Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C

Author(s): Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, Gates JE, Cragen LN, et al.


Objective: To compare lipid-altering effects of an almond-based diet with an olive oil-based diet, against a cheese and butter-based control diet.

Methods: Forty-five free-living hyperlipidemic men (n = 12) and women (n = 33) with a mean plasma total cholesterol (TC) of 251 +/- 30 mg/dL followed one of three diets; almond-based, olive oil-based, or dairy-based for 4 weeks. Total fat in each diet was matched, and the study-provided sources of fat comprised the major portion of fat intake.

Results: Reductions in TC and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) between the three groups were significantly different from the almond group (both p < 0.001). Within group analysis revealed that the almond-based diet induced significant reductions in TC (p < 0.05), LDL-C (p < 0.001), and the TC:HDL ratio (p < 0.001), while HDL-C levels were preserved. TC and HDL-C in the control diet were significantly increased from baseline (both p < 0.05), while the olive oil-based diet resulted in no significant changes over the study period. Weight did not change significantly.

Conclusion: Results suggest that the more favorable lipid-altering effects induced by the almond group may be due to interactive or additive effects of the numerous bioactive constituents found in almonds.

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