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Mixed tree nut snacks compared to refined carbohydrate snacks resulted in weight loss and increased satiety during both weight loss and weight maintenance: A 24-week randomized controlled trial.

Wang, J., S. Wang, S.M. Henning, T. Qin, Y. Pan, J. Yang, J. Huang, C.-H. Tseng, D. Heber,  Z. Li, 2021. Mixed tree nut snacks compared to refined carbohydrate snacks resulted in weight loss and increased satiety during both weight loss and weight maintenance: A 24-week randomized controlled trial. Nutrients. 13(5), 1512; doi.org/10.3390/nu13051512

Mixed tree nuts (MTNs) are an excellent source of protein and healthy fat contributing to satiety. However, their relatively high caloric content might not be beneficial in a weight loss diet. The present study was designed to test whether including MTNs in a weight loss and maintenance program interferes with weight management compared to a refined carbohydrate pretzel snack (PS). We performed a randomized, controlled, two-arm study in 95 overweight individuals consuming 1.5 oz of MTNs or PS daily as part of a hypocaloric weight loss diet (−500 kcal) over 12 weeks followed by an isocaloric weight maintenance program for 12 weeks. Participants in both groups experienced significant weight loss (12 weeks: −1.6 and −1.9 and 24 weeks: −1.5 and −1.4 kg) compared to baseline in the MTN and PS groups, respectively. However, there was no difference in weight loss and other outcome parameters between the MTN and PS groups. The MTN group showed a significant increase in satiety at 24 weeks. Both groups had a decrease in diastolic blood pressure at 12 weeks. Participants in the MTN group showed significant decreases in heart rate at 4, 12, and 24 weeks. Plasma oleic acid was significantly increased at 12 and 24 weeks in the MTN group but only at 12 weeks in the PS group. Plasma MCP-1 was decreased significantly in the MTN group at 4 weeks. In summary, participants in both groups lost weight, but only the MTN intervention increased satiety at 24 weeks, enhanced retention, decreased heart rate, and increased serum oleic acid at 24 weeks.

Dietary recommendations for prevention of atherosclerosis

Riccardi, G., A. Giosuè, I. Calabrese, O. Vaccaro, 2021.Dietary recommendations for prevention of atherosclerosis. Cardiovasc Res. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvab173. Online ahead of print.

This review aims at summarizing updated evidence on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk associated with consumption of specific food items to substantiate dietary strategies for atherosclerosis prevention. A systematic search on PubMed was performed to identify meta-analyses of cohort studies and RCTs with CVD outcomes. The evidence is highly concordant in showing that, for the healthy adult population, low consumption of salt and foods of animal origin, and increased intake of plant-based foods-whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts-are linked with reduced atherosclerosis risk. The same applies for the replacement of butter and other animal/tropical fats with olive oil and other unsaturated-fat-rich oil. Although the literature reviewed overall endorses scientific society dietary recommendations, some relevant novelties emerge. With regard to meat, new evidence differentiates processed and red meat-both associated with increased CVD risk-from poultry, showing a neutral relationship with CVD for moderate intakes. Moreover, the preferential use of low-fat dairies in the healthy population is not supported by recent data, since both full-fat and low-fat dairies, in moderate amounts and in the context of a balanced diet, are not associated with increased CVD risk; furthermore, small quantities of cheese and regular yogurt consumption are even linked with a protective effect. Among other animal protein sources, moderate fish consumption is also supported by the latest evidence, although there might be sustainability concerns. New data endorse the replacement of most high glycemic index (GI) foods with both whole grain and low GI cereal foods. As for beverages, low consumption not only of alcohol, but also of coffee and tea is associated with a reduced atherosclerosis risk while soft drinks show a direct relationship with CVD risk. This review provides evidence-based support for promoting appropriate food choices for atherosclerosis prevention in the general population.

Nut consumption and type 2 diabetes risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

Becerra-Tomás, N., I. Paz-Graniel, P. Hernández-Alonso, D.J.A. Jenkins, C.W.C. Kendall, J.L. Sievenpiper, J. Salas-Salvadó, 2021. Nut consumption and type 2 diabetes risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr 00:1–12.

