Dietary Fat: Good Nuts – Bad Nuts (Decalogue #1)

Decalogue #1. 
Know what you need, and know what you eat. 
Fat: Good nuts – Bad nuts

We need FAT in our food. It is essential.

Our body can build all the fat it needs out of the food that we eat, regardless of whether it is protein, carbohydrate or fatty in nature, with the exception of two kinds of fat. That means that if we don’t have them in our daily diet and in a sufficient amount, after a while we get sick and we might even die if this is for a prolonged period of time. For this reason they are called essential: Linolenic and Linoleic acid, (unsaturated fat), known as the omega 3 and 6.

Essential things to know about fat when you choose your seeds and nuts:

1. The ratio of omega 3 and 6 in the diet should be 1/1.

Otherwise they behave like bad fat (promoting inflammation instead of fighting it).  A ratio of up to 1/6 or 6/1 is still generally accepted as healthy.

Omega 3 and 6 are contained in the meat, fish and animal products. However only the ones coming from animals grown through traditional methods, grass fed, are close to the ratio mentioned above.

We can also find Omega 3 and 6  in the fat of the plants (their seeds and nuts) but most of the time they are in an unbalanced ratio and need to be combined when consumed to have an optimal intake.

Sample of Omega 3 to 6 ratios, for one serving/cup, raw seeds and nuts:

Peanuts: 1/5000 146g: 4.4mg / 22,711mg
Almond seeds:  1/2000 95g: 5.7mg / 11,462mg
 Sunflower seeds: 1/300 46g: 34mg / 10,602mg
Cashew nuts: 1/ 130 28g: 17mg / 2,179mg
Pumpkin seeds: 1/100 138g: 250mg / 28,571mg
Macadamia nuts: 1/5 134g: 276mg / 1,737mg
Walnuts: 1/4 117g: 10,623mg / 44,567mg
Flaxseed: 4/1 168g: 38,325mg / 9,931mg
Chia seeds: 3/1 28g: 4,915mg / 1,620mg

(Experts consider that a person needs 500 to 1,000mg up to 3,000 mg of omega 3 daily to keep healthy. However it is essential that this 500-1,000 mg make it to the bloodstream. So the quality and bio-availability of the fat is of crucial importance.)

2. Fat spoils fast – it oxidizes, becomes rancid and rancid/spoiled fat is highly toxic. 

(To understand this important process, try this easy experiment at home: keep a spoon of butter out in open air, under the sunlight, during a hot day, and notice the change. The butter will become rancid and highly toxic just after one day and you won’t be able to eat it, instinctively. Unfortunately, once the rancid fat has been mixed with other ingredients, for example in the processed foods, the body will not tell the difference and stops rejecting it, but that doesn’t make it less toxic.)

In animal fats the protection against rancidity is offered by the natural layers of the saturated fat with the unsaturated fat in the tissue. The saturated fat, which is more resistant to oxidation will protect the unsaturated fat, which is very prone to oxidize.

In the vegetable form, the unsaturated fat, including omega 3 and 6, is protected from oxidation by a very potent antioxidant, vitamin E. But once the fat is extracted from the seeds and nuts as oil, the vitamin E is almost totally removed in the process and the oil immediately starts to alter because fat gets altered fast in the presence of:

  • oxygen
  • light
  • heat

… and in time by intrinsic enzymatic activity and bacterias.

When we tamper with fat, we inadvertently affect its molecular structure. Depending on the degree and the amount of the fat affected and the amount ingested, this change can be very harmful to our health.

One important thing to remember when including nuts in our diet is the fact than by roasting whole nuts/seeds and exposing them to heat, vitamin E suffers a reduction of up to 80%. A part of the fat is also altered through the heating process and the remaining healthy fat is missing the Vitamin E protection against oxidation. More often than not, we actually trick our body into accepting the salted, roasted nuts and consume rancid, toxic fat.

How to detect rancid nut/fat:

  • raw nuts become translucent or darker in colour, have unpleasant oily taste and a bad, heavy smell.
  • roasted nuts are more difficult to evaluate by look and taste. (It is best to consume home roasted nuts. Eat them immediately after the roasting process.)

nuts - big view - title

In conclusion:

Nuts and seeds in their natural, raw form and preferably soaked and/or sprouted, can be a good source of dietary fat provided that they are in the right ratio and fresh, not already spoiled. The spoiled nuts are not only lacking the nutrients found in fresh nuts but also potentially carcinogenic (cancer causing). Their disintegration products (aldehydes, ketones, and hydrocarbons) are highly toxic.

Nuts and seeds should be eaten in small, cautious amounts, carefully combined, so you get close to the ratio of 1/1 of omega 3 and 6. By soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds we make sure that all that is ingested is also digested and not simply eliminated through the stool.

Soaking should be done for 24-48 hours. The water needs to be changed at least twice a day and in hot climates, after 12 hours, the soaking process should be continued in the fridge.

Nuts and seeds are best consumed sprouted. This ensures that the seed/fat is viable and safe, and the digestion is optimal. nuts - one almond - title

Top choices when buying nuts/seeds:

  1. in their shell
  2. raw, packed under vacuum
  3. raw, in an airtight container
  4. roasted, packed under vacuum

Check the label for the expiry date. Choose organic if you can (because toxins and poisons that plants and animals are exposed to, like insecticides, pesticides, etc, tend to accumulate in the fat).

Pay attention to the nuts and the seeds that you eat, choose the best that you can find or stay away from them.

Know everything you can about your dietary fat.

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3 thoughts on “Dietary Fat: Good Nuts – Bad Nuts (Decalogue #1)”

  1. Very good article explaining basics on nuts! There are many shops selling rancid expensive products, so it is important to identify those and stop buying from them.

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