10 MIN PREP TIME | 15 MIN COOK TIME | SERVES 4 PEOPLE
Thai-inspired macadamia crusted fish recipe by Nuts for Life
A handful of nuts could save public health $980 million every year
A first-of-its-kind report has found greater nut consumption could deliver major health care cost savings, particularly for one of Australia's deadliest conditions – cardiovascular disease The Economic Impact of Increased Nut Consumption in Australia – Summary Report, released today by Nuts for Life, found at least $980 million could be saved in health care expenditure each year, if all Australians ate a 30g handful of nuts daily1.
As part of this figure, a huge $281 million are potential savings gleaned from the reduction in the health care costs associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) – one of the leading causes of death in Australia, claiming a life every 12 minutes and costing the economy $11.8 billion in 2018-192.
Aside from the economic benefits to the public health purse relating to CVD savings, the report found it extends to other areas, particularly in cancer costs, with potential savings of $699 million. The economic modelling, conducted by KPMG, considered the diseases with the highest potential to be mitigated or prevented if nut consumption increased, the prevalence and impact of these diseases on population health, and government health care expenditure on them.
Nuts for Life Program Manager and dietitian Belinda Neville said decades of research highlights the health benefits of adding a handful of nuts into a daily diet.
As well as being associated with improved weight management3, a 2022 review of the combined findings of more than 145 systematic reviews and meta-analyses found a daily 30g handful of nuts was associated with:
• 25% reduced risk for coronary heart disease4
• 22% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD)4
• 21% reduced risk of CVD4
• 22% reduced risk of dying from all causes4
• 11% reduced risk of dying from cancer4
Yet, Australia Health Survey data shows that nut intake is chronically low, with just two per cent of Australians meeting the target of 30g (a handful) of nuts a day. The average intake of just 4.6g falls well short of this.
"A substantial shift in nut consumption patterns is needed to reduce this gap, and to realise the significant health and economic benefits of a daily 30g handful of nuts," said Ms Neville. For more information and to view the report, visit nutsforlife.com.au
1. KPMG, as commissioned by Nuts for Life. The health and economic impact of increased nut consumption in Australia: The evidence base to support elevating daily nut consumption among Australians. July 2023.
2. AIHW (2021) Disease expenditure in Australia 2018-19. Available online. NEWS ALERT – SEPTEMBER 2023
3. Nishi, S.K., et al., Are fatty nuts a weighty concern? A systematic review and meta-analysis and dose–response meta-regression of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews, 2021. 22(11): p. e13330.
4. Balakrishna, R., et al., Consumption of nuts and seeds and health outcomes including cardiovascular, diabetes and metabolic disease, cancer, and mortality: An umbrella review. Adv Nutr, 2022. 13(6): p. 2136-48.