Improved diet quality, nutrient intake, and health associated with out‐of‐hand tree nut consumption in U.S. Adults: NHANES 1999‐2004
NHANES (1999‐2004), data were used to examine the association of out‐of‐hand tree nut consumption (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts) with diet quality, nutrient intakes, and health risks in adults 19+ yrs (n=13,292). Using 24 hour recall data, tree nut consumption was defined as intake of ≥¼ ounce/d tree nuts eaten out‐of‐hand excluding tree nuts contained in cereals and other foods. Means, prevalence rates, and standard errors, were determined via ANOVA (adjusted for covariates). Consumers (n=514) had improved diet quality, measured using Healthy Eating Index‐2005, (60.0 ± 0.6 vs. 49.6 ± 0.3, p<0.01) and significantly higher (p<0.01) intakes of adult shortfall nutrients (difference between groups): fiber (4.5 g/d), vitamin E (3.9 mg AT/d), magnesium (102 mg/d), and potassium (278 mg/d) with lower sodium intake (‐283 mg/d). BMI (‐0.9 kg/m2, p<0.01), waist circumference (‐2.0 cm, p<0.01) and the prevalence (%) of hypertension (29.2 ± 2.1 vs. 33.8 ± 0.7, p<0.05), low HDL‐C (27.8 ± 2.2 vs. 34.0 ± 0.7, p<0.01), and metabolic syndrome (17.7 ± 2.5 vs. 26.3 ± 0.7, p<0.01) were lower in consumers as compared to non‐consumers. Tree nut consumption was associated with a higher overall diet quality score, improved nutrient intakes, and lower prevalence of health risks.