Is Eating Almonds THE Answer to All of Your Gut Woes?

In this article, I break down a recent study looking at almonds, butyrate, and gut health into plain English

Dr. Chad McDonald

9/13/20232 min read

brown almond nuts
brown almond nuts

A family member asked me to check out and breakdown a recent study by Dr. Creedon and their team on almonds and gut health into plain English (you know me: I like to Cut the Doctorspeak!).

This research looked into what happens when people eat almonds, specifically how it affects their stomach and gut. They had a group of adults try different things: some ate whole almonds, some had almond flour, and some stuck to their regular diet.

What they found was that eating almonds did not really change the mix of bacteria in the gut, but it did increase something called "butyrate." Butyrate is thought by some to be a helpful substance made by the healthy bacteria (aka probiotic) in your gut, and it is theorized to be good for your intestinal health.

Think of the relationship between butyrate and gut health like a detective story. We suspect that butyrate is a good guy, helping keep our guts healthy, but we are not entirely sure if it is the hero of the story or just a sidekick.

Here's the deal: while this study found that eating almonds increases butyrate, there is not enough evidence to say that butyrate is the sole reason for a healthy gut. It's like finding a piece of evidence in a case – it is interesting, but you need more clues to solve the mystery.

Many factors, like balanced diet, exercise, and genetics, contribute to gut health. Butyrate might be one piece of the puzzle, but we need more studies to put the whole picture together.

So, while butyrate seems like a good guy in the gut health story, we cannot say for sure if it is the hero or just playing a supporting role. We need more research to solve this mystery and understand how it really affects our gut health.

Putting all this together: was this study a major breakthrough? This study wasn't super big – there were only 120 people in it. Also, they only watched these folks for a short time, just 4 weeks. So, they can't say for sure if eating almonds is a long-term health booster or not.

In simple words, this study suggests that munching on almonds might be good for your tummy in the short run, but we can't say for sure if it's a long-term health game-changer. We need more research to be sure.

Reference: Creedon AC, Dimidi E, Hung ES, Rossi M, Probert C, Grassby T, Miguens-Blanco J, Marchesi JR, Scott SM, Berry SE, Whelan K. The impact of almonds and almond processing on gastrointestinal physiology, luminal microbiology, and gastrointestinal symptoms: a randomized controlled trial and mastication study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Dec 19;116(6):1790-1804. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac265. PMID: 36130222; PMCID: PMC9761756.