Contact: Heather Reifsnyder
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Loma Linda University has amassed the best statistics yet of the positive effects of eating nuts on blood lipids. By pooling the data from 25 individual nut consumption studies conducted in seven countries with more than 500 subjects, investigators determined the most informative numbers to date on how nuts lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The results will be published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine on May 10, 2010.
Eating an average of 2.3 ounces of nuts daily (67 g, about 1/3 cup) produced the following healthful reductions: blood total cholesterol was lower by 5.1 percent, LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7.4 percent, the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio by 8.3 percent, and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio by 5.6 percent. In people with higher than normal blood triglycerides—greater than 150 milligrams per deciliter—nut consumption reduced triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent.
“Results of this study provide yet the best evidence that eating nuts reduces LDL cholesterol and improves the blood lipids profile,” says Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, of Loma Linda University, lead researcher on this study and one of the pioneers in nut research. “The findings from this analysis support those from epidemiological studies which have consistently shown that habitual nut consumption reduces the risk of heart disease.
“Thus, a simple change of eating nuts regularly can make a big difference in people’s health,” he concludes.
Those eating greater quantities of nuts experienced higher lipid reductions; however, people should not consume more than three ounces of nuts daily due to their high calorie-density. The study looked at different types of nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamias, and pistachios) and observed similar effects among them.
Lipid reductions were greater in individuals with high LDL cholesterol, low body mass index scores (lean people), and those consuming a western diet.
The publication is authored by Dr. Sabaté, chair of the nutrition department at Loma Linda University School of Public Health; Keiji Oda, MA, MPH, a biostatistician at the School of Public Health; and Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, a researcher in Spain.
Loma Linda University School of Public Health’s department of nutrition has conducted many controlled studies on the health effects of nut consumption since the early 1990s. In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine published Loma Linda University’s groundbreaking study establishing for the first time the link between nut consumption and favorable blood lipid changes. For more information about the department’s current and previous studies on nuts visit www.nutstudies.org .
Loma Linda University is a health-science university in Southern California known for its research in the area of lifestyle, chronic disease, and longevity. For more information about the university please visit the website at www.llu.edu. The department of nutrition offers MS and MPH degrees as well as Southern California’s only doctorate in nutrition.