In countries of the Mediterranean region, nuts have been consumed in moderate quantities since ancient times. Epidemiological studies show lower risk of cardiovascular diseases in populations with frequent nut consumption, independent from other dietary components. This article assesses nut consumption in Spain and other countries using different sources of data collected at the country, household or individual levels. The per capita consumption of nuts in Spain in 2001 was 7·9 g/person/d. The varieties most widely consumed are walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts. Results of the eVe study estimate an average nut consumption in the Spanish population aged 25–60 years of 3·3 g/person/d. No significant statistical differences were observed between men and women. Consumption is higher in men aged between 35 and 44 years (4·5 g/d) and in women aged between 45 and 54 years (3·5 g/d). In the population of 2–24 years, according to the enKid study, nut consumption is estimated at 4·9±18·5 g/person per d. The age group with the highest consumption is teenagers between 14 and 17 years. The northeastern, northern and eastern regions of Spain show the highest consumption. According to FAO balance sheets, in 2001, Lebanon (16·5 kg/person peryear) and Greece (11·9 kg/person per year) were the countries in the Mediterranean region with the highest consumption of nuts, followed by Spain (7·3 kg/person per year), Israel and Italy.