Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nuts Are A Healthy Snack For Low-Carb, But Not For Low-Fat Diets

It seems our friends in the UK really like their nuts! Could it be all those people who are livin' la vida low-carb?!

With British companies like GoLower appealing to the nut-lovers in that country and trying to break into the U.S. market with their incredible-tasting nut bars, the appeal of nuts has never been higher than it is right now, according to new statistics in this story.

In order to "embrace a healthier lifestyle," Britains have been buying up and consuming nuts, nuts and more nuts! Sales of nuts have soared by 600 percent in just the past year according to online British supermarket giant Tesco.

The fact that nuts are selling so well kinda flies in the face of the low-fat diet advocates. Because nuts are loaded with fat, they have been falsely labeled "unhealthy" by those who believe fat is bad for you.

But people who are enjoying a low-carb lifestyle know how important nuts are in a healthy eating plan because they are loaded with good fats and very low in carbs. I have personally consumed my fair share of almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and cashews over the past year or so. I didn't used to be a big fan of nuts, but I've grown to appreciate these natural delights even more since I started livin' la vida low-carb.

Demand for nuts has grown by 81 percent since this time last summer. Low-carb and the glycemic index plans are credited with creating this demand.

The nut buyer for Tesco said diets that encourage nut consumption make nut products "extremely trendy and appear on many people's diet plans.”

The story rightfully notes that "nuts are good for you" because they "contain vitamin E, folic acid which aids energy release from foods and minerals such as zinc that strengthen the immune system."

Borrowing from the popular milk slogan, "Nuts they do a body good!"

Loaded with protein, good fats and essential amino acids, the story said nuts can help prevent heart disease and breast cancer.

But I thought the Atkins diet was supposed to cause those things to happen! That's what people always say about low-carb programs. You can't get these healthy benefits from a low-fat diet because nuts are forbidden.

I really liked this quote: “Nuts are Atkins-diet friendly because they’re low in carbohydrates and they are also low GI foods – but then all protein foods are, like meat, eggs and fish. Nuts are a very good natural source of vitamins and minerals. The fat in nuts is unsaturated so it’s a healthy kind of fat. The fact that sales are up in nuts is great news for nutrition.”

WOO HOO! Somebody actually gets it! When you break it down, foods like nuts, eggs and fish are what the body was made to eat. All of these foods are part of a healthy low-carb lifestyle, too!

Even the British Nutrition Foundation hails nuts because they "promote a feeling of being satisfied and, therefore, potentially prevent weight gain.”

That's what the fat in the foods you eat on low-carb do for you. You don't get hungry and you tame your appetite while losing lots and lots of weight. It doesn't make sense to nutritionists, but it does work. Look at me 180 pounds later!

Here are some health benefits from eating various nuts:

ALMONDS - Reduces cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease
BRAZILS - Fights diseases and high in protein
CASHEWS - High protein and vitamin A content
CHESTNUTS - Low-fat and low-protein (not recommended on low-carb)
HAZELNUTS - Low-fat (also not recommended on low-carb)
PEANUTS - High-protein and contains vitamins B and E
PINE NUTS - Highest protein of all the nuts
WALNUTS - Great amount of phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E
MACADAMIA - Best-tasting nuts and are very low in carbs

So go nutty! They're legal on low-carb. Poor low-fatters. LOL!


Blogger Levi said...

Nuts are great, but I would just make one note here:

Peanuts are not nuts! They are legumes. Yes, they taste like a nut and in terms of macronutrients they are very similar to nuts, but they aren't. You may ask whether this is important or not. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Basically, in Protein Power, the Eades talk about something called "leaky gut syndrome." When certain types of foods (in particular certain grains like wheat and corn, and certain legumes like kidney beans) are ingested, for some people certain chemicals in these foods ferment in the intestine that can compromise some of the intestine wall, thus allowing larger plant proteins called lectins into the blood. The immune system fights back and attacks these proteins. The problme is that some of these lectins are very similar to proteins in the body itself, and so it's theorized that this is one factor in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritus, asthma, allergies, perhaps even Type I diabetes. It is curious that peanuts seem to cause such extreme allergies in some, and it appears wheat does as well. None of this is proven, of course, so I'd love to see some actual studies specifically about this issue.

Personally, I don't know if it's because of not eating wheat, or simply eating a low-carb diet, but my asthma has improved a great deal. When I moved to the DC area, my asthma (which had never been that serious but only activated by strenuous activity and/or very cold weather) started affecting me when I contracted colds. I started having difficulty breathing whenever I got sick and had to be on inhalers until the cold went away. But after switching to low-carb, that never happened again! I try to avoid grains of all kinds, as well as legumes, although I have heard that black soybeans are excellent for a low-carb lifestyle so I may start experimenting with that. As for nuts, I'm fine avoiding peanuts because I love almonds and really all kinds of nuts. I can get almond butter at stores in my area, and even cashew and macadamia butter. They are of course more expensive, but a lot of big-name peanut butters have been and many still are loaded with trans fats, so beware!

6/23/2005 2:58 PM  

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