High consumption of tree nuts such as almonds, cashews and walnuts may significantly lower obesity risk, a new study has found.
The study looks at the association between tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts), metabolic syndrome (MetS) and obesity in a population with a wide range of nut intake ranging from never to daily.
Researchers at Loma Linda University studied 803 adults using a validated food frequency questionnaire and assessed both tree nut and peanut intake together and separately.
Mean tree nut intake was 16 grams/day among the high tree nut consumers and 5 grams/day among low tree nut consumers.
In addition to the effect of nuts on MetS, the researchers also looked at the effect on obesity.
“We found that high tree nut consumers had significantly lower prevalence of obesity compared to the low tree nut consumers,” said said lead researcher Karen Jaceldo-Siegl.
“And, high consumers of tree nuts had the lowest prevalence of obesity when compared to the low peanut/tree nut groups,” Jaceldo-Siegl said.
“Our results showed that one serving (28g or 1 ounce) of tree nuts per week was significantly associated with 7 per cent less MetS,” said Jaceldo-Siegl, adding “doubling this consumption could potentially reduce MetS risk by 14 per cent.”
“Interestingly, while overall nut consumption was associated with lower prevalence of MetS, tree nuts specifically appear to provide beneficial effects on MetS, independent of demographic, lifestyle and other dietary factors,” Jaceldo-Siegl added.
MetS is a cluster of risk factors shown to be associated with death, a twofold increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and a fivefold increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.