Australian nut industry pleased by new dietary guidelines and latest research findings
The Australian nut industry has welcomed the NHMRC Australian Dietary Guideline’s recommendation that Australians increase their consumption of nuts by 350 per cent. The guidelines suggest that up to 30g of nuts a day – or a small handful – is beneficial to health.
The Australian nut industry body Nuts for Life says the recommendations is supported by further research the Spanish research group PREDIMED showing that a Meditteranean diet including nuts reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
“It is satisfying to see that the NHMRC Australia Dietary Guidelines now acknowledge the important role nuts play in the diet by recommending a regular 30g handful of nuts. This latest revision of the dietary guidelines puts the final nail in the coffin of low-fat diets as the preferred option for a healthy diet. At last healthy fat foods are back on the menu,” said Dietitian and Nuts for Life manager, Lisa Yates.
Meanwhile, a study undertaken by Novotny and others, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2012 found that the energy content of nuts and how they are digested by the human body had in the past been poorly understood. The study found that the calorie value for almonds had been overestimated by about 20 per cent previously, which might have contributed to concerns about nuts being part of a regular diet.
The study concluded that the way calorie intake is currently measured is problematic because it doesn’t assumes that nutrients are digested in the same way by the human body, regardless of what food they are found in. The researchers found that almonds have fewer calories than previously thought because the fat in the nuts is not easy for the body to digest and so some fat will be excreted.
Research from Europe has also highlighted other health benefits and promoted the regular consumption. The research by Dr Emilio Ros and others from the Spanish group PREDIMED supported the health protective qualities of nuts over other foods.
“There are the six large observational studies consistently showing heart disease protection with increasing nut intake, and there have been 30 or more short to medium term clinical trials consistently showing that nut diets, including any variety of nut, lower blood cholesterol,” said Dr Ros.
While visiting Australia recently, Dr Ros recommended an increase in nut consumption for various health benefits.