We were pleased recently to see a blog entry from Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education & Economics, about the new National Nutrition Research Roadmap that was released on March 4 by the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR).
The roadmap’s goal is to help guide government, academia and the private sector to more effective collaboration on federally funded human nutrition research. And it’s the result of more than a year of collaboration among ten different federal departments and agencies, more than 90 federal experts, and numerous public comments.
As we review the roadmap’s recommendations and consider how we can contribute to them in our own nutrition research program here at Almond Board of California (ABC), it’s a good time to lay out some basic facts about the way we work. ABC is committed to advancing public health and wellness by conducting sound science on the nutrient composition and health benefits of almonds. To this end, we’ve funded more than $20 million in research over the past several decades to further investigate the potential impact almonds have on both human and environmental health.
Did you know?
- Research is a core part of what we do. Founded and funded by almond farmers and processors, ABC seeks “to educate, research, innovate and promote” all there is to know about our product. Our research has helped advance understanding of almonds’ health benefits related to heart health, diabetes, weight management and more.
- We prioritize transparency and quality in the research we fund. It’s in everyone’s best interest when we select the highest quality research proposals we can. Working with some of the best and most credible nutrition researchers in the world who use sound study design, we take great pride in the caliber and strength of the nutrition research we fund, and always disclose when we fund it.
- Everything we say publicly about our research results is reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a Federal Marketing Order administered by the USDA, all of our research messaging is reviewed to ensure study findings are put in the correct context, not distorted, oversimplified or generalized beyond the population that was being investigated. (Of note, no taxpayer dollars are spent on this process.)
- All research is structured to answer a question that will advance what we know. All the research we fund is set up to address a specific question or questions. This is important to ensure a systematic approach to a study’s design, and ensures we and others can properly analyze and draw accurate conclusions in the end.
- Industry-funded studies have led to important findings about healthy dietary patterns and specific nutrients. From 1980-2000, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended that people “avoid too much fat,” or “choose a diet low in fat.” It was research, some funded by ABC, which led to the current understanding that different types of fats have different, and beneficial, effects on health and wellness. These findings have had dramatic impacts on the changing guidance on fat – which now encourages replacement of saturated fat with unsaturated fat in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
We’re always eager to discuss our research program – how much we’ve learned and all that we’d like to discover. Almonds are our passion, and, with the aim to educate, innovate and promote almonds to consumers, the government and the industry, we embrace the fact that research is fundamental to our purpose.
*Good news about almonds and heart health. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.