Going “Nuts” about Macadamia Nuts


Choosing certain foods has long been linked to health benefits of heart disease reduction. Eating nuts as part of our diet is good for our heart. They are good sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and plant sterols, Vitamin E and fats. Yes, fats!! The unsaturated and saturated kinds.

Recently, the US FDA ruled that the sellers of Macadamia nuts could make a qualified health claim that their product may reduce heart disease. In doing so, the FDA showed its willingness to consider the scientific evidence that the fats in these nuts, along with the other nut ingredients provide a health benefit.

You see, most nuts are higher in unsaturated fats which is the preferred dietary fat to prevent clogged arteries. Yet, macadamia nuts have a higher percentage of saturated fats which have long been associated with higher total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This led researchers to conclude they may increase the risk of heart disease. However, many studies have not found this, and in fact, total and LDL cholesterol have been reduced.

Previous data suggested that cutting down on dietary saturated fats was associated with a 17% reduction in cardiovascular events. Newer data is challenging that belief. It may very well be that the balance of these fats and other nutritional factors are important. This led the FDA to state:

 “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.”

So, don’t go nuts. Choose unsalted, raw and in moderation.

If you have any questions or require assistance with Health Claims, please contact Focal Point Research Inc. We are industry leading Regulatory Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.