This month, the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) approved the qualified health claim that consuming macadamia nuts decreases the risk of heart disease. Two years ago, nut company Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc. filed a petition with the FDA that included 74 scientific publications that established the qualified health claim, which the government agency has finally approved. The landmark decision marks the first time the FDA has approved such a health claim for a food that contains more than four grams of saturated fat per serving. “However,” the FDA explained in its ruling, “macadamia nuts have a favorable ratio of unsaturated fat (5:1) and contain other potentially beneficial substances such as dietary fiber and phytosterols.” Mounting research has linked the consumption of animal products to an increased risk of contracting a host of illnesses, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, a 32-year longitudinal study published last year in scientific journal Jama Internal Medicine found that consuming a plant-based diet, including nuts, drastically reduced the risk of heart disease.
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