In this week’s episode of The Whole View, Stacy and I share recent science showing that there’s actually zero benefit to soaking or activating nuts. Surprised? I was too. So, here’s the history.
When I wrote The Paleo Approach, I discovered that there was lots of science showing that soaking, sprouting or fermenting grains and legumes could reduce antinutrients; but, there wasn’t a single study evaluating whether or not there was a similar benefit for nuts. In fact, I wrote at the time: “It is commonly postulated that soaking nuts in salted water and then drying them improves digestibility, reduces enzyme-inhibitor activity, and decreases phytic acid. This has not been documented in the scientific literature, but anecdotal accounts suggest that many people can tolerate nuts that have been soaked and dried even if they do not tolerate raw or roasted nuts.” So, when listener Venessa asked a follow-up question to Episode 413 – The Gut Health Benefits of Nuts about whether soaking/activating nuts could reduce digestive issues, I went back to the literature to see if there were (finally) any studies. There were! And, they didn’t show what I would have guessed!
So this week, Stacy and I summarize why it was reasonable to think that activating nuts would have reduced phytates, but then dive into four very recent studies that show the opposite! Yes, for some nuts, soaking actually slightly increases the phytates! Don’t worry, it’s a small difference, about 5%. What this science tells us is that soaking doesn’t improve the digestibility or nutrient bioavailability of nuts, but that it’s okay to soak nuts in the fridge if a recipe calls for it.
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Recommended Reading and Listening
- TPV Podcast Episode 188: Paleo-Friendly Bread
- TWV Podcast Episode 413: The Gut Health Benefits of Nuts
- How Gluten (and other Prolamins) Damage the Gut
- Worse than Gluten: The Agglutinin Class of Lectins
- 3 Myths About Legumes — Busted!
- The WHYs behind the Autoimmune Protocol: Eggs
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