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Going Nuts Over Nuts

Just a few ounces of nuts is all it takes to improve glycemic control and exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular and other markers of health. The protective effects on metabolism could be explained by the ability of nuts to regulate inflammation and oxidation.
The last two decades have seen a proliferation of evidence linking tree nutconsumption with a range of health outcomes. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts are all examples of tree nuts.

Improve Glycemic Control

A recent review of 12 clinical trials found that daily intake of tree nuts improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

A group of researchers analyzed the results of 12 randomized controlled dietary trials to determine the effect of nuts on four markers including fasting glucose and fasting insulinin 450 predominantly middle-aged adults in a "first-of-its-kind" systemic review.

Improved glycemic control may relate to carb displacement with tree nuts.

Fat intake, especially monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), has been liberalized in diabetic diets to preserve HDL cholesterol and improve glycemic control. Two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrate foods improved both glycemic control and serum lipids in type 2 diabetes.

Epidemiologic studies have shown that nuts may lower the risk of diabetes incidence in women.

Compared with a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts has been found to be beneficial for Metabolic Syndrome management.

The ability of tree nuts to improve glycemic control may relate to a carbohydrate displacement mechanism by which tree nuts reduce the glycemic load of the diet by displacing high glycemic-index carbohydrates, according to the review.

Lower All-Cause Mortality Rates

A recent large pooled analysis of two of the Harvard cohorts and a recent meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies also tied daily nut consumption to lower all-cause mortality rates. Recent evidence that tree nuts lower cholesterol also resulted in an FDA-qualified health claim and their inclusion in heart association guidelines for cardiovascular risk reduction.

Nuts Decrease Cancer Risk By More Than One-Third

The data, from a large-scale prospective study, investigated the association between nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in more than 75,000 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Study, and had no previous history of cancer.

"Frequent nut consumption is inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer in this large prospective cohort of women, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer," explained the research team - led by Dr Ying Bao of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Boost Semen Quality

Led by Dr Wendie Robbins at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, a research team revealed that eating 75 grams of walnuts a day improves the vitality, motility, and morphology of sperm in healthy men aged 21 to 35. The study was published in Biology of Reproduction.

It's Time To Give Nuts A Prominent Place On The Food Pyramid

Given all this evidence, many researchers now think that nuts should be moved to a more prominent place on the government's food pyramid. In other words, small amounts should be part of your daily diet.

There are many substances in nuts that may explain their heart-healthy potential (and other health benefits). Nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: these can benefit overall metabolic processes, especially when substituted for foods such as meats or cheeses which many people have problems digesting.

Nuts provide:

- folate and other B vitamins: these may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood levels of homocysteine.

- copper, potassium, and magnesium--all three linked to heart health--and other minerals.

- vitamin E, possibly cardio-protective.

- arginine, an amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and inhibits blood clotting.

- fiber, with all its health benefits.

- phytochemicals (notably sterols, ellagic acid, polyphenols, and saponins) that may act as antioxidants and lower cholesterol.

Which Nut Is Best

All nuts have a lot in common. Most have 160 to 190 calories and 14 to 19 grams of fat per ounce; at least three-quarters of the calories come from fat. They are also among the best plant sources of protein.
There are some nutritional differences. Walnuts are richest in heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid similar to those in fish); almonds are richest in calcium and vitamin E; brazil nuts are the best dietary source of selenium. Macadamia nuts have the most calories and fat; chestnuts the least (just 70 calories and 1 gram of fat). And peanuts are not true nuts, but legumes (like dried beans). Similar nutritionally to nuts, peanuts contain some resveratrol, a beneficial compound found in grapes.

Stick To Raw and Unprocessed

Nuts tend to be satisfying and, according to some studies, help reduce hunger longer than many foods. But only if you eat them without sugar or salt coatings which can have the opposite effect. Roasted and processed nuts destroy much of the nutritional content so stick with raw nuts when possible.

An ounce or two a day will do. Instead of using nuts as a snack, when you might eat large amounts, use them as part of a meal. Chopped nuts are tasty in fruit or vegetable salads, yogurt, oatmeal and breakfast cereals. When possible, substitute nuts for foods rich in saturated fat. Organic raw peanut butter, for instance, is definitely a healthier choice for a sandwich than cheese or most meats.

And spread the news: Raw nut butters have the same nutritional advantages as nuts.


Dr. Marianna Pochelli is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine specializing in the treatment of disease through superfoods and herbal strategies. She actively promotes detoxification, colon cleansing, and a vegetarian lifestyle using living foods as a platform to health.