Background: Previous meta-analyses, with some methodological controversies, have assessed the relation between nut consumption and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk and pointed to contradictory results, making desirable the performance of an updated meta-analysis. Objectives: We aimed to systematically review and meta-analyze all the published studies investigating the relations of total nuts and different types of nuts—i.e., walnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, and total tree nuts—with the prevalence and incidence of T2D. Methods: A systematic search was conducted in the PubMed and Cochrane databases through 12 August, 2020. The inverse variance method with fixed-effect models was used to pool data across studies, expressed as risk ratios (RRs) or ORs and 95% CIs for prospective cohort and cross-sectional studies, respectively. The Cochran Q test and I 2 statistics were used to test and quantify heterogeneity, respectively. Dose-response meta-analysis was also conducted. Results: Eight studies (5 prospective and 3 cross-sectional) were included in the quantitative synthesis. Meta-analyses of crosssectional studies and prospective cohort studies, comparing the highest with the lowest categories, revealed a nonsignificant association between total nut consumption and T2D. Meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies showed an inverse association between peanut butter consumption and T2D incidence (RR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.98; I 2 = 50.6%; Pheterogeneity = 0.16), whereas no association was observed between peanuts or tree nuts and T2D. There was no evidence of a linear dose-response or nonlinear dose-response gradient for total nut and peanut consumption in prospective cohort studies. The certainty of the evidence using NutriGrade was very low for all the exposures. Conclusions: Current results do not demonstrate an association of total nut, peanut, or tree nut consumption with T2D. Peanut butter consumption may be inversely associated with this disease. This review protocol was registered at www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/ as CRD42020149756.

Sperm DNA methylation changes after short-term nut supplementation in healthy men consuming a Western-style diet.

Salas-Huetos, A., E.R. James, J. Salas-Salvadó, M. Bulló, K.I. Aston, D.T. Carrell, T.G. Jenkins, 2021. Sperm DNA methylation changes after short-term nut supplementation in healthy men consuming a Western-style diet. Andrology. 9(1):260-268.

Background: Many environmental and lifestyle factors have been implicated in the decline of sperm quality, with diet being one of the most plausible factors identified in recent years. Moreover, several studies have reported a close association between the alteration of specific sperm DNA methylation signatures and semen quality. Objectives: To evaluate the effect of tree nut consumption on sperm DNA methylation patterns in healthy individuals reporting eating a Western-style diet. Material and methods: This is a post hoc analysis conducted in a subset of participants (healthy, non-smoking, and young) from the FERTINUTS 14-wk randomized-controlled, parallel trial, recruited between December 2015 and February 2017. The participants included in the current study (n = 72) were randomly selected in a proportion 2:1 from the original FERTINUTS trial between the 98 participants that completed the entire dietary intervention (nut group, n = 48; control group, n = 24). Sperm DNA methylation patterns were examined at baseline and after 14 weeks in 48 individuals consuming 60 g/d of mixed nuts (nut group) and in 24 individuals following the usual Western-style diet avoiding consumption of nuts (control group). Results: Over the course of the trial, no significant changes in global methylation were observed between groups. However, in the nut group, we identified 36 genomic regions that were significantly differentially methylated between the baseline and the end of the trial and 97.2% of the regions displayed hypermethylation. We identified no such change in the control group over the same period of time. We also utilized the recently developed germ line age calculator to determine if nut consumption resulted in alterations to the epigenetic age of cells and no significant differences were found. Discussion and conclusion: Adding nuts to a regular Western-style diet subtly impacts sperm DNA methylation in specific regions, demonstrating that there are some sperm epigenome regions that could respond to diet.

Nut consumption for cognitive performance: A systematic review.

Theodore, L.E., N.J. Kellow, E.A. McNeil, E.O. Close, E.G. Coad, B.R. Cardoso, 2020. Nut consumption for cognitive performance: A systematic review. Adv Nutr. 00:1–16.

