Almonds are amazing little tree nuts. These fun brown seed-shaped nuts aren’t actually nuts at all—they’re seeds! They provide fiber, vitamin E for healthy skin and cholesterol levels, and fill you up during your snack time.
Almonds are also responsible for providing you with the important B vitamin riboflavin as well as other trace nutrients like manganese, magnesium, even calcium and iron! So what could possibly be harmful about eating too many almonds?
Eating too many almonds can actually have a range of side effects that aren’t pleasant. The serving size of almonds is just a handful at 23 almonds per day, so eating too much more than that could cause adverse health symptoms.
It’s always important to listen to your body—if your stomach begins to hurt after eating too many almonds, you might want to stop. But do you know all the side effects of eating too many almonds? We’ve compiled a list of 7 harmful side effects of eating too many almonds that you should be aware of.
You may also be able to reduce your risk of problems from almonds by eating them only a few times a week rather than daily, and choosing organic rather than non-organic.
Here are 7 health problems from eating too many almonds!
- Kidney Stones
The majority of kidney stones are formed from a compound called calcium oxalate that’s left in our kidneys from our urine if we’re not properly hydrated. However, certain diets and foods can make people more prone to kidney stones, especially diets high in oxalates. This is where eating too many almonds becomes a problem!
Oxalates are a chemical found in certain foods that are not able to be digested by humans. According to this site, they’re known for causing other problems in the body and can disrupt certain processes as our bodies try not to absorb them and so are burdened with getting rid of them.
Almonds contain lots of oxalates. In fact, the oxalates in almonds are actually better absorbed by the body than oxalates from other foods such as black beans, according to this study. Almonds have one of the highest oxalate levels of all foods according to this chart, and should be eaten only in moderation, especially for those who are susceptible to kidney stones or have a history of kidney stones.
Although almonds are hailed as an amazing snack choice, especially compared to other, less whole foods like potato chips or cookies, they should be eaten only in their recommended amount—which is a handful, or, about 23 almonds a day. Start counting, folks!
Other foods that are high in oxalates include spinach, corn grits, and baked potatoes. Go figure!
- Unwanted Pounds
The recommended serving size of almonds can actually help you lose weight, because they’re high in fiber and healthy fats. Many people have found that eating almonds as a snack helps them to shed pounds rather than gain them.
But when you’re eating too many almonds, the opposite can actually happen. Weight loss and gain is based on the science of calories—if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. It’s that simple!
Eating too many almonds can thwart your weight loss goals and end up being too much of a good thing, which can lead to a bad thing—weight gain. Their healthy fat can turn bad when consumed in excess. Just like anything else (especially when it comes to food), there is too much of a good thing.
The bottom line is that if you’re not burning the calories that you’re eating from almonds, you will end up gaining weight. Stick to the serving size of almonds in order to avoid this unpleasant side effect of eating too many almonds!
- Tummy Troubles
But when you’re eating too many almonds, that amount of fiber can cause some serious tummy troubles. A quarter cup of almonds contains 11% of your daily fiber intake!
Too much fiber—especially if your body is not accustomed to consuming the recommended amount of fiber—can lead to bloating, flatulence, even diarrhea and constipation! You want to gradually increase your fiber intake rather than consuming too much fiber at once.
The fiber your body gets from eating too many almonds can lead to all of these gastrointestinal symptoms that are uncomfortable to say the least.
When you’re eating too many almonds, you’re likely steadily increasing your fiber intake. Although fiber is hugely beneficial in a number of ways (including helping to control blood sugar, cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and more), too much of it can harm your body.
Watch out for this symptom of eating too many almonds!
- Potential for Allergic Reactions
Our bodies are meant to consume a variety of foods to remain healthy.
However, when we consume too much of the same food, we can increase our risk for allergic reactions or food intolerances. Oftentimes overdosing on a food or consuming it in excess over a period of time (for example, if you ate mostly tofu every day for several weeks), your body can begin to develop reactions to this food.
