Nutritional Facts about Macadamia Nuts
Consuming macadamia nuts instead of other high fat foods is good for you.
(University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine)
Macadamia nuts have no cholesterol.
Macadamia nuts reduce overall cholesterol levels through "good fats", or mono-saturated fats.
Macadamia nuts are a high energy food, rich in minerals and proteins.
Macadamia nut diet lowers cholesterol levels.
NEW YORK, Apr 26 (Reuters Health) - A macadamia nut-based diet, containing high levels of monounsaturated fat, produces lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) levels than the typical American diet, report US researchers.
The findings suggest that replacing the saturated fat in the typical diet with monounsaturated fat could reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
"After all the time we spend telling people what's bad for them, now we can say, 'Here's something you like that can actually be good for you,'" Dr. David Curb, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii, told Reuters Health.
Unlike many high-fat foods, which contain high levels of saturated fats, macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which appear to have beneficial effects, the authors explain. In their report, they note that the "Mediterranean diet" common in Greece and Southern Italy, contains olive oil, which is also rich in monounsaturated fat -- and heart disease rates are also low in these areas.
Curb and his associates compared cholesterol levels in people eating a macadamia nut-based diet (containing 37% calories from fat, mostly monounsaturated) with those in individuals following the American Heart Association (AHA) Step 1 diet (30% calories from fat) and the "typical American" diet (37% calories from fat, mostly saturated). The macadamia nut-based diet used a few ounces daily of crushed, unsalted macadamia nuts as ingredients in sauces, casseroles, and the like, according to Curb.
Total cholesterol levels after one month on the diets were lower with the macadamia nut-based diet (191 milligrams/deciliter) and the AHA diet (193 mg/dL) than with the typical American diet (201 mg/dL), the authors report in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Much of the difference came from lower LDL cholesterol levels with the macadamia nut diet (125 mg/dL) and AHA diet (124 mg/dL), compared with the typical American diet (130 mg/dL), the results indicate.
Levels of potentially harmful triglycerides were slightly higher with the AHA diet and lower with the macadamia nut diet, the investigators note, while both diets produced slightly lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.
"The results suggest that replacing saturated fats in the typical American diet with monounsaturated fats present in macadamia nuts has a favorable effect on serum cholesterol concentrations of healthy adults," the authors conclude. "It is possible that the differences seen herein would be increased with a longer period for each diet."
"It's important to remember, though, that macadamia nuts should be used to replace the saturated fats already eaten," Curb advised. "Simply adding them to the typical American diet would likely result in weight gains without beneficial effects on cholesterol levels."
By Will Boggs, MD