Are nuts okay on the vegan diet?


Dr. Esselstyn essentially says no nuts for vegans-is very leery.

Dr. Campbell has nuts on his approved list - "The China Study" -omits peanuts?

As a very new vegan-whats with nuts? Peer reviewed scientific studies..

Bob Vining,
Owen Sound, Ontario

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi Bob! I can see why you're confused. Let's chat it up and see what conclusion we can come to. :)

Dr. Esselstyn treats heart disease patients and actually helps them to reverse their heart disease with a low-fat vegan diet. He doesn't exactly say "no nuts" to everyone. What he does say is:

"For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable."

Dr. Campbell promotes eating nuts (and seeds) in moderation. I really like this interview with Dr. Campbell where he discusses various dietary topics -- here is what he says specifically about nuts:

"Different plants offer different kinds of nutrients. The stuff that’s in the tubers and the roots, is really loaded with starch – like potatoes – because the plant is storing energy for the next generation. So, we need that kind of energy, we eat the roots. We can also get our energy from other forms of storage – I’m thinking of nuts and seeds. They are pretty high in fat, and that’s a form of energy, so some of that is just fine. And then, at the same time, the really big bang for the buck is to eat the part of the plant that’s colored – the green, the reds, yellows and stuff like that."

I imagine he disuades people from eating peanuts simply because they are a highly allergenic nuts -- many people are allergic or sensitive.

PCRM, the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, recommends nuts and seeds as part of a balanced vegan diet. However, they recommend using nuts mixed in other dishes or used to make sauces (as I do here), rather than simply snacking on them since it could lead to eating too many (especially if you're not paying attention and snacking mindlessly). I imagine they would be fine with measuring out your nuts (such as 1/4 cup) before snacking so when they're gone, you're done with the snack. :)

Okay, so what about nuts and weight gain? Nuts might be a good fat for those of us without heart disease or high cholesterol, but don't nuts cause us to gain weight? How much is too much, in that regard?

Check out the video below by Dr. Greger who pretty much puts an end to the argument that nuts cause weight gain. The video is incredibly interesting, and I encourage you to watch it in its entirety (but for those who are in a rush, jump to 9:07 for the bottom line).

As he states: "The evidence is stronger than ever that the consumption of nuts does not lead to the weight gain one would expect."








In the end, I believe that nuts (and seeds) are an important addition to a healthy vegan diet for many people because they provide healthy fats in a whole food form. If you're overweight or have heart or high cholesterol challenges, then you may want to avoid them (and I encourage you to study the work of Drs. Esselstyn and McDougall). Otherwise, eat nuts in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced vegan diet.

I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. And I absolutely welcome constructive feedback from anyone reading this! :)


Comments for Are nuts okay on the vegan diet?

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Excellent
by: Anonymous

Excellent handling of this question! I was confused as well and now with your concise answer feel much better informed and also have the option to explore further with the links provided.

Thank you very much for taking the time to thoroughly cover this topic.

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Yes!
by: Sassy

You're most welcome. Thanks for letting me know that it has helped. Enjoy your day. :) xo

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Good discussion
by: Bob J.

This was very interesting, and puts the nuts/fat thing in a good perspective. There is a growing body of evidence that the relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease is not as strong as thought. In fact, after several decades of cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart disease has increased. When you factor in the damage caused by statin drugs, it begins to look like another money-grabbing effort by big pharmacy/big medicine.

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Drugs
by: Sassy

Hi Bob!

Great to hear from you, and thanks for your response. Wanted to just make a comment about this...

"In fact, after several decades of cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart disease has increased."

Since most people on cholesterol-lowering drugs continue to eat a diet filled with animal products, I imagine that is the reason heart disease continues to increase. But that's just a guess. :)

Great point about the drugs. It always bowls me over to think of all the drugs that enter the "market" that haven't been thoroughly tested, as well! Sheesh.

Hugs!
Sass

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Yes!
by: Anonymous

I agree 100%! Too many people would rather put a "band aid" on something than actually take responsibility for their health and make changes to live healthier. Thanks for all you do!

Bob J.

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nuts ARE vegan
by: tuttle

Seems to me the confusion exmplified by this question just points out how needlessly complicated some people are trying to make veganism. Of COURSE nuts are all right on a VEGAN diet: They are not an animal product. Period.

