Phytic Acid: taking off the paleo blinders


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Nuts are delicious...they aren't a grain, they are full of fat, low-carb, they are "paleo" what is there not to love? 

Apparently, lots. I addressed their imbalance of fats in a previous post and how they probably aren't paleo, but today an article on Cheeseslave about dental health got me interested in more:

In the interview, Rami told me that peanuts are as bad as soybeans when it comes to phytic acid content. He said that nuts are extremely high in phytic acid. He said that he thinks peanut butter that has not been soaked and sprouted is a “garbage food”. Rami told me that seeds are the absolute worst. Even worse than soy or peanuts. Sesame seeds have double or triple the phytic acid that soy has.

Let's look at the data:

How can paleo dieters bash grains and legumes for antinutrients when they are eating just as many in the form of nuts and seeds? It makes me wonder... which is really a better choice: a "paleo" pancake made from almond butter or a traditionally fermented idli? The idli probably has less phytic acid, that's for sure.

Since phytic acid robs the body of minerals, I think I will avoid it best I can. If I think about it carefully, since I am eating expensive meat...when I eat phytic acid it is robbing me of money!

The paleo diet can blind people by forcing them to argue about the history of food rather than its objective properties. But nuts lose either way. The only evidence of large-scale consumption of nuts comes from mesolithic and neolithic societies. They were between agrarian and foragers, as they still consumed wild foods, but they also engaged in activities that boasted nut production. As I was reminded in a recent permaculture workshop I took (you can view the slideshow from it here), agroforestry is still a form of agriculture.