How much does nut consumption affect blood lipid levels?

January 01, 0001

How much does nut consumption affect blood lipid levels?

The objectives of this study by Spanish and US authors was to estimate the effects of nut consumption on blood lipid levels and to examine whether different factors modify the effects. They pooled individual primary data from 25 nut consumption trials conducted in 7 countries among 583 men and women with normolipidemia and hypercholesterolemia who were not taking lipid-lowering medications. In a pooled analysis, they used mixed linear models to assess the effects of nut consumption and the potential interactions.

They found: "With a mean daily consumption of 67 g of nuts, the following estimated mean reductions were achieved: total cholesterol concentration (10.9 mg/dL, 5.1% change), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (LDL-C) (10.2 mg/dL, 7.4% change), ratio of LDL-C to high- density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (HDL-C) (0.22, 8.3% change), and ratio of total cholesterol concentration to HDL-C (0.24, 5.6% change). Triglyceride levels were reduced by 20.6 mg/dL (10.2%) in subjects with blood triglyceride levels of at least 150 mg/dL but not in those with lower levels. The effects of nut consumption were dose related, and different types of nuts had similar effects on blood lipid levels. The effects of nut consumption were significantly modified by LDL-C, body mass index, and diet type: the lipid- lowering effects of nut consumption were greatest among subjects with high baseline LDL-C and with low body mass index and among those consuming Western diets."

The authors concluded: "Nut consumption improves blood lipid levels in a dose-related manner, particularly among subjects with higher LDL-C or with lower BMI."

These data will help us counsel our patients who wish to lower their lipid levels without pharmacological intervention.

For the full abstract, click here.

Arch Intern Med 170(9):821-827, 10 May 2010
© 2010 to the American Medical Association
Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels-A Pooled Analysis of 25 Intervention Trials. Joan Sabate, Keiji Oda, Emilio Ros. Correspondence to Dr. Sabate:

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional. Keywords: blood lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, nuts, meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 1 June 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.