Give your body some variety when it comes to your diet. Although eating almonds can be an excellent snack choice, eating too many almonds should never be something you do often. You should aim to consume a variety of foods. At times our bodies will crave certain foods—these cravings often have meaning behind them.
For example, craving chocolate can mean your body actually needs magnesium, craving meat can mean an iron deficiency, and craving cheese can mean you need more healthy fats in your diet!
Rotate your diet and never eat too much of the same food—especially almonds!
- Manganese Overload
Manganese is an amazing mineral that helps our bodies with numerous functions. These include maintaining a healthy skeletal structure, balancing blood sugar, and even decreasing inflammation in the body.
While we need manganese and should consume the recommended amount of this mineral every day, eating too many almonds can cause us to exceed the amount of manganese we consume.
What this means is that eating too many almonds could actually be hindering vitamin or medication absorption. If you’re on medication for health conditions such as high blood pressure or antibiotics for an infection, eating too many almonds can render your medication ineffective.
If you’re eating the recommended serving amount of almonds every day (which is about an ounce—or a handful—at 23 almonds), you’re getting about 0.6 milligrams of manganese. You’re only supposed to get a few milligrams of manganese every day and you should never exceed 11 milligrams of manganese daily. So eating too many almonds can lead you to consume excess manganese!
Other medications that are impacted by increased consumption of manganese include antipsychotic medicines and laxatives.
- Too Much Vitamin E
A quarter cup of almonds contains 40% of your daily intake of vitamin E! This means that eating about a half a cup of almonds every day—about twice the recommended serving amount—can push you pretty close to the maximum amount of vitamin E you’re supposed to get every day.
Vitamin E is a pretty awesome antioxidant and has some amazing health benefits, including helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels, neutralizing free radicals, healing skin, even helping hormones! Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E.
It’s likely that you’re getting vitamin E from other foods in your diet as well, meaning that eating too many almonds could lead you to overdose on vitamin E. How much vitamin E is too much?
The government recommends only 15 milligrams daily intake of vitamin E if you’re over the age of 14! Since almonds contain nearly half of that amount per serving, that doesn’t leave much room for you to eat extra vitamin E in the form of healthy food every day.
The side effects of overdosing on vitamin E include nausea, loose stools, headaches, fatigue, even blurry vision! Be aware of how much vitamin E you’re consuming and only take a supplement at the recommendation of your health care practitioner.
- Increases Toxicity Levels in the Body
Some almonds do contain a chemical called hydrocyanic acid, abbreviated as HCN. This acid is natural, but can have toxic side effects if consumed in excess.
This chemical is most often present in bitter almonds—these types of almonds are wild and are not the same as the domesticated almonds you buy at the store. It’s generally toxic to eat bitter almonds and consumption of even a few of these can be fatal.
The type of domesticated almonds that people consume are considered to be sweet almonds—the domesticated version of their wild, bitter cousins.
So although eating too many almonds of the domesticated kind likely won’t kill you, eating too many bitter almonds can indeed increase toxicity in the body and you should stay away from these almonds.
Bitter almonds are from a different tree than the one that produces sweet almonds, so you likely won’t come into contact with these almonds unless you’re in the wild. If you do, however, be sure to avoid! They’re highly toxic.
Are Almonds Safe?
Of course almonds are a safe, natural, healthy snack. They provide a wide range of health benefits and have been instrumental in weight loss for many people. They provide antioxidants in the form of vitamin E, lots of fiber, and essential trace minerals like manganese, which is essential for many bodily functions.
Almonds are a great food choice if eaten in their recommended serving amounts. This is true of pretty much every food out there. Even water is toxic to your body if consumed in excess. There is a balance and a moderation in everything—this is never truer than it is for your body and its nutritional needs!
Don’t let this article steer you away from almonds. Just remember that eating too many almonds can have adverse health effects, namely these 7! Keep them in mind next time you’re snacking on a handful of almonds—remember that 23 is the magic number, and this will likely constitute your snack for the afternoon. Consuming too many more than that can be bad for your health.
Almonds are great, but eating too many almonds? Not so much. Avoid these 7 health problems from eating too many almonds!