Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Going nuts about nuts

Dr. Walt,

I’m confused. One moment I hear nuts are fattening.  Then I hear they’re good for me. Which is the truth?

Feeling Squirrely in New Hampshire

Dear Baffled,

Well, the truth about nuts is a little nutty. Yes, they are fattening. And yes, you should eat them. Let me explain.

Research findings in several large studies all show that the risk of coronary heart disease decreases as the frequency of nut intake increases.

Persons who consume nuts once per week have a lower risk than persons who consume nuts just once per month, and persons who consume nuts at least 5 times per week have an even lower risk.

In one study, those who ate a daily serving of nuts reduce their risk of heart disease by 25% and their overall risk of death by 20%. So I recommend them.

However, nuts are high in fat and calories, so no more than one serving a day is recommended (defined as 1.5 ounces or about 3 tablespoons).

The FDA recommended list only includes almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts. However, many Registered Dieticians include cashews, macadamias, and seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, papaya, pomegranate, apricot, cumin, grape, and hemp).

The lowest-calorie nuts are almonds, cashews, and pistachios. Avoid nuts that are salted or roasted in oil; instead, eat them raw or dry roasted. I also recommend that rather than adding nuts to the diet you’re already eating, use them to replace foods like meats, refined grains, sweets, or processed snacks.

This Q&A was originally published in the May 2015 edition of Today’s Christian Living.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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