all raw). I have always heard about the health benefits of consuming nuts, but I have also heard over and over about the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. With a few servings of nuts and some oils throughout the day, that would put your Omega 6 consumption through the roof and leave no hope to catch up with Omega 3. How can this be?




    0
    1. raymondgeorge: You are right about the high content of omega 6’s in nuts and oils. Because nuts and seeds have so many health promoting related studies, Dr. Greger does recommend a single serving of nuts a day in his Daily Dozen – no more than 1/4 cup whole seeds or 1/8th cup/2 tablespoons nut butter. Dr. Greger does not recommend any oils.




      0
  25. Dr. Greger and Staff,

    Can someone please comment on what is the best way to eat nuts and seeds; 1) Raw, 2) Roasted, 3) Sprouted or 4) Sprouted & Roasted.

    Thank you for all your great work!

    – David




    0
    1. DavidG123: If you look up the topic of AGEs on this site, you will see that ADEs are bad and that AGEs are mostly in animal products. However, it’s my understanding roasted nuts are pretty high AGEs also. So, better to eat raw nuts/seeds from that perspective. You can also research the topic of sprouting on this site. In general, sprouting increases the nutritional value of the nut/seed. I would put this all together and say that the most nutritious way to consume would be raw and sprouted.

      However, a bit of perspective is in order. There are several pages on this site which cover studies showing the health benefits of nuts. It’s my guess that those studies did not use sprouted nuts. So, even if raw+sprouted maximizes benefits, it’s not worth stressing over if doing raw+sprouted is inconvenient.




      1
  26. Hi All,
    Did any of this studies distinguished between roasted to raw nuts?

    What do we know about roasting nuts regarding our health?

    Thanks,
    Ron.




    0
  27. Over the years I’ve heard various bad things about peanuts. E.g. they can contain weird contaminants and bacteria that are potentially harmful to our health. Is this true? hype? only an issue if they are raw? I’ve been avoiding peanuts for years because of this (despite my love of peanut butter), which isn’t terrible as there are lots of yummy nut butters out there (almond, cashew, etc), but it would be nice to know for sure. Thanks! (LOVE this site!)




    0
  28. As one of the moderators for NutritionFacts.org, I’m glad you find NutritionFacts.org site beneficial. You asked about peanuts. I found this article which you may find helpful in evaluating peanuts: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/nuts-may-help-prevent-death/#comment-275226 However, you should also be aware that compared to other nuts, peanuts may not be as powerful in fighting cancer as others and they are higher in fat. Regarding contaminants the one of most concern is aflotoxin which is not such a problem in the USA. See http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/aflatoxin-peanuts




    2
    1. I forgot to thank you earlier! Sorry about that, and thank you! I got your reply and it was very helpful! I had been completely avoiding peanuts. Now I’m enjoying them (and peanut butter) as an occasional treat. Cheers!




      0
  29. aloha, a question: some advocates of the whole foods plant-based diet say NO nuts. Due to the saturated fats. This can affect arterial function and cholesterol. Advise.




    0
  30. I have spend the last hour figuring this “nuts and avocado’s are bad for you” stuff out. It didn’t make sense to me because I started being vegan thanks to Dr. Fhurman and Dr. Gregor who don’t share this thought. But then I thought Dr. Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have had such succes in treating their patients…I wanted closure on the subject.

    Finally I thought about the Godfather himself, the man who started all this research with his landmark The China Study; Dr. T. Colin Campbell from Cornell. And I was not dissapointed by how clear cut his opinion was on the subject… In his article evidence on nut consumption and human health he goes so far as to call Dr. Esselstyn a reductionist for dissaproving the healthy fats from nuts and advocado’s! And he compares this behaviour to those who use the same reductionism to promote dairy… I think Esselstyn’s just got terminated…

    I should have known Esselstyn was full of it when he warned against nuts and seeds and then goes on to suggest eating flax, chia and walnuts, which are…. nuts and seeds…




    0
  31. Who can help me; have brown almonds, and other nuts and seeds, apart from flaxseeds, being ground and baked in a low-carb bread, lost their healthy qualities? Have their fatty acids been changed?
    And if so, is it healthy to eat it this way?? Looking forward to a response!




    0
  32. Greetings Tineke! That is a fantastic question. You might find this interesting: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0606959. Digestive is a complicated process, but it is my understanding that eating foods as mother nature created them is absolutely optimal. We were designed to digest and absorb foods near their original state within an appropriate time lime. That being said, not everyone can handle eating food raw all of the time (I cannot!) and cooking,baking, or soaking does help some of us with the digestion/absorption process. So yes, changing the nut or seed by soaking them in water or grinding them or baking them does change the chemistry of the food slightly and our ability to use that particular food.

    I do not believe ground seeds or nuts have lost their healthy qualities, but the accurate statement might be- what are your overall patterns? I throw pumpkin seeds into my homemade whole grain buckwheat biscuits all of the time! My blood work looks good so I am doing something right:) Thanks again for such a great question!




    1
    1. Thank you very much for your reply Deborah!

      I agree with you that not everyone has the same digestive capacities ( or need ) of raw food.
      My stomach and bowels like cooked vegetables e.g., better than raw.

      I am now experimenting with soaking and grinding nuts. If that does not work well with me, I go back to baking them in a (delicious) granola or bread.

      Thanks again and many healthy and tastfull dishes,

      Tineke




      0
      1. Dear Deborah,

        I was thinking about your wholegrain buckwheat bicuits… sounds good. Do you use sugar or dates syrup or something else like that in them?
        If you use no sugar but something else, I would love to see your recepy!! ;-)
        Could you please write it down for me, if so?
        Thank you very much!!!

        Greetings from
        Tineke




        0
        1. Hi! I use dried currants, honey and organic canned pumpkin. Use honey to taste- 3 different whole grains and follow the usual template for muffins.
          I use an iron “biscuit” skillet. Eggs are not necessary, but will also work within the recipe. Ground flax seeds or chia seeds or walnuts, etc. And of course, baking powder! Any kind of plant based beverage with zero added sugar. Hope that helps :)




          0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This