Leading researchers in the field of nutrition addressed key questions related to nuts and health: nut consumption and cardiovascular health; benefits in type 2 diabetes, and effects on appetite and body weight. Over 120 researchers, nutritionists and academics gathered in the INC symposium to debate research findings and share experiences.
Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Chair of Nutrition and Bromatology at the University Rovira i Virgili, Spain, and member of the INC Scientific Committee, co-moderated the session along with Dr. Emilio Ros, Head of the Lipid Clinic at Barcelona's Clinic Hospital, Spain.
Dr. Luc Djoussé, a cardiovascular epidemiologist in Harvard's Medical School, with major focus on the role of nutrition on the risk of cardiovascular diseases, reviewed the current epidemiologic data on the role of nut consumption on the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. In addition, his presentation reflected on gaps in the field and future directions.
Dr. Joan Sabaté, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Loma Linda University, talked about the effect of nut consumption on cardiovascular risk including serum lipids and lipoproteins. He summarized the results from LLU pooled analysis of 25 clinical trials and outlined the evidence from outstanding epidemiological studies, including the European Prospective Investigation on Cancer and Nutrition.
Nuts are energy dense, but epidemiological studies and clinical trials indicate that their inclusion in the diet does not promote weight gain. Evidence indicates this is attributable to their high satiety value and poor bioaccessibility of the energy they contain, among other factors. Prof. Richard Mattes, Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, reviewed the most recent work on the effects of nuts on appetite and body weight.
To conclude the session, Dr. David Jenkins, Director of the Clinical Nutrition Risk Factor and Modification Centre at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, presented the large, longer-term study of mixed nut intake in type 2 diabetic subjects, according to which nuts appear to help control type 2 diabetes and prevent its complications.