Over time, food consumption has deeply varied. In the late nineties, nuts were first discouraged due to their high fat content. However, in 1993, a publication derived from an U.S. nutrition intervention trial showed for the first time that walnut consumption significantly reduced serum cholesterol. From this moment, many randomized clinical trials, epidemiological studies and in vitro/in vivo mechanistic studies have explored and described the role of the consumption of different type of nuts on cardiovascular disease prevention, the management of lipid disorders, glycaemia and body weight, among other cardiometabolic and health-related conditions. Importantly, frequent nut consumption has also been associated with longevity, as assessed in landmark studies such as the Adventist Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Physicians’ Health Study and the PREDIMED trial.
Based on available scientific evidence, specific health claims have been accepted for nuts. Particularly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted a health claim for nuts in general and for walnuts in particular concerning heart disease prevention. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) only agreed on specific health claim for walnuts regarding beneficial effects on endothelial function.
In summary, due to accumulating evidence on nut consumption and health outcomes, it seems fit recapitulate and examine in detail, what is well known and established and what avenues of knowledge are still lacking in nut research. Summarizing all the evidence coming from research on nuts is also an extraordinary opportunity to display to the different health agencies the beneficial roles ascribed to nuts. NUTS 2021 is a unique opportunity to merge researchers from all over the globe and set a precedent in nut research.
- To summarize all the evidence related to the beneficial effects of nuts on health.
- To define new topics, needs and opportunities in nut research.
- To share knowledge with food industry and set new primary objectives.
- To develop scientific proceedings that summarize current knowledge of the nut-health axis.