We thank Cooke and colleagues for their letter concerning the arginine content of nuts and its possible effect on the endothelium-derived relaxing factor nitric oxide and, hence, the cascade of events affected by this substance. Based on their work, the idea that nuts may derive some of their possible antiatherogenic influence from their arginine content is certainly of interest. We were aware of the high arginine content of nuts (eg, macadamia, 0.9; almonds, 2.5; walnuts, 2.1; and peanuts, 3.5g/100 g of nut) and note that their lysine/arginine ratios are some of the lowest among commonly eaten high-protein foods. It was suggested in some animal studies1-3 that a low value of this ratio predicts lower levels of serum cholesterol. We agree that the hypothesis described by Cooke et al deserves further study.
As the nutrient and mineral content of nuts appears theoretically favorable with respect to fiber, fatty acids, antioxidant