A new study out from the Harvard group

A new study out from the Harvard group concludes: A handful of nuts per day, as a replacement to less healthful foods and as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.

New award for Pino Calcagni

Pino Calcagni wins the VINACAS Heritage Award 2014 calcagni_winner_2014
On 16th of May 2014, the most precious "Vinacas Heritage Award" of the Vietnam Cashew Industry has been solemnly presented to Mr. Pino Calcagni – thanks to his exceptional and deep commitment to the Global and Vietnam Cashew Industries during the past years.
Thanks to the INC and Mr. Pino Calcagni personally, the Global Cashew Council was founded in May 21, 2011 at the Budapest INC World Congress and is now contributing much to the sustainable development of the global cashew industry.
The "Vinacas Heritage Award" has been officially announced by current VINACAS President Mr. Nguyen Duc Thanh in front of 300 delegates in Vung Tau city – Vietnam during the Gala Dinner of the Golden Cashew Rendezvous Vietnam 2014 in May 16, 2014.
Mr. Pino is the former President of the INC and also the former President of the fresh produce industry association Freshfel Europe, currently the Vice President of the INC and the President of Besana Group.
This new award is a further proof of the outstanding contribution that Pino Calcagni has given to Nut & Dried Fruit World.

Health & Wellness

Protein in focus

Product developers are incorporating protein into a variety of applications
Consumer packaged goods companies are capitalizing on the demand for protein, and consumers appear to be responding. Of those consumers surveyed by the market research firm The NPD Group, 78% said protein contributes to a healthy diet, and more than half said they want to get more protein into their diets.
“Consumers want more protein in their diets,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for NPD and author of “Eating Patterns in America.” “While our interest in protein is growing, we’re looking for alternatives to meat. Many of us are looking to lower the cost of our protein sources, and animal meat is generally more expensive than plant-based protein. The cost of meat helps explain the growth in Greek yogurt and other alternate protein sources.”
The power of the trend was on display with the release of the market research firm Information Resources Inc.’s (I.R.I.) most recent New Product Pacesetters report in early March. The report highlights C.P.G. products that have achieved significant sales levels during their first year on the market.
Of the top 10 products on the list, five feature protein as a better-for-you ingredient, including Light & Fit Greek yogurt from the Dannon Co.; Yoplait Greek 100 from General Mills: Müller Yogurt, which is produced through a joint venture between the Müller Group and PepsiCo; Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches from Kellogg Co.; and Atkins frozen meals from Atkins Nutritionals.
The New Product Pacesetters highlight several important trends, most notably the power of yogurt as a source of protein. The category continues to grow, with a wide variety of product introductions, including Alpina Foods, Miami, extending its line of Greek yogurt products, and Müller Yogurt adding to its line with the introduction of such dessert flavors as dark chocolate and cherry as well as dark chocolate and pecan granola.
While there is widespread agreement among consumers protein is necessary in a healthy diet, according to NPD, there is confusion over the optimal amount of protein that should be consumed on a typical day. The research firm found that more than three-quarters of primary grocery shoppers say protein contributes to a healthy diet, but almost as many say they are unsure of the recommended daily amount.
“It is important for food and beverage marketers to highlight wherever possible that their products are a good source of lean protein,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for NPD. “In fact, the protein study we conducted showed certain messages about protein resonated more than others. The study also found nearly half of primary grocery shoppers have purchased protein-enriched foods, and many are willing to pay, or have already paid a premium for these products.”
Meat muscling into snacks
The Kraft Foods Group recently launched the Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Pack, which is available in four varieties with 13 grams of protein and features Oscar Mayer Selects meat, Kraft Natural cheese and Planters nuts.
“It struck us that, while protein snacking is a id=mce_marker9 billion category, meat — which for most people is synonymous with protein — has been largely absent from the conversation, and completely absent from the protein snacking space, which is where the growth is in the category,” said Thomas Bick, senior director of integrated marketing communications and advertising for Oscar Mayer.
Mr. Bick added that the P3 Portable Protein Packs are designed for the active person looking for a protein-packed snack to help keep them going strong.
“We believe these products have truly broad appeal, but we do anticipate a high interest from men,” he said.
Hillshire Brands had a similar notion when developing its Hillshire Snacking line, scheduled to roll out in the fourth quarter of the company’s fiscal year.
“Snacking is a priority for our company,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands, Feb. 19 during the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference. “We think protein snacking is a significant growth area, and we think it’s margin-accretive.”
The Hillshire Snacking line is available in two varieties. One features Italian salami or hot calabrese salami with cheese and crackers. The other variety is grilled meats with gourmet dipping sauces in such flavors as sweet chili, honey mustard or teriyaki.
“Why are we doing this?” Mr. Connolly said. “Because consumers are telling us they are looking for protein-oriented snacks — in this case, refrigerated, which there’s not a lot out there. But unlike some of the things you do see in the marketplace, this is truly of superior quality. So this is excellent, high-protein, low-calorie, low-fat snacking in a beautiful packaging execution.”
The new offerings from Kraft and Hillshire follow a similar effort made last spring by Hormel Foods Corp. with the launch of REV snack wraps. The youth-targeted products feature meat and cheese wrapped in a flatbread, and the wraps contain 15 grams or more of protein per serving.
“We obviously believed in the concept that meat and cheese combinations could be a positive element for consumers when it comes to snacking opportunities, and so it is certainly not (surprising) to us that others have looked at the marketplace the same way and have come up with different offerings,” said Jeff Ettinger, chairman, president and c.e.o. of Hormel Foods Corp., during a Feb. 20 earnings call. “I mean, I think the offerings that I’ve seen are really all quite different from each other, so there certainly is a possibility that they could well be complementary and hit consumers at slightly different occasions or maybe a slightly different age audience.”

