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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Priority areas for research on the intake, composition and health effects of nuts and peanuts

Author
item Allen, Lindsay

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2008
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Repository URL: http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/138/9/1763S
Citation: Allen, L.H. 2008. Priority areas for research on the intake, composition and health effects of nuts and peanuts. Journal of Nutrition. 138:9, 1736S-1756S, 2008.

Interpretive Summary: This article is a summary of the main conclusions of an international conference on the health benefits of nuts (including peanuts), and of priorities for future research. People who eat more nuts have higher intakes of many beneficial dietary constituents although additional information is needed on nut composition and methods of assessing the usual amounts of nuts consumed. Consideration should be given to including nuts as a separate food group in dietary guidelines. A moderate amount of nuts can be included in weight reduction diets and may reduce appetite and improve compliance with losing weight. Among the many emerging health benefits of nuts are a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, although the specific mechanisms involved are only beginning to be understood. More information is needed on nut-induced allergies including whether individuals are sensitive to more than one type of nut.

Technical Abstract: This article summarizes the main conclusions drawn from a conference on the health effects of nut consumption, and identifies priority areas for future research. Individuals with higher intakes of nuts generally have higher intakes of many beneficial dietary constituents. More information is needed on nut composition, and the bioavailability of nutrients and other bioactive constituents. Better methods are needed to assess usual nut intake, including biomarkers, and the forms and amounts in which nuts are consumed. The feasibility of including nuts and seeds as a separate food group in the Dietary Guidelines should be tested, as should ways to increase nut intake.A moderate intake of nuts can be included in a weight loss regimen, and further information is needed on whether nuts improve satiety, adherence and efficacy of diets designed for weight reduction. There is substantial evidence that nut consumption reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. Future research should investigate their benefits for prevention of congestive heart failure, including clinical studies in patients with this condition to evaluate the effects of nuts on markers of heart disease risk. Higher nut consumption is associated with lower risk of diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease. More remains to be learned about the effects of nuts on postprandial glycemic and insulin response, glycemic control, and improvement of disease risk factors in subjects with pre-diabetes and diabetes. Information is needed on nut-induced allergic reactions including their prevalence and consequences, causes of sensitization, biomarkers of severe reactions, and cross-reactivity to different types of nuts.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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