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Despite evidence linking regular nut consumption with reduced chronic disease risk, population-level intakes remain low. Research suggests nut-promoting advice from doctors facilitates regular nut consumption. However, there is no information on current nut recommendation practices of health professionals. The aim of the present study was to examine the advice provided by health professionals regarding nut consumption.
In this cross-sectional study, participants were invited to complete a survey including questions about their nut recommendation practices.
New Zealand (NZ).
The NZ Electoral Roll was used to identify dietitians, general practitioners and practice nurses.
In total 318 dietitians, 292 general practitioners and 149 practice nurses responded. Dietitians were more likely (82·7 %) to recommend patients increase consumption of nuts than general practitioners (55·5 %) and practice nurses (63·1 %; both P<0·001). The most popular nuts recommended were almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts, with most health professionals recommending raw nuts. The most common recommendation for frequency of consumption by dietitians and practice nurses was to eat nuts every day, while general practitioners most frequently recommended 2–4 times weekly, although not statistically significantly different between professions. Dietitians recommended a significantly greater amount of nuts (median 30 g/d) than both general practitioners and practice nurses (20 g/d; both P<0·001).
Dietitians were most likely to recommend consumption of nuts in accordance with current guidelines, but there are opportunities to improve the adoption of nut consumption recommendations for all professions. This may be a viable strategy for increasing population-level nut intakes to reduce chronic disease.
Despite considerable evidence supporting the health benefits of regular nut consumption, nut intakes remain lower than recommended among many populations. Understanding how the general population perceives nuts could inform strategies to promote regular nut consumption and increase intakes among the general public.
Cross-sectional study. Participants were invited to complete a questionnaire which included information on nut consumption and knowledge and perceptions of nuts.
The study was set in New Zealand (NZ).
Participants (n 1600), aged 18 years or over, were randomly selected from the NZ electoral roll.
A total of 710 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate 44 %). More than half of the respondents believed that nuts are healthy, filling, high in protein and high in fat. The most common reason cited by consumers for eating nuts was taste (86 % for nuts, 85 % for nut butters), while dental issues was the most frequent reason for avoidance. About 40 % of respondents were not aware of the effects of nut consumption on lowering blood cholesterol and CVD risk.
Despite overall basic knowledge of the nutritional value of nuts, a substantial proportion of the general population was unaware of the cardioprotective effects of nuts. The present study identified common motivations for eating and avoiding nuts, as well as perceptions of nuts which could affect intake. These should guide the content and direction of public health messages to increase regular nut consumption. The public’s knowledge gaps should also be addressed.
To conduct the first nationwide population survey to examine the associations between changes in speed of eating and weight gain over 3 years. The study also explored whether faster eating at baseline was related to healthy-weight women becoming overweight after 3 years.
Longitudinal. At baseline, participants were randomly selected from a nationally representative sampling frame to participate in a prospective study. Women completed self-administered baseline questionnaires on demographic and health measures. Self-reported speed of eating, smoking status, physical activity, menopause status, and height and weight were collected at baseline and again 3 years later.
Nationwide study, New Zealand.
Women (n 1601) aged 40–50 years were recruited at baseline from New Zealand electoral rolls.
There was no evidence of associations between 3-year BMI adjusting for baseline BMI and either baseline speed of eating (slower and faster; P=0·524) or change in speed of eating (consistently faster eating, consistently slower eating, slower eating at baseline but not at 3 years, faster eating at baseline but not at 3 years; P=0·845). Of the 488 women with healthy BMI (18·5 to <25·0 kg/m2) at baseline, seventy-seven (15·8 %) became overweight (BMI≥25·0 kg/m2) after 3 years. Compared with those who were slower eaters at baseline, faster eating at baseline did not increase the risk of becoming overweight 3 years later (P=0·958) nor did change in speed of eating (P=0·236).
Results suggest that once women have reached mid-life, faster eating does not predict further weight gain.
To examine the association between eating in response to hunger and satiety signals (intuitive eating) and BMI. A second objective was to determine whether the hypothesized higher BMI in less intuitive eaters could be explained by the intake of specific foods, speed of eating or binge eating.
Cross-sectional survey. Participants were randomly selected from a nationally representative sampling frame. Eating in response to hunger and satiety signals (termed ‘intuitive eating’), self-reported height and weight, frequency of binge eating, speed of eating and usual intakes of fruits, vegetables and selected high-fat and/or high-sugar foods were measured.
Nationwide study, New Zealand.
Women (n 2500) aged 40–50 years randomly selected from New Zealand electoral rolls, including Māori rolls (66 % response rate; n 1601).
Intuitive Eating Scale (IES) scores were significantly associated with BMI in an inverse direction, after adjusting for potential confounding variables. When controlling for confounding variables, as well as potential mediators, the inverse association between intuitive eating (potential range of IES score: 21–105) and BMI was only slightly attenuated and remained statistically significant (5·1 % decrease in BMI for every 10-unit increase in intuitive eating; 95 % CI 4·2, 6·1 %; P < 0·0 0 1). The relationship between intuitive eating and BMI was partially mediated by frequency of binge eating.
Eating in response to hunger and satiety signals is strongly associated with lower BMI in mid-age women. The direction of causality needs to be investigated in longitudinal studies and randomized controlled trials.
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