The article below is from the NY Times. See my comments at the end of the article.
NY Times Article
Eating about two and a half airplane snacks’ worth of nuts every day helps lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, and improves the ratio of total cholesterol to “good” HDL cholesterol, a study reports.
Researchers pooled the results of 25 clinical trials that involved 583 participants over all. The study reported that eating just 2.4 ounces of nuts of any kind was associated with declines of 10.2 milligrams per deciliter in bad cholesterol, a drop of about 7.4 percent, and 10.9 milligrams in total cholesterol, or 5.1 percent.
The study, which appeared in the May 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, was partly financed by a nut-industry foundation, and two of the authors receive research money from other organizations representing the nut and peanut industries.
But the authors noted that some of the trials they analyzed had no corporate financing, yet came to similar conclusions.
“Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, and that is a main driver in lowering cholesterol,” said the lead author, Dr. Joan Sabaté, a professor of nutrition at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University in California. “They are the richest source of protein in the plant kingdom, and they also contain fiber and phytosterols, which compete with cholesterol to be absorbed. All these nutrients have been demonstrated to lower cholesterol.”
The effect was most pronounced among people with higher LDL cholesterol to begin with and among those who were not obese. The more nuts they ate, the greater the effect.
Dr. Court’s Comments
This is great information to get out there. We have all seen those commercials touting cereal as a way to lower cholesterol. I have never been a fan of that because telling people to eat cereal to lower their cholesterol is a slippery slope. There are a lot of consumers in this country who cannot or do not make the distinction between Coco Puffs and a high fiber, whole grain cereal that could potentially be good for you.
While some very basic cereals, like steel cut oats for example, may be good for you in moderation, the vast majority of cereal out there is a major contributor to obesity and high cholesterol in this country. Oatmeal, in some studies, has been shown to mildly lower cholesterol levels when eaten every day for two months, but I don’t advise that my patients eat oatmeal frequently.
I do, however, recommend that my patients consume nuts as often as possible. This new research gives me another reason to tell my patients to go nuts! The greatest thing about this is that the results showed that the more nuts people consumed the better they did!
The study has some weaknesses. For one it was financed partly by the nut industry. However, almost all studies done on pharmaceuticals are funded for the most part by the pharmaceutical industry itself. Despite that fact we are supposed to take what we see and hear about those studies as gospel. In my opinion this study would be a little more substantial if it were not funded by the nut industry, but the results seem reasonable and from my experience as a clinician it makes sense.
Secondly, they did not delineate what type of nuts people should be eating. For my patients I recommend that people consume all nuts with the exception of peanuts. Peanuts are highly inflammatory and contain a mold toxin called aflatoxin that can cause a litany of health issues. Almonds, cashews or walnuts are all better options.
The moral of the story is eat as many nuts as you can. They are great as snacks or as an addition to a salad. I eat them as often. The best way to make sure you get them in is to buy them in bulk and have them on hand where ever you are. Buy a bag for the house and one for work and keep them there. They stay fresh for a very long time when properly stored and provide a great boost of energy, are loaded with vitamins and mineral and now help you lower your cholesterol. It’s a miracle food!