Diet is considered an important modifiable lifestyle factor capable of attenuating early cognitive changes in healthy older people. The inclusion of nuts in the diet has been investigated as a dietary strategy for maintenance of brain health across the lifespan. This review aimed to present up-to-date evidence regarding the association between nut intake and cognitive performance. Four databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) Plus, and Embase) were systematically searched from inception to April 2020. Eligible articles were interventional or observational studies in humans aged ≥18 y that measured the effects (or association) of nuts (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, pistachio, walnut, pecan, pine nut, Brazil nut, cashew, peanut) on cognitive outcomes. Out of the 2374 articles identified in the searches, 22 involving 43,793 participants met the criteria and were ultimately included in this review. Memory (immediate and delayed), attention, processing speed, executive function, and visual-spatial ability, as well as risk of mild cognitive impairment, were the outcomes investigated. Lack of consistency across the studies regarding study design, types of nut used, and cognitive outcomes measured resulted in inconsistent evidence that the regular consumption of mixed nuts has a protective effect on cognition in adults of different ages. Nonetheless, we observed that studies targeting populations with a higher risk of cognitive decline tended to find a more favorable outcome. Furthermore, homogeneous findings were observed in the studies that specifically addressed the association between walnut consumption and cognitive performance: out of the 6 studies, including 2 randomized controlled trials, only 1 did not find a positive association.

The beneficial effects of nutraceuticals and natural products on small dense LDL levels, LDL particle number and LDL particle size: a clinical review.

Talebi, S., M. Bagherniya, S.L. Atkin, G. Askari, H.M. Orafai, A. Sahebkar, 2020. The beneficial effects of nutraceuticals and natural products on small dense LDL levels, LDL particle number and LDL particle size: a clinical review. Lipids in Health and Disease. 19:66
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-020-01250-6.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are globally the major causes of morbidity and mortality. Evidence shows that smaller and denser low-dense lipoprotein (sdLDL) particles are independent atherogenic risk factors for CVD due to their greater susceptibility to oxidation, and permeability in the endothelium of arterial walls. sdLDL levels are an independent risk factor and of more predictive value than total LDL-C for the assessment of coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome. Functional food ingredients have attracted significant attention for the management of dyslipidemia and subsequently increase cardio-metabolic health. However, to date there is no study that has investigated the effect of these bioactive natural compounds on sdLDL levels. Therefore, the aim of the present review is to summarize the evidence accrued on the effect of special dietary ingredients such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, nutraceuticals and herbal medicines on the levels of sdLDL, LDL particle number, and LDL particle size. Based on the results of the existing clinical trials this review suggests that natural products such as medicinal plants, nutraceuticals and omega-3 fatty acids can be used as adjunct or complementary therapeutic agents to reduce sdLDL levels, LDL particle numbers or increase LDL particle size and subsequently may prevent and treat CVD, with the advantage that these natural agents are generally safe, accessible, and inexpensive.

Tree nut snack consumption is associated with better diet quality and CVD risk in the UK adult population: National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008-2014.

Dikariyanto, V., S.E. Berry, G.K. Pot, L. Francis, L. Smith, W.L. Hall, 2020. Tree nut snack consumption is associated with better diet quality and CVD risk in the UK adult population: National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008-2014. Public Health Nutr. doi: 10.1017/S1368980019003914. [Epub ahead of print]

Objectives: To examine associations of tree nut snack (TNS) consumption with diet quality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in UK adults from National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008-2014. Design: Cross-sectional analysis using data from 4-d food diaries, blood samples and physical measurements for CVD risk markers. To estimate diet quality, modified Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) and modified Healthy Diet Score (HDS) were applied. Associations of TNS consumption with diet quality and markers of CVD risk were investigated using survey-adjusted multivariable linear regression adjusted for sex, age, ethnicity, socio-economic and smoking status, region of residency and total energy and alcohol intake. Setting: UK free-living population. Subjects: 4738 adults (≥19 years). Results: TNS consumers had higher modified MDS and HDS relative to non-consumers. TNS consumers also had lower BMI, WC, SBP and DBP and higher HDL compared to non-consumers, although a dose-related fully adjusted significant association between increasing nut intake (g per 4184 kJ/1000 kcal energy intake) and lower marker of CVD risk was only observed for SBP. TNS consumption was also associated with higher intake of total fat, mono-, n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamin A, thiamin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and iron; and lower intake of saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, total carbohydrate, starch, free sugar, sodium and chloride. Conclusions: TNS consumers report better dietary quality and consumption was associated with lower CVD risk factors. Encouraging replacement of less healthy snacks with TNS should be encouraged as part of general dietary guidelines.

Consumption of Nuts at Midlife and Healthy Aging in Women.

Freitas-Simoes, T.M., M. Wagner, C. Samieri, A. Sala-Vila, F. Grodstein, 2020. Consumption of Nuts at Midlife and Healthy Aging in Women. J Aging Res. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5651737.

