A pooled analysis of studies on nut consumption, cholesterol levels, and risk of death from heart disease show extraordinary benefits, suggesting we should eat nuts every day.
A pooled analysis was recently published of 25 interventional trials investigating nut consumption and the levels of fatty substances like cholesterol in the blood. Here are the results of four of the best studies of nut consumption and the risk of death from heart disease. Compared to eating no nuts at all, this is the associated drop in risk of death eating nuts once or twice a month, about once a week, a couple times a week, and then every every day. We’re talking about cutting risk of our number one killer in half with one simple, delicious dietary change—adding nuts to our daily diet.
Part of this is from nuts uncanny ability to lower bad cholesterol, and the worse off you are, the better it works. It’s not like nuts just cut your cholesterol a set percentage from wherever you start from. If your LDL starts out under 130 (and we’d really like to see it about half that) then eating nuts lowers LDL about 3%. But start out in the mid hundreds and nuts work twice as heard, and if you’re off the charts ready to keel over any moment, nuts drop your bad cholesterol an average of like 10%.
You’ll note, though, many of these 25 studies were funded by industry groups such as the ITNC-NREF, the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, or the “International Nut and Dried Fruit Foundation,” presumably throwing the dried fruit part so they wouldn’t have to be known as the international nut foundation.
Either way, such trade groups have not shown themselves to be above conniving studies designed to exaggerate benefit. Case in point, from Almond Board of California showing almond consumption reduces DNA damage compared to the control group who were instead made to eat pork. This is a classic drug company trick, comparing your product to something you just know is gonna bomb. And low and behold, “In summary, consuming a diet containing 84 g/d almonds for 4 weeks decreased oxidative stress in young male smokers.” Uh yeah, compared to pork….
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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One sees the manipulation of study design and skewing of results in studies on beverages too, from pomegranate juice to milk and soda. For more on nuts see videos like What Women Should Eat to Live Longer, Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell, Plant Protein Preferable, and Diverticulosis & Nuts, though there are 50 others. And hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand topics. On Monday's video-of-the-day I'll cover part of the mechanism of how nuts do what they do. If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.
For additional context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, Cholesterol Lowering in a Nut Shell, Optimal Phytosterol Dose and Source, and Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?