A growing number of health professionals are saying that the health benefits of nuts and other nuts are overrated, according to new research.
“Nutrient-dense foods may have fewer health benefits, and may actually be worse for our bodies than lower-nutrient foods,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Foslien, associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
According to a report released by the World Health Organization last week, the intake of nuts in the United States has increased in recent decades, and there has been increasing concern over the health effects of nut consumption.
The report, which looked at more than 3,000 studies, found that “nuts are high in fat, and have been associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.”
It found that consuming a daily intake of 15 to 25 grams of nuts increased the risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes by an average of 18%.
In the study, the authors of the report also noted that there were no studies showing the health benefit of nuts.
Nutritional experts are now arguing that the benefits of nut products are overstated.
“If you eat nuts and nuts products you’re getting high amounts of polyunsaturated fat, which is really important,” said Mandy Scholten, a nutritionist and professor of public health at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
“And that’s actually the single most important thing that you need to eat.
So if you’re eating that much polyunsaturates and you’re doing that much damage to your heart, then you’re not going to do well,” Scholsten said.”
We can have a high fat diet, we can have lots of fat in our diet, but if we’re not getting enough of the essential nutrients, then our risk of heart disease is high,” she added.
Scholsten also said that people should limit their consumption of nuts because of the health risks.
“What’s really happening is, there are people who are going to be eating nuts and they’re going to get really high intakes of polysaccharides and they might be getting some inflammation from that, so they might get the same kind of problems that are associated with a high saturated fat diet,” she said.
Some experts also argue that people are not eating enough nuts, but rather are consuming a large amount of them in unhealthy amounts.
“I think that’s a really big misconception, and it’s a mistake that we need to fix,” said Scholts.
Dr. Jeffrey Fosler, a professor of nutritional sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, agrees that the evidence for the health effect of nuts is overstated, and he also agrees that it is important to limit consumption of all nuts.
“When you think about the potential health risks, there’s a lot of evidence, a lot more than what’s being presented,” he said.
Dr Foslers study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no association between the intake or consumption of high-fat dairy products and cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressures.
It found no evidence of any effect of high fat diets on the risk for heart disease.
Fosler also said it was important to talk about the health dangers of nuts when considering their consumption.
“The best way to think about it is that if you have an inflammatory disease and you eat too much nut, that might be a cause of that disease,” he added.
Dr Scholsted says that people need to be more mindful of the nutritional content of nuts, especially if they’re choosing to eat them for health reasons.
“You know, people have been using nut oil for a long time, and the oil is supposed to be high in essential fatty acids,” she explained.
“But if you are not getting those essential fatty acid, you’re going for the higher polyunsaturation, the more unsaturated fat and the more saturated sugars, and if you don’t get those, you can’t get the protective benefits of the nut oil.”
Scholst said that it would be wise to choose nuts over other types of foods, such as meat and dairy.
“They have a lot going on, and they should be eaten and not avoided,” she suggested.
“It’s the only nut that is very low in saturated fat, so if you want to reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease you need all of the nuts you can eat.”
Mandy Schoelens full-time research assistant works in the food science lab at Medical University South Carolina.
She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @matthewschoels.
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