Lose The Nuts

Yes, I said lose the nuts! They are, on average, saturated fat. Avocados and coconut as well are high in saturated fat. You will read many articles that say the fats in nuts, avocados and coconut are healthy fat. I’ve heard people quote research funded by the avocado and nut industries that state that these fats are essential to life. Cholesterol and saturated fat are, in fact, essential to life. It should come as no shock, though, that just as our bodies produce all the cholesterol we need, so do we produce all the saturated fat we need. The consumption of dietary saturated fat is taxing on the body and contributes to disease and dysfunction of endothelial cells.

All of the vitamins found in nuts and avocados can be found in other low-fat plant based foods. These expensive high-fat foods are not the best plant based food choices. Marketing and studies funded by the dried fruit and nut industry are misleading consumers. Most studies that feature the addition of nuts resulting in health improvements and weight loss fail to share that the test subject added a handful of nuts per day and eliminated a king-sized candy bar or large bag of potato chips. This addition of nuts to a standard diet is not going to have you achieving your weight loss goals. It is not going to assist you to reverse disease or achieve optimal health. If a person practicing a Protective Diet added a handful of raw organic nuts to their already healthy low-fat diet, weight gain, reduced insulin reception and cravings for high fat foods would quickly re-emerge.  All that was accomplished removing high fat foods to reprogram our taste bud reception would be undone and our fat receptors would lose their new found sensitivity to fats.

When our goal is to reverse inflammatory disease, heart disease, diabetes or obesity, nuts should be removed completely. When I have a student who can’t achieve their goals with a Protective Diet, I always find out about their secret stash of nuts. Do yourself the greatest honor and make this a successful practice by following the proven paved path of a Protective Diet free of nuts, avocados and coconut. At first it seems difficult, but the results are far more rewarding than eating any or all of these foods. Ask anyone of our successful members if it was worth it.

Always remember that our bodies are miraculous. All the nutrients we need are provided with an oil-, sugar- and nut-free, whole food, plant-based diet. This diet gives our body everything it needs to function perfectly. It also provides a diet that promotes health and endothelial function. Nuts, nut butters and avocados are pleasure traps. We are drawn to them due to their caloric density. This is human nature. We were conditioned for survival and this draws us to high fat foods. Unfortunately, modern life has us spending most of our days sedentary. It is hard for me and my students to keep nuts in our homes without being drawn to eating them. I call peanut butter crack for women. We can’t stop, or are haunted by the jar calling us for a quick spoonful. Toss it out or feed the squirrels. Don’t tempt yourself with something that can cause a delay in disease reversal, greatly contribute to obesity, stimulate food cravings while holding you back from complete taste bud re-programing and meal satisfaction on a low-fat diet.

Related Articles


  1. While I agree with you that nuts are not healthful in large amounts, my calculations do not show that ANY nut is close to 33% in saturated fat. The highest, Cashews, are 18% saturated fat and all the other nuts are lower than that.

    And, when I added in almonds to my diet, my cholesterol went from 150ml where it had been for the past 5 years up to 175ml and when I switched out eh almonds for 5 walnuts a day for the month following that test, I got my results back and my cholesterol was 146ml again.


    1. Hi Melissa, Nuts are a valuable addition to a standard American diet. They are rich in nutrients and antioxidants missing from an average diet. When we are practicing a diet that is as clean and nutrient dense as a Protective Diet they become the worst addition in our diet due to high fat content. Most of these studies are based on adding nuts to an average diet. In this case it will generally cut out a snack bag of fried chips or candy. This will offer an improvement in health due to the reduction in junk food consumption and increase in vitamins found in nuts. Those same vitamins offered by nut can be found in other fruits and vegetable minus the high fat content. The fat in nuts can block insulin reception in diabetics, progress GI issues, increase LDL, promote inflammation and obesity. The fat in nuts also causes fat cravings and will mess with Protective Diet taste bud reprogramming. We have fat receptors in our taste buds that search for fats. Studies have shown them to subside after only two weeks off foods containing high fat contents. Nuts are not essential to reaching optimal health. Especially for someone practicing a low fat clean whole foods plant based diet such as a PD.

  2. Paul

    By the way, B12 isn’t a vegan weakness. Even grass fed ruminants need cobalt/B12 supplements these days. The only reason meat eaters are less likely to need B12 supplements is because the animals they’re eating have already taken the supplement on their behalf.

