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Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Date:5/10/2010

High calorie count, though, means restraint would be wise, expert says,,

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- An analysis of studies has produced what its authors describe as a precise description of the beneficial effects of nut consumption on cholesterol and other heart-related fats.

It provides "the best evidence yet that eating nuts reduces LDL cholesterol and improves the blood lipids profile," said Dr. Joan Sabate, who chairs the nutrition department at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and was a co-author of the report, published May 10 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sabate and fellow researchers at the university pooled data on 583 men and women who had participated in 25 nut consumption trials. The results showed that eating about 2.3 ounces of nuts a day -- a third of a cupful -- reduced total cholesterol levels by 5.1 percent and "bad" LDL cholesterol by 7.4 percent.

That amount of nut eating also improved the ratio of LDL cholesterol to "good" HDL cholesterol by 8.3 percent and caused a decrease of 10.2 percent in triglyceride levels among people with high levels of those blood fats.

Sabate is a leading figure in the somewhat limited field of nut nutrition. His first report on the beneficial effects, published in 1993, led to other studies that eventually prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a qualified health claim for nuts a decade later.

The 2003 FDA statement said that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."

On food labels, that claim is followed by a caution: "See nutrition information for fat content."

The FDA statement was issued in response to a petition filed by the International Tree Nut Council Research and Education Foundation, which supports the wor
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