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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Tree nut consumption improves nutrient intake and diet quality in US adults: an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004

Authors
item O'Neil, Carol -
item Keast, Debra -
item Fulgoni Iii, Victor -
item Nicklas, Theresa -

Submitted to: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 23, 2010
Publication Date: January 23, 2010
Citation: O'Neil, C.E., Keast, D.R., Fulgoni Iii, V.L., Nicklas, T.A. 2010. Tree nut consumption improves nutrient intake and diet quality in US adults: an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 19(1):142-150.

Interpretive Summary: Despite potential health benefits, recommendations for the consumption of tree nuts are not clear and studies assessing the nutrient intake and diet quality are lacking. Using a nationally representative sample of adults, the overall consumption of tree nuts in the population was low; however, we found that the nutrient intake and diet quality was improved significantly when tree nuts were consumed, but the average intakes did not meet most nutrient recommendations. We also showed that tree nut consumers had a higher overall diet quality and improved nutrient intakes. This study raises the possibility that future dietary recommendations should be specific and should include a separate nut category to inform the general public.

Technical Abstract: Recent epidemiologic studies assessing tree nut (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts) consumption and the association with nutrient intake and diet quality are lacking. This study determined the association of tree nut consumption and nutrient intake and diet quality using a nationally representative sample of adults. Adults 19+ years (y) (n equals 13,292) participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used. Intake was determined from 24-hour diet recalls; tree nut consumers were defined as those consuming greater or equal to 1/4 ounce/day (7.09 g). Means, standard errors, and ANOVA (adjusted for covariates) were determined using appropriate sample weights. Diet quality was measured using the Healthy Eating Index-2005. Among consumers, mean intake of tree nuts/tree nut butters was 1.19 + 0.04 oz/d versus 0.01 + 0.00 oz/d for non-consumers. In this study, 5.5 +/- 0.3 % of individuals 19-50 y (n equals to 7,049) and 8.4 +/- 0.6 % of individuals 51+ y (n equals to 6,243) consumed tree nuts/tree nut butters. Mean differences (p less than 0.01) between tree nut consumers and non-consumers of adult shortfall nutrients were fiber (+5.0 g/d), vitamin E (+3.7 mg AT/d), calcium (+73 mg/d), magnesium (+95 mg/d), and potassium (+260 mg/d). Tree nut consumers had lower sodium intake (-157 mg/d, p less than 0.01). Diet quality was significantly higher in tree nut consumers (58.0+/-0.4 vs. 48.5+/-0.3, p less than 0.01). Tree nut consumption was associated with a higher overall diet quality score and improved nutrient intakes. Specific dietary recommendations for nut consumption should be provided for consumers.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014