High tree nut consumption is strongly associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.
Researchers from Loma Linda University School of Public Health in Southern California examined the nut consumption of 803 participants in the Adventist Health Study 2, in a study funded by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.
Consumption of tree nuts – which include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts – varied from daily to never, with average tree nut consumption of 16 g per day among the highest tree nut consumers, and 5 g per day among the lowest.
“Tree nut consumption in this population has strong inverse association with obesity,” said lead researcher Karen Jaceldo-Siegl.
The study found those who ate a diet high in tree nuts were 46% less likely to be obese than those who rarely ate nuts. Total nut consumption – including peanuts – was associated with a 37% lower likelihood of obesity.
Nearly a third (32%) of the study’s subjects had metabolic syndrome, defined by a cluster of chronic disease risk factors, including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, among others, and the study also found an association between nut consumption and lower risk.
“Our results showed that one serving (28 grams or one ounce) of tree nuts per week was significantly associated with 7% less metabolic syndrome,” said Jaceldo-Siegl. “Doubling this consumption could potentially reduce metabolic syndrome risk by 14%.”
A flurry of recent studies has found correlations between nut consumption and better health outcomes.
A Harvard study published late last year linked daily nut consumption with a lower overall death rate, as well as lower body weight, while another study, published in the British Journal of Cancer , found that women who regularly ate nuts had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer.
Source: PLOS ONE
Authors: Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, Ella Haddad, Keiji Oda, Gary E. Fraser, Joan Sabaté