Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Hard to Get Fat Eating Nuts

My friends often ask me what I do at my job.  I don't see patients, I don't stand in a laboratory playing with test tubes, and I don't cook/serve people food.  So what do I do all day?  Well today, I looked at pictures of feces.

I know, I know, it's SO glamorous.  You want to be me.  I get that a lot.  
Why was I looking at such pictures?  Because I was reading a new research study on nuts.  Turns out a good portion of nuts are not digested after you eat them.  So the undigested nuts come out the other end, so to speak.  So far, this has been shown for almonds and most recently, pistachios.  This was presented at the Dr. Dork conference I attended last weekend. 

That's not to say it isn't true for all nuts.  Other nuts just haven't been tested yet.  

What does this mean?  It means that the calories that are listed on the labels for nuts are an over-estimation.  In the case of almonds, there are about 150 calories for 20 of those suckers as indicated on the label.  But in reality, they only provide 120-140 calories.  Why do the calories vary?  Because as it turns out, the amount of undigested nuts in feces varies person to person.  It could relate to differences in the digestive process between people, the speed at which food moves from end-to-end, and how well the nuts are chewed in the mouth. 

So if you feed someone nuts and then collect their poop and then magnify the poop so you can see it up real close and personal, there will be little pieces of nuts in there and then scientists will take pictures and cut and paste the pictures into a slide show and present it at a meeting in a room full of Dr. Dorks hanging on the edge of their seats all excited to see microscopic poop. 

Jealous?  ;)


  1. I'm thinking of this blog as a sort of dietary restriction helper...meaning I read this one right before I was going to eat lunch. Now I'm going to be sick, then have some nuts, then I'm going to wait. Doing my own little experiment...

  2. Love your blog..just stumbled here. I hope you haven't stopped writing for good now that I have found you. This is good stuff to know!

  3. So I just ate a bunch of peanuts, when to the washroom later, and had them come out in whole pieces. Would that mean that the calories from those peanuts would be considerably less than listed? Thanks.