World-first scientific research project commences for global macadamia industry

The global macadamia industry today launched a critical, world-first research project aimed at providing strong evidence to support the role of macadamias in a healthy diet.

Key macadamia-producing countries Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and Malawi have made a substantial financial investment into the research, and the project has been supported by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) and INC World Forum.

The global macadamia health research project will be a large scale, long term randomized parallel intervention study delivered by acclaimed researcher Professor Joan Sabate from Loma Linda University Medical Centre.

It is the first of its kind in the macadamia industry, and the first time that multiple origins have contributed to such a project. It is considered critical to the industry’s ability to continue to market macadamias as a premium product.

The Australian macadamia industry’s market development manager Lynne Ziehlke said there is considerable research that shows eating tree nuts regularly can protect against coronary heart disease, decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and help with weight management, as well as more than 200 research papers on the nutritional benefits of almonds and walnuts.

“Macadamias, like other tree nuts, have a potential cardio-protective role to play in a healthy, balanced diet and are a significant source of nutrients,” said Ms. Ziehlke.

“To date, the macadamia industry has not undertaken any clinical research of this magnitude, so today’s announcement represents a significant milestone.

“As well as providing strong evidence to support the role of macadamias in a healthy diet, the research is expected to provide many new opportunities for the product and drive further new investment in research,” said Ms. Ziehlke.

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association’s Barry Christie said that consumers are increasingly aware of the healthiness of nuts, which has helped to drive tree nut consumption by more than 75 per cent over the last ten years.

“We anticipate the outcomes of this research will help the global macadamia industry to capitalise even further on this trend, by guiding the development of more powerful messaging about the health benefits of macadamias to consumers, health professionals and regulators,” said Mr. Christie.

“It’s a very exciting development for our global industry, and we are delighted to be working together on a project that will benefit all macadamia producing regions.”

The study will compare the effect of a diet enriched in macadamias versus a control diet on insulin resistance and insulin secretion in individuals with insulin resistance. It will assess the effect of macadamia nut consumption on lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDH cholesterol and triglycerides) and other emergent risk factors of cardiovascular disease as well as on central obesity and body composition.

For more information contact:

Lynne Ziehlke, Market Development Manager, Australian Macadamia Society, Tel: +61 2 6622 4933.

Barry Christie, Operations Manager: Macadamias, Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association, Tel +27 13 753 2077

Mbugua Ngugi, Kenya Nut Company, Tel +254 20 222 5799

Maria Teresa Camargo, QueenNut Macadamia, Tel +55 14 3652-1910

Chris Payne, General Manager, EPM Macadamia Plantations & Export Processing, Tel +265 999 961 697

This project is part of the Australian macadamia industry marketing program and has been partly funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the macadamia industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.

ABOUT HORT INNOVATION Hort Innovation is a not-for-profit, grower-owned company that delivers more than $100 million in research, development and marketing activities on behalf of Australian horticulture each year.

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