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 as CRD42020149756.

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.

Energy extraction from nuts: walnuts, almonds, pistachios.

McArthur, B., R. Mattes, 2020. Energy extraction from nuts: walnuts, almonds, pistachios. Br J Nutr. 123(4):361-371.

The bioaccessibility of fat has implications for satiety and postprandial lipidemia. The prevailing view holds that the integrity of plant cell wall structure is the primary determinant of energy and nutrient extraction from plant cells as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. However, comparisons across nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) with varying physical properties do not support this view. In this study, masticated samples of three nuts from healthy adults were exposed to a static model of gastric digestion followed by simulated intestinal digestion. Primary outcomes were particle size and lipid release at each phase of digestion. Walnuts produced a significantly larger particle size post-mastication compared to almonds. Under gastric and intestinal conditions, the particle size was larger for walnuts compared to pistachios and almonds (P<0.05). However, the masticated and digesta particle sizes were not related to the integrity of cell walls nor lipid release. The total lipid release was comparable between nuts after the in vitro intestinal phase (P>0.05). Microstructural examination showed ruptured and fissured cell walls that would allow digestion of cellular contents and this may be governed by internal cellular properties such as oil body state. Furthermore, the cell walls of walnuts tend to rupture rather than separate and as walnut tissue passes through the gastrointestinal track, lipids tend to coalesce reducing digestion efficiency.

Association of nut intake with risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 16 countries from 5 continents: analysis from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.

de Souza, R.J., M. Dehghan, A. Mente, S.I. Bangdiwala, S.H. Ahmed, K.F. Alhabib, Y. Altuntas, A. Basiak-Rasała, G-R Dagenais, R. Diaz, L.I. Amma, R. Kelishadi, R. Khatib, S.A. Lear, P. Lopez-Jaramillo, V. Mohan, P. Poirier, S. Rangarajan, A. Rosengren, R. Ismail, S. Swaminathan, E. Wentzel-Viljoen, K. Yeates, R. Yusuf, K.K. Teo, S.S. Anand, S. Yusuf, for the PURE study investigators, 2020. Association of nut intake with risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 16 countries from 5 continents: analysis from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqaa108,

Background: The association of nuts with cardiovascular disease and deaths has been investigated mostly in Europe, the USA, and East Asia, with few data available from other regions of the world or from low- and middle-income countries. Objective: To assess the association of nuts with mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Methods: The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study is a large multinational prospective cohort study of adults aged 35–70 y from 16 low-, middle-, and high-income countries on 5 continents. Nut intake (tree nuts and ground nuts) was measured at the baseline visit, using country-specific validated FFQs. The primary outcome was a composite of mortality or major cardiovascular event [nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, or heart failure]. Results: We followed 124,329 participants (age = 50.7 y, SD = 10.2; 41.5% male) for a median of 9.5 y. We recorded 10,928 composite events [deaths (n = 8,662) or major cardiovascular events (n = 5,979)]. Higher nut intake (>120 g per wk compared with <30 g per mo) was associated with a lower risk of the primary composite outcome of mortality or major cardiovascular event [multivariate HR (mvHR): 0.88; 95% CI: 0.80, 0.96; P-trend = 0.0048]. Significant reductions in total (mvHR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.87; P-trend <0.0001), cardiovascular (mvHR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.56, 0.92; P-trend = 0.048), and noncardiovascular mortality (mvHR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.96; P-trend = 0.0046) with a trend to reduced cancer mortality (mvHR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.00; P-trend = 0.081) were observed. No significant associations of nuts were seen with major CVD (mvHR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.81, 1.02; P-trend = 0.14), stroke (mvHR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.84, 1.14; P-trend = 0.76), or MI (mvHR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.72, 1.04; P-trend = 0.29). Conclusions: Higher nut intake was associated with lower mortality risk from both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular causes in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.

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

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.

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.

In vitro anti-HSV-1 activity of polyphenol-rich extracts and pure polyphenol compounds derived from pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.).

Musarra-Pizzo, M., R. Pennisi, I. Ben-Amor, A. Smeriglio, G. Mandalari, M.T. Sciortino, 2020. In vitro anti-HSV-1 activity of polyphenol-rich extracts and pure polyphenol compounds derived from pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.). Plants. 9, 267; doi:10.3390/plants9020267.

Natural compounds are a prominent source of novel antiviral drugs. Several reports have previously shown the antimicrobial activity of pistachio polyphenol extracts. Therefore, the aim of our research was to investigate the activity of polyphenol-rich extracts of natural shelled (NPRE) pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.) on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) replication. The Vero cell line was used to assess the cytotoxicity and antiviral activity. The cell viability was calculated by detection of cellular ATP after treatment with various concentrations of NPRE. For antiviral studies, five nontoxic-concentrations (0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) were tested. Our study demonstrated that treatment with NPRE (0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) reduced the expression of the viral proteins ICP8 (infected cell polypeptide 8), UL42 (unique long UL42 DNA polymerase processivity factor), and US11 (unique short US11 protein), and resulted in a decrease of viral DNA synthesis. The 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50), 50% inhibitory concentration (EC50), and the selectivity index (SI) values for NPRE were 1.2 mg/mL, 0.4mg/mL, and 3, respectively. Furthermore, we assessed the anti-herpetic effect of a mix of pure polyphenol compounds (NS MIX) present in NPRE. In conclusion, our findings indicate that natural shelled pistachio kernels have remarkable inhibitory activity against HSV-1.

Comparative effects of different types of tree nut consumption on blood lipids: a network meta-analysis of clinical trials.

Liu, K., S. Hui, B. Wang, K. Kaliannan, X. Guo, L. Liang, 2020. Comparative effects of different types of tree nut consumption on blood lipids: a network meta-analysis of clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 111(1):219-227.

BackgroundRecent evidence has confirmed that nuts are one of the best food groups at reducing LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol (TC). However, the comparative effects of different types of nuts on blood lipids are unclear. Objectives: This network meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials aimed to assess the comparative effects of walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds on typical lipid profiles. Methods: We conducted literature searches to identify studies comparing ≥2 of the following diets-walnut-enriched, pistachio-enriched, hazelnut-enriched, cashew-enriched, almond-enriched, and control diets-for the management of triglycerides (TGs), LDL cholesterol, TC, and HDL cholesterol. Random-effects network meta-analyses, ranking analyses based on the surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA) curves, and sensitivity analyses according to the potential sources of heterogeneity across the included studies were performed for each outcome. Results: Thirty-four trials enrolling 1677 participants were included in this study. The pistachio-enriched diet was ranked best for TG (SUCRA: 85%), LDL cholesterol (SUCRA: 87%), and TC (SUCRA: 96%) reductions. For TG and TC reductions, the walnut-enriched diet was ranked as the second-best diet. Regarding LDL cholesterol reduction, the almond-enriched diet was ranked second best. The pistachio-enriched and walnut-enriched diets were more effective at lowering TG, LDL cholesterol, and TC compared with the control diet. Regarding TG and TC reductions, the pistachio-enriched diet was also more effective than the hazelnut-enriched diet. For TG reduction, the walnut-enriched diet was better than the hazelnut-enriched diet. However, these findings are limited by the low quality of evidence ratings. In addition, the quality of this network meta-analysis was limited by the small number and generally poor reporting of available studies. Conclusions: The pistachio-enriched and walnut-enriched diet could be better alternatives for lowering TGs, LDL cholesterol, and TC compared with other nut-enriched diets included in this study. The findings warrant further evaluation by more high-quality studies. This network meta-analysis was registered at as CRD42019131128.