Background: Nut consumption may reduce age-related diseases and lead to better health and well-being in aging. Many conditions of aging develop over decades, and thus earlier lifestyle factors may particularly influence later health. Methods: In 1998 and 2002, we administered food frequency questionnaires to assess nut consumption (peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts and peanut butter) in women in the Nurses’ Health Study in their 50 s/early 60 s. In 2012, those who survived beyond 65 years with no chronic diseases, no reported memory impairment, no physical disabilities, and intact mental health were considered “healthy agers.” We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate odds ratios for healthy versus usual aging, controlled for sociodemographic, behavioral, dietary, and other potential confounding factors. Results: Of 33,931 participants at midlife, 16% became “healthy agers.” After age adjustment, we observed a significant association between total nut consumption at midlife and higher odds of healthy aging, with strongest associations observed excluding peanut butter (odds ratio (OR) = 1.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.32–1.62, ≥3 servings/week versus none). Findings were attenuated after further control for covariates, including overall diet quality (OR = 1.14, 95% CI 1.02–1.28, P trend = 0.05). For nut types, we found statistically significantly higher odds of healthy aging across peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts after age adjustment. After full control for confounders, only walnut consumption remained associated with healthy aging (P trend = 0.0001); for example, the OR was 1.20 (95% CI 1.00–1.44) for ≥2 servings/week versus none. Conclusions: Women consuming nuts at midlife have a greater likelihood of overall health and well-being at older ages. Nut consumption may represent a simple intervention to explore and promote healthy aging.

Effect of tree nuts consumption on serum lipid profile in hyperlipidemic individuals: A systematic review.

Altamimi, M., S. Zidan, M. Badrasawi, 2020. Effect of tree nuts consumption on serum lipid profile in hyperlipidemic individuals: A systematic review. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights.  13: 1–10.

Many epidemiological studies have regularly connected nuts intake with decreased risk for coronary heart disease. The primary mechanism by which nuts protect against cardiovascular disease is through the improvement of lipid and apolipoprotein profile. Therefore, numerous dietary intervention studies investigated the impact of nut consumption on blood lipid levels. Many studies have shown that nut intake can enhance the lipid profile in a dose-response way among individuals with increased serum lipids. This systematic review examines the effectiveness of nuts on the lipid profile among patients with dyslipidemia from different age groups. A total of 29 interventional studies from 5 databases met the inclusion criteria. In all, 20 studies were randomized controlled clinical trials, whereas 9 were crossover-controlled clinical trials. Participants included in the studies were different in terms of age, sex and, serum lipid profile. The studies were inconsistent in the type of tree nuts, duration, dose, and the nut forms. All studies indicated changes in the lipid profile after the intervention particularly on the total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein. Interventional periods ranged from 3 weeks up to 12 months with doses ranged from 15 to 126gm. In conclusion, this review provides an evidence of favorable effect of nuts consumption of serum lipid profile.

Effect of chronic consumption of nuts on oxidative stress: a systematic review of clinical trials.

Silveira, B.K.S., A. da Silva, H.H.M. Hermsdorff, J. Bressan, 2020. Effect of chronic consumption of nuts on oxidative stress: a systematic review of clinical trials. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1-12. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1828262.

Nuts consumption has been associated with a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases and oxidative stress-related disorders. We aimed to perform a systematic review with clinical trials to assess the impact of chronic nuts consumption on oxidative stress and the possible mechanisms involved. Studies were identified by searching in three electronic databases: PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and LILACS, and selected following PRISMA guidelines. Two authors perform searching and data extraction. A total of 16 articles were included (12 randomized clinical trials and 4 one or two-arm clinical trials). Nut doses were generally high (>30 g/d), except for Brazil nuts (5-13 g/d). The follow-up time ranges between four weeks and six months, and the oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) was the most assessed biomarker. Eight articles reported improvement in oxidative stress biomarkers after nuts supplementation. Pathways regulated by selenium (e.g. glutathione peroxidase activity and nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulation), monounsaturated fatty acids (e.g. reduction of LDL oxidation), and bioactive compounds (e.g. antioxidant activity) were described as mechanisms involved in these beneficial effects. No studies reported harmful effects of nut consumption, even in high doses. The chronic consumption of nuts seemed to be effective to change some oxidative stress biomarkers, however, this topic remains controversial because the benefits depends on nut type, nut dose, and population characteristics.