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Ask Tufts Experts January 2016 Issue

Can The Body Digest Nuts Completely?

Q: I read in your newsletter that nuts are not completely digested and pass through the body without some of their calories being absorbed. Does it also follow that not all their protein is used by the body?

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts' HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, replies,

A: "Because the walls of plant cells in nuts are not all fractured during chewing and digestion, not all the fat and protein can be released and absorbed into the body. Research studies have focused mostly on the absorption of nut fats because they contain about twice the calories of protein and are more readily measured in stool samples, but certainly some of the nut proteins are also not absorbed into the body."

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