Cashews, the nut that gives nuts their crunchy texture, is widely believed to have addictive properties.
In a new report from the University of Michigan, researchers used a large dataset of anonymised personal data from over 2 million US adults aged 18-65 to assess whether or not people who regularly ate nuts in the past year had an increased risk of developing an addiction to the nut.
“We were able to look at all the things people have told us about how nuts and other processed foods influence their health, from how many calories they burn to how much they are able to eat,” Dr Sarah Schmitt of the University’s College of Medicine said.
“And we found that the answer was nuts, which are high in the antioxidants polyphenols.”
People who regularly eat nuts were also more likely to have a heart disease risk, diabetes risk, and an increased prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases.
“The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at data on 8,936 people, including 6,094 who had consumed nuts in previous months.”
In terms of risk of chronic disease, we found an increased cardiovascular risk of 3.2 percent,” Dr Schmitt said.
The study was led by Dr Schimmel and Dr Michael Bieschke, both of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The researchers assessed the number of heart disease deaths, diabetes deaths, and stroke deaths among people who had an average of three nuts or other processed food in their diet for at least one month.
The data also included how often the person had had their diet tested, how much alcohol was consumed, and how much exercise they had done.”
Our findings suggest that the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases with daily consumption of nuts,” Dr Biesschke said.
She said the study also looked at how long the person ate nuts, whether or the nuts were processed, and what kind of nut the person regularly ate.”
What we found was that, for the average person, the risk for heart attacks increased by nearly 20 percent after a single nuts-consuming meal,” Dr Cramer said.
But Dr Schipp added: “People who consume more nuts are more likely than those who consume less to have diabetes, obesity, and other chronic disease risk factors.”
Dr Biesschee said the new findings could have implications for people who have recently become overweight or obese, and may not be aware of how nut consumption might be contributing to their condition.”
There is a lot of research showing that consuming nuts can be associated with metabolic syndrome, so people with these metabolic disorders may be more likely not to eat nuts and may also be less likely to consume enough calories,” Dr Smeeth said.
He said people with diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic disorders might also be at risk of not being able to manage their weight with regular consumption of foods such as nuts.
Dr Bysschee is now working on a follow-up study looking at the impact of nut consumption on people with chronic diseases.”
While the overall effect of nut intake on metabolic syndrome is uncertain, there is a strong evidence that nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of the metabolic syndrome,” Dr Pappas said.
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