U.S.: FDA approves macadamia heart health claim
The macadamia industry has received a boost this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a petition to allow a qualified health claim connecting the nut's consumption to a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
The claim is quite specific however, with the following wording put forth by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc. in its request to the regulator:
"Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content," states the now permitted claim.
The decision comes almost two years after the petition was initially filed, putting the native Australian nut in the same league as other nuts renowned for their health benefits such as walnuts and almonds.
"This is a truly a historic day for everyone in the macadamia nut industry,” Scott Wallace of Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut said in a release.
"Research about the benefits macadamia nuts have for heart health has existed for decades, and we’ve worked tirelessly to secure the legal right to share this with the masses.
"Many people associate almonds, pistachios and walnuts with better health, but this momentous decision from the FDA now puts macadamia nuts in a similar category."
In the release, the company highlighted macadamia nuts have no cholesterol and are high in monounsaturated fats - the same healthy fats found in olive oil and avocados, which are known to help reduce bad cholesterol levels and can lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Scientists first discovered that adding macadamia nuts to the diet appeared to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood during the 1990s and 2000s.
Since then, researchers have been exploring the connection, resulting in a growing body of scientific evidence supporting that a diet including macadamia nuts can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
One ounce of macadamia nuts (about 15 nuts) is also an excellent source of thiamin and manganese, a good source of dietary fiber and copper, and contains protein, magnesium, iron and phytosterols.