Walnuts Improve Cholesterol Levels
WebMD News Archive
"Except for almonds, no other nut has been as well studied as
walnuts," Sabaté tells WebMD. "In a couple of studies, almonds have
been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL levels without changing
["good" cholesterol]. They showed very similar results to our study.
It's a reasonable assumption that any nuts from the same group could have that
effect, but as a scientist, I cannot say so. Research has to be done to prove
His study also helps quiet a controversy in nut research. "It has been
suspected that nuts, because they are high in polyunsaturated fat, could
actually increase LDL ["bad" cholesterol] levels. However, we did not
observe [this] in the walnut diet," says Sabaté.
In fact, he adds, "by incorporating a few walnuts a day into a typical
Western diet, we can expect even greater benefits -- if saturated fat is
replaced by walnuts."
Besides, adds Sabaté, walnut patties and meatballs are crunchier, with
richer texture and flavor than their beef-based counterparts. "My wife
makes walnut balls and almond balls instead of meatballs and, to me, they are
far more tasty than meatballs."
In reviewing the study, Ronald Krauss, MD, member and past chairman of the
American Heart Association's nutrition committee, tells WebMD, "Can people
gobble a bunch of walnuts and get similar results? I don't think we can say
Krauss brings up another issue. "Obesity is entering the picture more
and more as a major contributor not only to heart disease but also diabetes.
Nuts are rich in fat and high in calories, so we always have to temper our
enthusiasm. If you eat too many nuts, you get too many calories. And that's
always a caution."
- A recent study shows that a Mediterranean diet that includes a handful of
walnuts each day can lower "bad" cholesterol even more than the same
diet without the nuts.
- Researchers believe that walnut oil could have positive effects on
cholesterol, but it has not been studied.
- Also, in other studies, almonds have been found to have some benefit.
- One expert cautions that walnuts are rich in fat and calories.