When it comes to nutrition, there is an unlimited amount of opinions, myths, and misinformation out there. While we truly believe that one diet or way of eating does not fit all, we want to address some common myths about nuts!
After all – we don't want you missing out on these nutrient-dense, satiating, and brain-boosting snacks over worries that they are hard to digest, high in fat, or too high in calories. Let's bust these nutrition myths and get into the truth about nuts – they are one of the most nutritious snacks you can reach for, whether in the form of our delicious energy bites, or single ingredient nut butter!
Myth 1: Nuts are high in fat and calories, and therefore unhealthy
Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats! Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6. Studies have shown that these fats are beneficial for cognitive health and development, healthy skin and hair, reducing inflammation, and can help to lower risk of heart disease (amongst a multitude of other functions in the body)! Almonds in particular have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol, and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol!
One thing about polyunsaturated fats is that they are less stable than monounsaturated or saturated fats, and therefore at risk of oxidation. However, the fat in nuts is protected by thick cell walls that contain high amounts of vitamin E and other plant based compounds that prevent oxidation of fat.
Fats also provide your body with energy – 9 kcal per gram to be exact! Fat, fibre, and protein are key when it comes to enjoying a balanced and satiating snack that will keep your blood sugar level stable. As found by the Nut Research Group, consuming 1-2 servings of nuts (30 - 60 g) per day will not affect body weight.
So, while it is true that nuts are high in (healthy) fats and calorie-dense – this is actually good news. Nuts provide many essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy!
Ready to get snacking? Try our 4 ingredient organic energy bites now – choose from almond, pistachio, hazelnut, or coconut!
Myth 2: Soaking or activating nuts is necessary to obtain nutritional benefits
You may have seen recommendations to soak nuts in order to reduce phytic acid concentration. Phytic acid is a naturally occurring substance that (when found in high concentrations in food) can bind to certain minerals during digestion, removing them from your body. As a result, phytic acid is sometimes referred to as an “anti-nutrient”. But, as it turns out, phytic acid also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties! (1) Emerging scientific studies have found that phytic acid could help to reduce cholesterol, and help to stabilize blood sugar levels as well!
As this recent study found, soaking whole nuts was not effective in reducing phytate concentration, while soaking chopped nuts actually reduced phytate concentration and mineral content. Overall, there was no nutritional improvement or evidence to suggest that soaking nuts would improve their nutritional profile. Last but not least, the amount of phytic acid found in nuts is not significant enough to cause any mineral deficiencies. In fact, nuts are a nutrition powerhouse and one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat!
Myth 3: Nuts are difficult to digest
It was once recommended that individuals with diverticulitis should avoid nuts – but there remains no evidence that nuts cause diverticulitis. In fact, nuts are a great source of fibre, which is essential for gut health and digestion!
Fibre, in combination with polyphenols and lipids that are found in nuts, is a perfect prebiotic to help support a healthy gut microbiome. (3) More research is needed in this area, but early studies have shown that almonds and brazil nuts have prebiotic effects!
In terms of phytic acid and digestibility – this study found that nuts are well tolerated, and soaking nuts to remove phytic acid had no effect on gastrointestinal tolerance. (4)
Myth 4: Raw nuts contain more nutrients than roasted nuts
A common misconception is that roasting nuts will drastically change the nutritional profile of nuts. However, roasted and raw nuts have a very similar nutritional profile – with fat, carbohydrates and protein remaining almost unchanged. Because the roasting process does remove water content and reduce the weight, there is slightly more fat and calories per gram in roasted nuts.
Roasting nuts at low temperatures also helps to ensure that healthy unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and micronutrients remain intact.
Another question to ask is – are the nuts dry roasted or oil-roasted? Peanut, sunflower, vegetable, and canola oil are frequently used for oil-roasted nuts. These hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils contain unhealthy trans-fats. Dry roasting means no oils have been added to the roasting process. Whenever buying nuts, or products made with nuts, be sure to read the ingredients and make sure they haven't been roasted with any unhealthy oils.
For a heart-healthy choice, opt for dry roasted nuts instead! All of the nuts used in our snacks and single ingredient nut butters are dry roasted at low temperatures to ensure optimal quality. Roasting nuts also destroys any harmful bacteria – which is one of the reasons why we opt for roasted nuts over raw.
Where do these nutrition myths stem from?
It is possible that some of the nutrition myths about nuts come from peanuts – which are not technically a nut, but actually a legume.
Peanuts have a very high ratio of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats to omega-3, which can cause inflammation in the body. Consuming a diet with a ratio of 1:4 (omega 3: omega 6) is optimal! Peanuts have also been found to contain aflatoxin, which is a carcinogenic mold.
As a brand focused on quality ingredients with nutritional value, we don't and will never use peanuts in any of our products.
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