Whether they are a "healthy" part of a vegan diet is what the original questioner was really after. The answer supplied was great in that respect. But bottom line, the definition of veganism makes it clear itself.

I think a lot of people don't not-eat-meat because they get hung up on all the (optimal) qualifiers, the organic, fresh, whole, do-it-from-scratch, grow-your-own mindset. I'm all for it, but it just doesn't have to be that stringent.

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How to eat with the nuts and still lose weight?
by: Beth

Thank you for all the nut good news. What I would like to know is what was eaten in addition to the nuts in a vegan diet? What portion sizes? Does it matter if the 3 handfuls are eaten all at night, some put in puree vegetable sauce in addition for desert.... a waffle with 1/4 cup wheat bran, 1/4 buck wheat plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rolled oats. ... a handful of nuts, maybe some blueberries, 1/4 to 1/2 cup soy milk and water. ... I'd like to lose about 10 pounds. I can eat a whole bag of broccoli with carrot, celery puree... throw over the sauce lots of kale. (no meat at all... now eating, tvp, tempeh, seitan... 3 oz in one portion. I love plain wild rice... sometimes 1/4 - 1/2 cup for dinner. Am I o.k. here?
Thanks again, Beth

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Wonderful Page!
by: Anonymous

Like many others, I've long been confused about the good Doctors' (Esslestyn and Campbell) view of nut consumption. Thanks so much for taking the time to research, and summarize. The video is also excellent. (As I'm sure you know, an even more recent large study, Harvard and Indiana Universities, reconfirms the video's message. New England Journal of Medicine, Nov 2013.)

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Ideas for Beth
by: Sassy

Thanks for the reference to the new studies. Awesome. :)

And Beth, my darling, I would say you are eating an amazing diet! Mixing it up, hitting the food groups. In my weight loss course I recommend eating no more than 2 servings of fruit/day for weight loss (a serving is 1/2 cup or a piece of medium fruit). Concentrate on beans and dark green leafies. Eat whole grains, but cut down on those you eat later in the day; they're so jam-packed with energy and we just really don't need that much energy as our day winds down.

Hugs!
Sass

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heart desease
by: Anonymous

According to Dr. Eselstnye(miss spelled) because of the American Diet, everyone at a mature age of 20, has heart desease, autopsy's of war deceased young men heart desease was found. Fat is fat, even avacado's are 14%saturated fat. Those of us that prior to having a heart attack, exercised, fish, chicken basic supplements, etc. After becoming a follower of Dr. Eselstnyes program, cholesterol 115, average 110/72, no colds, no sickness of anykind over past 4 years, but is extremely difficult when I see your receipts (drooling) and cannot use them.Coming to light the substitutes for cheese, meat, etc are coming under a lot of fire,processed

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Nuts and Flaxseed
by: Bernard

Wow, Sass, your timing is excellent! I've been wrestling with the nuts/flaxseed dilemma for the past thirty days with no clear resolution. On the one hand, Dr. McDougall states that nuts should be reserved for "special occasions." Dr. Greger says that eating nuts actually lowers overall cholesterol as well as bad cholesterol while raising good. And that nuts are excellent for a good Omega 3 to 6 balance and that eating handfuls a day does a body good. After eating the McDougall Diet for 4 months, my cholesterol level went from 172 to 146. At this point I'm very hesitant to do anything which would put my cholesterol level back over 150. So for myself, this was an excellent topic to bring up at this time. Thanks, Sass. What a great web site you have! You cover all of the bases!

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Peanut story in "The China Study"
by: Anonymous

Just a quick comment re: the peanut story in the China Study. The author was not against eating peanuts, he was against peanut butter as it is often made with old mouldy peanuts and it is this mould that is carcinogenic and was found to be problematic in his studies. The author is pro any plant foods including nuts. :)

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Yaaaaaa nuts,
by: Zumbachick

I'm not a vegan or even a vegetarian but I'm a very healthy eater whose diet consist (95%) of veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. So glad I can keep nuts in my diet. Walnuts each morning in my fruit salad along with pumpkin seeds and chia gel...yum. Love almond, pecans, and many more. Thanks for so much useful info.

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