Jeff Novick RD on the Cashew Study.

 Jeff Novick RD on the Cashew Study.

Plant based registered dietitian Jeff Novick is known for shedding light on many sketchy studies linking nut consumption with heart health.  He’s at it again as he breaks down a study in which the authors concluded the following:

Results from this study provide support that the daily consumption of cashews, when substituted for a high-carbohydrate snack, may be a simple dietary strategy to help manage total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

The study is entitled “Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial”.

Jeff’s Take Published on The McDougall Forum

Here is Jeff’s take on the study.  You can decide if you agree with the author’s conclusions:

At the last 10-Day program, during my presentation, The Facts on Fats: From Oil to Nuts, someone (well experienced in research) challenged my critique of the studies saying, they can’t really be doing what I am saying they are doing, including calling these results significant and having it spread around the media as breaking news.

I said, welcome to the new science.

On that note, this study just came out and is getting quite a bit of attention. Harvard wrote it up. Some well respected researchers have even shared in on social media.

So, lets take a closer look (with a touch of sarcasm).

OK, a little more than a touch

The study is… “Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial”

Am J Clin Nutr, Epub 2017 Mar 2 doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.150037.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28356271

As we can see, it was recently published in the AJCN, which is considered one of the better, if not the best, nutrition journal.

The results state….

Consumption of the cashew diet resulted in a significantly greater median change from baseline in total cholesterol …. LDL cholesterol …. non-HDL cholesterol … and the total-cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio

WOW, significantly greater median change!!!

The Conclusion states:

In comparison with a control diet, the incorporation of cashews into typical American diets decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Results from this study provide support that the daily consumption of cashews, when substituted for a high-carbohydrate snack, may be a simple dietary strategy to help manage total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

WOW!

If you eat nuts instead of carbs(!!!), you get better total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Now, for the closer look….

First, it was very well controlled, providing most of the meals and instructions on what to eat for the other meals.

“The study was conducted as a randomized, crossover, isocaloric, controlled-feeding study, with two 28-d intervention periods and a 2-wk washout period between interventions”

Second, lets look at the results and conclusions…

From Table 4 – LDL cholesterol went from 155.5 to 142.8

It dropped 4.8% and went from high risk to still in high risk (which is anything over 100, or if you have disease, we say anything over 70) –

Total cholesterol went from 224.5 to 220.

It dropped 3.9% and went from high risk to still in high risk (which is anything over 190, though we want it under 165) –

HDL went from 52.5 to 50.5,

Even though it went down, both could be considered good, which is anything over 40, though they say over 60 is considered ideal. –

Non-HDL went from 172 to 161

It dropped 5.3% and went from high risk to still in high risk (which is anything over “30 mg higher then the goal LDL”, which would be 130, or even 100) –

The Total Cholesterol/HDL Ratio went from 4.4 to 4.3

It dropped 0% (statistically) and should be below 3.5 –

Triglycerides went from 91 to 95

They went up but who cares, as anything below 100 is ideal.

Now, here is the best part. To get these “worthless” results, the cashews were compared to eating a high-carbohydrate snack.

Hmmm…

which high carbohydrate food was provided as the snack?

It was… … .

POTATO CHIPS!!!

Yes, potato chips!

Yes, this is the CRAP they publish calling the results significant and that gets spread around in the media as breaking news.

Jeff’s Current Recommendation on Nut Consumption

If you have seen my presentation, From Oil to Nuts and/or Nuts and Health, or have spent time in these forums, then you know my recommendations which I have taught for over 20 years, which are also taught at the McDougall program (and I taught at the Pritikin Program from 1998-2007 and at the E2 Immersions), are that for most people, the inclusion of “up to” 1-2 oz of nuts per day is fine. In the Nuts and Health talk, I even go “up to” 4 oz/day for certain populations in certain situations. A serving is 1 oz. So, that means, for most everyone, I am allowing 7-14 servings a week and for some populations, up to 28 servings a week.

Final Bit of Info on the Cashew Study

Some authors of the study were affiliated with the Kraft Heinz Company. In case you were wondering, Planters Nuts is a subsidiary of Kraft Heinz.  Just sayin.

Stay Healthy and Strong!

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