Tree nut consumption is associated with better nutrient adequacy and diet quality in adults: national health and nutrition examination survey 2005–2010.

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O’Neil, C.E., T.A. Nicklas, V.L. Fulgoni III, 2015. Tree nut consumption is associated with better nutrient adequacy and diet quality in adults: national health and nutrition examination survey 2005–2010.  Nutrients. 7(1):595-607.

Nutrient adequacy of tree nut consumers has not been examined. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005–2010 data were used to assess the association of tree nut consumption by adults 19+ years (n = 14,386) with nutrient adequacy and diet quality. Covariate adjusted usual intake was determined using two 24-h dietary recalls and the National Cancer Institute method. Percentages of the consumption groups below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) or above the Adequate Intake (AI) were determined. Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI) score. Usual intake data showed consumers of tree nuts had a lower percentage (p < 0.0001) of the population below the EAR for vitamins A (22 ± 5 vs. 49 ± 1), E (38 ± 4 vs. 94 ± 0.4) and C (17 ± 4 vs. 44 ± 1); folate (2.5 ± 1.5 vs. 12 ± 0.6); calcium (26 ± 3 vs. 44 ± 1); iron (3 ± 0.6 vs. 9 ± 0.4); magnesium (8 ± 1 vs. 60 ± 1); and zinc (1.5 ± 1 vs. 13 ± 1). Tree nut consumers had a higher percentage (p < 0.0001) of the population above the AI for fiber (33 ± 3 vs. 4 ± 0.3) and potassium (12 ± 3 mg vs. 2 ± 0.2 mg). HEI-2005 total score was higher (p < 0.0001) in tree nut consumers (61 ± 0.7 vs. 52 ± 0.3) than non-consumers. Health professionals should encourage the use of tree nuts as part of a dietary approach to healthy eating.