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Industrial Meat and Soaking Nuts

By Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Founder of The Paleo Diet
February 3, 2013
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Thank you for your work and contribution to the Perfect Human Diet video. I have spent years researching nutrition and this video validated many of my findings and beliefs. I heard Dr. Sebring state that we should consume animals that have been fed a diet as close as possible to their natural diet, but then he went to a mainstream grocery to show what foods were acceptable. I realize that the video was produced to reach a mainstream audience, so I would like some clarity or your opinion on two issues. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy. And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Pam Merritt

Dr. Cordain's Response:

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for your kind words. CJ Hunt did a wonderful job in producing "The Perfect Human Diet". Let me answer your questions:

1. Does the industrial feeding of animals change the fat composition and make it unhealthy for us? That question stems from grass-fed advocates that claim all meat in mainstream grocery stores is unhealthy.

Yes, animals confined to commercial feed lots are fed grains (corn mainly) almost exclusively to cause rapid weight gain. Unfortunately this process yields nutritionally inferior meat with an unhealthy fat composition. My scientific group has analyzed and compared the fat and fatty acid composition of wild game meat and contrasted it to grass produced meats and feed lot (grain produced) meats. You can visit my website (https://thepaleodiet.com/science/the-trusted-source) and download these two papers as free PDF files which report our results:

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56 (suppl 1):S42-S52
Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002;56:181-191.

I have also written a more extensive paper (Nutritional Differences between Grass- and Grain-Fed Beef: Health Implications) contrasting the nutritional qualities of grass versus grain produced meats, and this article is available at my website for a nominal fee.

2. And, do we need to soak or cook raw nuts to decrease the enzyme inhibitors before consuming them? Any info or references to info would be greatly appreciated.

Compared to cereal grains and legumes, tree nuts have been poorly studied in regard to enzyme inhibitors and other antinutrients. Consequently few or no scientific studies have examined either the content or physiological effect of tree nut antinutrients in either animals or humans. Tree nuts are one of the more common food allergens, which is suggestive that contain a variety of compounds with the capacity to interact with the immune system. Most people experience no health problems with nut consumption, and many studies show nuts to produce many therapeutic effects. Peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes and should be avoided for a number of reasons that I have written about in my latest book, The Paleo Answer. Below are a few references about compounds found in nuts that may influence health and well being.

Bolling BW, Chen CY, McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutr Res Rev. 2011 Dec;24(2):244-75.

Robbins KS, Shin EC, Shewfelt RL, Eitenmiller RR, Pegg RB. Update on the healthful lipid constituents of commercially important tree nuts. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Nov 23;59(22):12083-92.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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