Medical Research: What was the problem you were focused on?
Dr. Kim: We were focused on the problem of adolescent metabolic syndrome, a major public health problem. Our objective was to determine whether nut intake is linked with any difference in odds for metabolic syndrome in US adolescents.
Medical Research: How is metabolic syndrome defined?
Dr. Kim: In general it is diagnosed when there are 3 or more of the following things: increased belly fat, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, elevated triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol.
Medical Research: How did you do your study?
Dr. Kim: We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), years 2003-2010, to examine health status and the diet history for 2,322 US adolescents age 12 to 19 years.
Dr. Kim: Our first major finding was that adolescents who ate at least 12.9 grams of nuts per day – this is the equivalent of about 1 ounce of nuts 3 times per week – had a dramatically lower odds for metabolic syndrome compared to adolescents who ate less than that amount. The odds for nut-consumers was only about 43% of the odds for non-consumers. This remained true after controlling for age, gender, race, income, and dietary factors including sugar, fruit, and vegetable intake.
Our second major finding was that average nut intake is very low among US adolescents – only about 5 grams per day – and more than 75% of US adolescents eat no nuts at all on a typical day.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Kim: First, that a modest amount of daily nut consumption among adolescents is associated with a much reduced odds for metabolic syndrome. This corroborates in adolescents what has been observed in many studies of adults. Our study was cross-sectional, however, so causality cannot be determined. And the second take away point is that, in spite of what we are learning about the health benefits of nut consumption, the vast majority of US adolescents eat no nuts at all on a typical day.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Kim: Further prospective research is needed to test whether prescribing nuts to adolescents will improve their cardiovascular risk profile.
ENDO abstract discussing:
Authors: Roy J. Kim, MD, MPH, and David Leonard, PhD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics,
Division of Endocrinology, and Children’s Health, Dallas,
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Roy Kim, MD, Depts. Endocrinology and Pediatrics, UT Southwestern Medical Center (2015). Nuts May Lower Odds Of Metabolic Syndrome In Adolescents