Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc., creator of Hawaiian island-harvested macadamia nut foods under the Royal Hawaiian Orchards brand, announced the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s petition to claim that consuming macadamia nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances. The milestone decision follows nearly two years of FDA review, and marks a significant evolution in the recognition of macadamia nuts as a potentially healthful food, which will positively benefit the entire macadamia nut industry.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States.1 While the FDA previously approved a qualified health claim for the consumption of other tree nuts, today’s announcement is the first time the agency has extended a qualified health claim to macadamia nuts specifically. The following statement may now be applied in connection to the consumption of whole or chopped macadamia nuts, including raw, blanched, roasted, salted or unsalted, and/or lightly coated and/or flavored macadamia nuts:
“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” See nutritional information for fat (and calorie) content.
“This is a truly a historic day for everyone in the macadamia nut industry,” said Scott Wallace of Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut. “Research about the benefits macadamia nuts have for heart health has existed for decades, and we’ve worked tirelessly to secure the legal right to share this with the masses. Many people associate almonds, pistachios and walnuts with better health, but this momentous decision from the FDA now puts macadamia nuts in a similar category. We want consumers to know that there is real, supportive evidence with respect to the benefits of consuming macadamia nuts. Consumers are aware of the benefits of consuming other tree nuts like almonds and walnuts, and we want them to know similar benefits are available from consuming macadamia nuts.  Royal Hawaiian Orchards makes a variety of options – from savory roasted nuts, to macadamia milks, confections and more – that are now widely available, so it’s easy to enjoy both the great taste and the benefits of macadamias almost anywhere in the country.”
Macadamia nuts have no cholesterol and are high in monounsaturated fats—the same healthy fats found in olive oil and avocados, which are known to help reduce bad cholesterol levels and can lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Scientists first discovered that adding macadamia nuts to the diet appeared to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood during the 1990s and 2000s. Since then, researchers have been exploring the connection, resulting in a growing body of scientific evidence supporting that a diet including macadamia nuts can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. One ounce of macadamia nuts (about 15 nuts) is also an excellent source of thiamin and manganese, a good source of dietary fiber and copper, and contains protein, magnesium, iron and phytosterols.