Emerging sources of protein
The Natural Products Expo West tradeshow, held in Anaheim, Calif., March 6-9 featured many new products capitalizing on the protein trend.

Pea protein
Pea protein offers a solution to the demand for products made without bioengineered ingredients, such as soy or dairy cattle potentially fed feed sourced from bioengineered crops. A new line of organic chewy granola bars from Cascadian Farm, a General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, brand, leverages the plant-based source with 9 grams of protein in two flavors: honey roasted nut and peanut butter chocolate chip.
Kind Healthy Snacks, New York, introduced Strong & Kind bars that contain 10 grams of protein from a combination of almonds, seeds and pea protein. Varieties include such savory flavors as honey smoked barbecue, Thai sweet chili and roasted jalapeño.

Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds also were sprouting in snack mixes and bars. SuperSeedz, a brand from Kathie’s Kitchen L.L.C., North Haven, Conn., offers shelled, dry-roasted pumpkin seeds in eight flavors, including cocoa and coffee, cinnamon and sugar, and spicy varieties. Gypsy Crunch, a new line of gluten-free granolas, gets a protein boost from pumpkin seeds, in addition to pistachios and almonds.
Brad’s Raw Sprouted Seeds, from Brad’s Raw Foods, Pipersville, Pa., feature pumpkin seeds that have been soaked and germinated in filtered water and flavored with organic seasonings. Clif Bar & Co., Emeryville, Calif., is debuting new fruit and seed varieties under its Kit’s Organic bar line featuring a cherry and pumpkin seed flavor.

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, also were seen breaking out beyond hummus as a protein provider in such products as Freedom Foods, a business unit of the Freedom Foods Group, Caringbah, Australia, is introducing Pro-Teen Crunch cereal, which has 3 grams of protein per serving from chickpea flour. Organic garbanzo beans are the top ingredient in a new line of chocolate-flavored spreads from Hope Foods, Boulder, Colo., a maker of hummus products. Maya Kaimal Chickpea Chips are gluten-free snack chips in lightly salted, seeded multigrain and sweet chili varieties. Chick-a-peas are a baked crunchy chickpea-based snack in sea salt and falafel flavors.

Positioned as “the plant kingdom’s perfect protein” in a new line of bars from Keen-Wah, the ancient grain also is gaining fame as a plant-powered boost in such products as a breakfast range launching from Qrunch Foods, which also makes quinoa-based veggie burgers. Qrunch Toastables are gluten-free waffle alternatives made with organic quinoa, amaranth and millet in such flavors as cinnamon vanilla, blueberry lemon and rich maple. I Heart Keenwah quinoa clusters have a peanut brittle texture and sweet flavor combinations, including chocolate sea salt, cranberry cashew, ginger peanut and peanut butter cacao.

A new meat alternative product called neat, from Neat Foods L.L.C., Lancaster, Pa., uses pecans, along with garbanzo beans and gluten-free whole grain oats and cornmeal, to add protein and flavor with the texture of ground beef. The products are soy- and gluten-free and available in three varieties: original, Italian and Mexican, with 4 grams of protein per serving.

From Food Business News
Keith Nunes and Monica Watrous


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