  3. Paul

    Interesting points. My criticisms are as follows:

    1) Evidence that vegans may be low in omega 3 generally has little relevance to this type of diet which contains healthy amounts of greens and chia seeds and no free oils.
    2) Grains really aren’t that high in omega 6. Nuts are actually much higher in omega 6 than grains.
    3) The need for vegans to take extra DHA is not yet proven, especially for vegans eating this kind of diet. But even if it was, it has little to do with this issue because nuts aren’t a source of DHA.
    4) The protective effect of nuts with regard to arrythmia, scd and cancer seems convincing, but the fact is that in most if not all of those studies, nuts were replacing animal products or refined carbohydrates. None of those studies showed whether adding nuts to a Julie Marie type of diet (rich in greens, beans and chia seeds) would provide any extra benefit.
    5) When it comes to arrythmia and scd I personally would be more worried about calcium supplements, and what concerns me is that both veganhealth and Dr Fuhrman encourage the use of calcium supplements. Although Dr Fuhrman to his credit has recently reduced the amount of calcium in Osteo-sun.
    6) Dr Mike Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic posits that the very low fat nature of the Esselstyn diet acts as a kind of magnet, drawing the fat out of the arterial plaques. So whilst nuts might be good for a prevention diet, it may well be necessary to severely restrict or eliminate them on a reversal diet, and I’m guessing that most people on Julie Marie’s plan are on the reversal end of the spectrum. The fact that no-one has yet managed to do a heart disease reversal study using a nut-heavy diet does seem to support Dr Roizen’s theory.
    7) In the nurses health study, beans were found to be more cardio-protective than nuts.
    8) Fats may help with nutrient absorption but as Jeff Novick says: where is the evidence that more absorption is necessarily better (for people eating this type of diet). And if you were worried about it, you could just eat more of the food that contains those nutrients.
    9) The Okinawans seemed to do OK with very little nut intake.
    10) The True North people seem to be OK with Chef AJ not eating any nuts.

    Disclosure: I believe nuts are very healthy and eat about 5 or 6 ounces of nuts per day myself. I’m just not convinced that people eating Julie Marie’s type of diet are in as much danger as veganhealth or Dr Fuhrman would have us believe.

  4. Theodore,

    Thanks agree to disagree. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3#SumBenCon Plenty of evidence vegans are low in Omega 3s generally. Grains are high in Omega 6 oils which exacerbates the problem. Nuts and seeds are the only whole food in the plant kingdom that have a balance of omega 3s except for maybe purslane which is high in oxalic acid. https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/what_vegans_may_be_missing-DHA.aspx Taking higher levels of ALA and some direct source of DHA/EPA (algae supplements) and limiting too much omega 6 from your diet is the only way to achieve this type of health. Some nuts such as walnuts are good sources of ALA but all nuts are associated with a reduced risk of heart arrythmias and sudden cardiac death. In addition, many nuts esp walnuts, peacans, and almonds are powerfully protective against cancer. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-nut-fights-cancer-better/ Pistachios have the highest source of phytosterols that women need to help with hot flashes in menopause and fighting breast cancer. When you skip to the bottom line, even plant based doctors and RDs who favor restricting them like Novick, McDougall, Popper, Esselstyn still allow up to an ounce a day which isn’t that different than Fuhrman. Even Julie uses chia seeds. Noone favoring plant based favors getting rid of nuts and seeds entirely. My son is allergic to tree nuts. So for Jason I have no choice. But I make sure he makes up what he is missing in other plant based foods, such as hemp seeds, chia seed and flax seed. Low fat has it’s limits too. You cannot cut fat too low without missing out on nutrients and jeaprodizing your health. Agree to disagree. Paul p.s. agree about nuts & zinc/b-12. Mentioned those as other vegan weaknesses, not something nuts can address.

  5. Paul, as a fan of nuts I’d love to agree with you, but there’s simply no evidence that people following this type of diet would be deficient in omega 3 or have an unfavourable omega 6/3 ratio. Most nuts aren’t a good source of omega 3 anyway. As for the other so called “weak spots” you mentioned, grains, beans and chia seeds are all perfectly good sources of zinc. Nuts aren’t going to help with vitamin D or B12. I’m not sure why you mentioned the latter two in this context.

  6. Agree to disagree. Eliminating nuts and seeds, both whole foods, is likely to contribute to the low Omega 3 blood levels many vegans and plant based eaters suffer.

