KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Federal regulators have approved a Hawaii macadamia nut company's request to claim the nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval comes two years after discussions began, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/2w3fKXx ) Wednesday.

Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Inc. can now claim that "supportive but not conclusive research" shows that eating 1.5 ounces (43 grams) per day of macadamia nuts might reduce the risk of coronary heart disease if eaten "as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories."

Macadamia nuts are free of cholesterol and are high in monounsaturated fats, the same as those found in olive oil and avocados, the company said.

"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."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says coronary heart disease is the country's leading cause of death in men and women.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com