In The News: Health Nuts

For years, fat-phobic eaters have carefully avoided nuts. They may have done themselves a disservice. Last week the FDA ruled that packagers of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans and hazelnuts may state on their labels that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day... may reduce the risk of heart disease" if part of a healthy overall diet. It was the first "qualified" health claim approved by the FDA under a new program that will give consumers more labeling information about the potential health impact of their food.

To many, it was welcome news. After all, who doesn't like nuts (except maybe the ones living next door)? Each nut has its own virtues. Walnuts are an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 oils, which are woefully scarce in the average American diet. Almonds are high in vitamin E. But given the calories, don't go nuts. The recommended portion is equal to a third of a cup, or a large handful.