Side Effects of Eating Too Many Almonds

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In moderation, almonds are one of the healthiest snacks around. They are rich in a variety of essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E and have been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

It may therefore come as a surprise that consuming too many almonds can be detrimental to health. The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends eating 1.5 ounces of almonds a day. This amounts to about a third of a cup or a small handful of the nuts. Exceeding this limit can have the following effects.

1. Weight Gain

Almonds are high in calories and fats–containing around 160 calories and 14g of fat per ounce. According to Livestrong, even though the fats in almonds are all unsaturated(and therefore healthy alternatives to the saturated and trans fat found in meat and processed foods) eating 3 ounces of a almonds a day can add up a pound in just one week.

When adding nuts like almonds to your diet it is recommended to subtract an equal number of calories from elsewhere in your diet.

2. Vitamin E Overdose

Mayo Clinic recommends that normal, healthy adults consume at least 15 mg of vitamin E a day and suggests a tolerable upper limit of 1000 mg per day. On average, a quarter cup of almonds contains 62 mg of this nutrient. Though it would take a lot of almonds to reach the 1000 mg upper limit, it is quite possible, especially when almonds are added to a diet that is already rich in vitamin E foods. Symptoms of vitamin E overdose include lethargy, blurred vision, flatulence, diarrhea and headaches.

3. Gastrointestinal Disturbance

Nuts like almonds contain compounds called tannins and phytates which make them difficult to digest. The existence of these compounds is an evolutionary adaptation. It enhances the nuts’ ability to pass undigested through the gastrointestinal tract, thereby increasing their chances of growing into new plants. Unfortunately, these preventative measures cause gas, bloating and sometimes abdominal pain when the nuts are consumed in excess. Livestrong  recommends soaking almonds in water.

Their tough, rigid texture can lead to abdominal pain and discomfort when hard, chunks of almond proceed through the digestive tract intact.

It may also  take a while for your stomach to get used to the large amount of fiber in almonds, causing abdominal discomfort. High fiber foods should be added to the diet slowly and in increments.

Moreover, fats, which are present in high quantities in nuts can cause diarrhea.

4. Drug Interactions

Almonds are rich in manganese, containing about 0.6 mg of the mineral per 1 ounce serving. Adult females should consume about 1.8 mg and males should consume 2.3 mg of manganese daily. Manganese is involved in various bodily processes including, blood sugar regulation, blood clotting, connective tissue formation and nerve function.  Higher levels of manganese, however, can interact with certain drugs in the bloodstream and cause adverse effects.  particularly antipsychotic drugs, antacids, laxatives, certain antibiotics and blood pressure medications.

Manganese intake of above 10mg per day can even result in nerve damage.

As you exercise caution in your almond intake, make sure to bear in mind that almond products such as flour milk and oil can be misleading when it comes to almond quantity. One cup of almond flour usually contains more than 90 almonds. So be careful!

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