Peanuts and tree nuts are a critical part of our country’s safe and healthy food supply, and have a major impact on our nation’s economy. Some people may believe nuts are environmentally unfriendly and don’t belong in a healthy diet, but the truth is clear. The PTNPA takes seriously its duty to dispel these myths and promote the valuable role peanuts and tree nuts play in society, health and wellness. We’re sharing highlights from their recent study of the facts about the nut industry:
Nut producers depend on natural resources and are leaders in efficient and responsible water use.
- The amount of water used by California agriculture has remained mostly flat since 1967, even though almond acreage has increased about 67 percent since 2000.
- Almonds, along with other nuts, are efficient commodities which do not require more water than many other agricultural crops.
- Almonds only use about 9 percent of California’s managed agricultural water, but grow on about 13 percent of California farmland.
Providing safe and healthy peanuts and tree nuts for buyers and consumers worldwide is a top priority for the nut industry.
- Food quality and safety measures are constantly being evaluated and updated to ensure safe, reliable nut production and processing.
- The Food Safety Modernization Act is the most significant and sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years, shifting the focus of food safety from contamination response to contamination prevention.
Honeybee and beneficial insect health is an issue tree nut producers care about deeply.
- Honeybees and almond trees depend on each other: almond blossoms are a nutritious food source for honeybees, while almond trees rely on honeybees for pollination.
- When the threat to honeybee health became apparent, almond producers acted quickly to adopt best management practices that protect the health of this valuable natural resource.
All types of food allergies in children are increasing, but fortunately peanut and nut allergies are still relatively rare.
- Fortunately, more than 98% of children in the United States can enjoy peanuts without issues — making it less prevalent than milk and egg allergies in children.
- The trend of childhood food allergies isn’t isolated to nuts alone, with total food allergies in children increasing approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.
Experts consistently recommend education and proper food management practices.
- There is no fail-safe way to prevent any food allergen from inadvertently entering any public environment. So, these types of food bans may create a false sense of security.
- No evidence has been found to determine that casual contact with peanut butter can cause life-threatening reactions.
- Many experts believe comprehensive food allergy management programs that are understood by doctors, nutritionists, parents, caregivers and school systems are the best solution for managing food allergies.
The nut industry takes the issue of food allergies seriously and shares the concerns of others.
- Many PTNPA companies and industry partners, such as the National Peanut Board, continue to devote significant time, money and other resources to food allergy research, outreach and education.
- The nut industry and many experts share the belief that comprehensive food allergy management programs and emergency response plans are the best ways to protect people with food allergies.
- The PTNPA continues to establish relationships with allergy research and management organizations and related associations in an effort to clarify facts, provide common understanding and work together to create positive and meaningful solutions for all involved.
Obesity, even among children, is a critical problem in our country, but nuts are healthy food options.
- Protein is a critical piece of the government’s MyPlate nutrition guide, and nuts and nut butters are an easy and delicious way to meet daily requirements.
- Peanuts, in particular, are packed with 7 grams of protein in every ounce. And peanuts and tree nuts are full of other vitamins and minerals, including fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
- Peanuts make other healthy foods more appealing to kids. The National Peanut Board found that 64% of kids said they’d eat more fruits and vegetables if served with their favorite peanut butter dip.
Nuts are part of the weight management solution.
- Peanuts and tree nuts are part of the solution to America’s obesity epidemic, fitting the profile of a health food when consumed in recommended portions as great snacking options or healthy culinary ingredients.
- Peanuts and tree nuts are nutrient-dense foods, with peanuts containing 7 grams of protein in every ounce and almonds and pistachios containing 6 grams per ounce. Nuts are also high in fiber and have plenty of good fats.
- Research shows that fiber and protein help promote a feeling of fullness. And feeling full can help reduce the excessive snacking that contributes to obesity.
Not all fat is bad — nuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
- The unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts are part of a heart-healthy diet.
- Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Nutritionists and members of the medical community recommend nuts as part of a healthy diet.