Macadamia consumption does not lead to weight gain, suggests new study

Macadamia consumption does not lead to weight gain and may have other positive benefits on cardiometabolic risk factors for overweight and obese adults. These were the findings of a study that was recently published in The Journal of Nutritional Science1.

The MAC (Macadamia Nut Effects on Adiposity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors) study was a randomized crossover trial led by Dr. Joan Sabaté and conducted by researchers from Loma Linda University in the USA that analysed how macadamia consumption affects body weight, waist circumference and other cardiometabolic risk factors.

How the study was conducted

The study consisted of 35 individuals aged from 40 to 75 and with a body mass index between 25 and 39, a waist circumference greater than 102 cm for men and 89 cm for women, and one additional cardiometabolic risk factor.

Participants were randomly assigned to two groups. One group was instructed to consume macadamia nuts daily for a total of 8 weeks, representing 15% of their total energy. Then, following a 2-week “wash-out” period, they returned to their normal diet for another 8 weeks.

The other group consumed their normal diet during the first phase and switched to the macadamia diet during the second phase. The researchers then assessed the cardiometabolic risk factors using statistical analyses.

Results deliver good news

The results showed that consumption of macadamias did not lead to changes in waist circumference, body mass or percentage of body fat. Moreover, compared to the control diet, consumption of macadamias led to lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and reductions in average weight and body mass index, although these were not statistically significant.

Lead researcher Dr. Joan Sabaté said, “Weight gain is a major public health problem and an issue of concern for many individuals. Our macadamia study with free-living participants showed that including one to two servings of macadamias in their daily diets does not result in weight gain.”

The study was funded by the global macadamia industry. The call was coordinated by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) with the support of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research and Dissemination.

Strengthening the macadamia health story

Macadamias support a healthy lifestyle in so many ways, and these new findings have further strengthened their health credentials while dispelling the myth that macadamia consumption leads to weight gain.

Macadamias are a highly satiating nut that support heart, brain, gut and skin health. They also contain the highest monounsaturated fat content of all tree nuts, with 80% of their total fat content being the heart-healthy monounsaturated type2,3.

This is great news for the millions of consumers around the world who love macadamias and food and beverage manufacturers eager to leverage the taste, texture and health benefits of macadamias in their products.

If you’re looking for an Australian macadamia supplier to meet your product development needs, head to our supplier directory for details.


1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/jns.2023.39
2 Perfilyev A, Dahlman I , Gillberg L et al, Am J Clin Nutr. Impact of polyunsaturated and saturated fat overfeeding on the DNA-methylation pattern in human adipose tissue: a randomized controlled trial. 2017 Apr;105(4):991-1000.
3 Del Gobbo LC, Falk MC, Feldman R et al. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Epub 2015 Nov 11.

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