Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Almonds... raw vs roasted?

I love almonds. Pretty much any variety hits the spot for me. But I was thinking this morning and I remember hearing once that it's best to eat raw almonds instead of roasted or toasted variety. Personally, I choose raw when I can, but I only had roasted in the house today which led me into this issue.

Apparently dry-roasting/toasting almonds can alter their fat content by not only decreasing healthy-fat content (monos) but by turning a portion of the healthy fats into saturated fats. On top of that, I've heard roasting decreases nutrient content. Again, I'm not saying this is 100% fact. I really don't know. But it is word on the street.

Why does this happen: Specifically, roasting almonds at high heat (more than 175 degrees F) changes chemical bonds in the nut causing monosaturated fats break down. Additionally, high heat causes degradation of vitamin B & E content. Roasting at low temps below 175 for a long time can offset these effects, but unless you roast them yourself, who knows what temp they roasted those nuts you bought at the store.

On the flip side, I read that roasting doesn't significantly alter the macro- and micro-nutrient content of nuts at all and the roasted/toasted kind are just as healthy as raw: Fat content (mono, poly, etc) stays the same and the biggest change is a slight loss in water content.

Ughhh.... This is the problem with searching on the Internet. Everyone is an expert and everyone has an opinion... all of which are different.

So: Have you guys heard anything about this? What are your thoughts/opinions? is this crazy talk or does anyone know if there's some validity to this?!

At any rate... I guess dry-roasted or raw almonds are better than choosing an Almond Joy bar, mmm.


Btw: Check out the latest issue of Triathlete Magazine (august) -- I'm in there a couple times :)


  1. Mark's Daily Apple has a pretty good blog entry on Almonds, I seem to recall. I buy a big bag of raw at Costco and keep it in a ziploc in my desk at work, but according to MDA, even that's sketchy. He says they should be kept refrigerated. Ugh. Too much to worry about. Like you said, I figure I'm doing better than a candy bar.


  2. saturated fat is not bad for you (gasp!). marksdailyapple has a very good write up on it. also, check out this video:


    It will help make you rethink everything you've been told by mainstream media.

    ps- I know, more internet links, but the youtube video is from a movie Mark, and those who follow his beliefs (and vice versa) recommend

  3. Tawn, I'm your 100th follower, do I get a prize? As for internet research, I try to stick to reputable sites like Mayo Clinic for information on nutritions, etc...

  4. you should ask your local grocery store. i know at jimbos they are not even allowed to sell true 'raw' almonds in the bin. even if it says raw they are slightly heated- not sure exactly what the new law is- but there is a CA law about heating them because of bacteria/mold. its labeled on the bin at least there and probably whole foods. i always keep nuts in the fridge or freezer.

  5. I've also read that soaking raw almonds is even better for you from a health standpoint (easier digestion or something?). Who knows though, like you said, there's so many opinions and so much floating around the internet nowadays.

  6. My medical doc, an immunologist who specializes in environmental medicine, put me on a hard-core diet 10 years ago. He told me NOT to buy roasted almonds or nuts because then I would only get the fiber without the rest of the nutritional value. He also told me to store nuts in the fridge. (Which was confirmed watching Dr. Oz one day.) He was pretty damn opinionated about it, so that's what I buy. Maybe Dr. Oz has written about it too? He's a heart specialist, so I'm sure he knows his fats.

  7. I've also read that soaking raw almonds overnight helps digestion... something to do with enzymes and digestion. Worth looking into.