Roasting Nuts and Rancidity

I recently got into a discussion with someone on an email list about whether roasting nuts causes them to be rancid and if makes them unhealthy. This is a case where I did not go through the research and do a lit review, but here are my comments:

“I agree that it seems like nuts should go rancid if they are roasted, but they also contain antioxidants and other molecules which might protect them. Even the ALA in flaxseeds is protected when baked, and the Canola Council says that the ALA even in canola oil is not damaged by cooking. There is probably some rancidity in cooking nuts, but I tend to think it’s very little. My sense with the clinical trials on nuts is that they would be roasted since raw nuts are not as easy to digest for many people, and my bet would be that researchers have taken that into account. But I could very well be wrong. In epidemiological studies, which have also shown favorable results for nuts, I think it’s a safe bet that most of them are roasted.”

I’m guessing some of my readers have followed this in the scientific literature and can quickly point out any studies that have indicated whether the nuts were cooked or raw…

The person I was corresponding with pointed out this article by Andrew Weil which I thought was worth passing on:

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