    I do not see why a limit (e.g. one tablespoon per day) isn’t better than a limit esp when empirically vegans are often so low in blood level Omega 3’s .

    Chia seed as a thickener will certainly provide it. But if someone decides to use say corn starch or xanthan gum as a thickener, then the benefit is lost.

    We do need to keep aware of our weak spots and not deny them. Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, zinc, all need to have reliable plant based sources or supplements. Removing nuts & seeds indiscriminately increases the risk of Omega 3 deficiency.

  7. are seeds different? I notice you have recipes for chia seeds. I am wondering about using tahini in a recipe for kale chips, and also making flax seed crackers. Wondering if you only use chia seeds… if they are different in some way… and if they are limited?

    1. I only use Chai seeds as a way to thicken salad dressing or pudding. I’m not using them as a dietary supplement. As with this plan no supplements are needed. Tahini is a seed butter. It contains saturated fat as well as 19 grams of fat per serving. It doesn’t fit into the Protective Diet guidelines. On occasion I will sprinkle a teaspoon of whole sesame seeds over an Asian dish to make for a better presentation as a garnish. This amount of seeds is acceptable.

  8. That is exactly how I’m feeling without grains. It is hard to think of giving up nuts and avacados though. Do you treat yourself to them or never eat again? I will keep looking through your recipes. Not sure if you have a recipe for ice cream substitute. I have like fun using brazil nuts due to being very creamy… I know fruit sorbets can work… but just wondering about that vanilla type flavored ice cream that you cover with a chocolate sauce 🙂

    1. I live by example and never eat nuts or anything that contains saturated fat or sugar. I also studied the effects saturated fat, sugar and animal products have on our protective cells called endothelium. Once I learned the negative effects I was done with consuming anything that would break these cells down. This is the foundation of the protective diet Endothelium promotion. This is what keeps my students on track. They imagine the cells flourishing and would never eat anything to disrupt this protective cell wall. Weight loss and reaching your ideal body weight without a struggle is just one of the many side effects of eating a Protective Diet.

      1. Grains fuel or body for energy to regulate our body temperature. Most people who try Eat to Live can’t sustain it due to the one cup limit of grains or starches. Most people complain of feeling cold and hungry. The nut consumption is not as satisfying to most as a big bowl of mashed potatoes and Mushroom Gravy or my Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes. Nut and avocado consumption is hard to moderate to a small amount. These creamy high in saturated fat foods are pleasure traps. Get them out of the house and go buy a 10 pound bag of potatoes! You will feel happy, satisfied, nourished and loose weight!

  9. Hi! I’m brand new to your site. After reading Eat To Live I’m surprised to see your ‘Lose the nuts’ section as he advocates a bit of avocado or nuts on a daily basis. I may try this and see if it can help me lose weight more quickly. I’m not addicted to nuts so its not a problem. Thank you for all of your info!!

    1. On the Eat to Live plan your grains/starches are limited to 1 cup per day. By removing the nuts you can enjoy more satisfying and filling foods like grains and starches. I also found restricting to only 1 cup left me and my students unsatisfied and feeling cold all the time. Complex carbohydrates give us energy to regulate our body temperature. This makes eating a plant based diet easier to sustain and more successful for weight loss. Also as you read nuts contain saturated fats as do oils. Saturated fat breaks down our endothelial cells. Our bodies need our endothelium to be healthy to offer optimum protection from disease.

  10. Yes this is definitely my pleasure trap! First it started with peanut butter and I thought when I was making my own with no added oil, salt, or sugar that it was good for me, but I continued to binge on it. Then I switched to the healthier peanut free nut butters. But like you said, it didn’t really matter what kind of nut it was I would over eat on it! So I’m very sad to say I won’t be keeping nut butters in the house anymore. I have lots of recipes though that call for them, like no bake energy bites, sunflower butter bites, and a bunch more so I guess I’ll need to throw those recipes out! Sigh, I think I’m coming down from my sugar addiction and am in mourning for all of my sweet things. It’s been about 2 weeks give or take since I have eliminated ALL forms of sugar. It’s rough, not gonna lie!!!

    1. I have consistently had my students share that when they removed sugars they were drawn to nut butters. I experienced this myself. It must be the concentrated calories we are drawn to. I don’t have any nut butters in my house and when transitioning I recommend tossing them. If you have any excess fat to loose this is the trick. No nuts, no sugar and no oil. Also I’ve found when students with diabetes toss the nuts/nut butters their sugars regulate.

Login Below