Low-carbohydrate dietary pattern on glycemic outcomes trial (ADEPT) among individuals with elevated hemoglobin A1c: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Dorans, K.S., L.A. Bazzano, L. Qi, H. Hua, L.J. Appel, J.M. Samet, J. Chen, K.T. Mills, B.T. Nguyen, M.J. O’Brien, I.U. Uwaifo, J. He, 2021. Low-carbohydrate dietary pattern on glycemic outcomes trial (ADEPT) among individuals with elevated hemoglobin A1c: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 22, 108.

Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Strong evidence supports the importance of diet and other lifestyle factors in preventing T2DM. Among individuals with T2DM, low carbohydrate diets lead to decreases in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). However, research on the effects of low carbohydrate diets on glycemic outcomes among individuals not currently on glucose-lowering medications who have elevated HbA1c is limited. Methods: The objective of this randomized controlled trial is to study the effect of a healthy low-carbohydrate diet achieved through behavioral intervention and key food supplementation compared with usual diet on HbA1c and other metabolic risk factors among individuals with HbA1c from 6.0 to 6.9% who are not on glucose-lowering medications. In this parallel trial, 150 participants will be randomized to the intervention or control group for 6 months. The healthy low-carbohydrate diet target is < 40 g of net carbohydrates during the first 3 months and < 40 to 60 net grams for months 3 to 6. This diet is characterized by abundant unsaturated fat and protein, high-fiber foods such as non-starchy vegetables and nuts, and minimal refined carbohydrates. The primary outcome is the difference in HbA1c change from baseline to 6 months in the intervention compared with usual diet group. Secondary outcomes include differences between groups in 6-month changes in fasting glucose, systolic blood pressure, total-to-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio, and body weight. Exploratory outcomes include differences in 6-month changes in fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and 10-year cardiovascular disease risk. An intention-to-treat analysis will be used. Discussion: We expect that the results from this study will lead to new approaches for developing and implementing dietary approaches (other than the most commonly used reduced fat diet) that will substantially reduce risk of cardiometabolic disease among adults with or at high risk of T2DM. The study intervention involves behavioral counseling and promotes consumption of dietary components thought to reduce risk of cardiometabolic disease and has expected applicability in clinical practice.

Walnut intake, cognitive outcomes and risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cahoon, D., S.P. Shertukde, E.E. Avendano, J. Tanprasertsuk, T.M. Scott, E.J. Johnson, M. Chung, N. Nirmala, 2021. Walnut intake, cognitive outcomes and risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Medicine, 53:1, 971-997, DOI: 10.1080/07853890.2021.1925955.

Background: Walnuts contain nutrients that are associated with improved cognitive health. To our knowledge, no review has systematically examined the effects of walnuts on cognitive function and risk for cognitive decline. Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effects of walnut intake on cognition-related outcomes and risk-factors for cognitive decline in adults. Methods: Medline®, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies published until April 2020 on walnut intake, cognition (e.g. cognitive function, stroke, and mood), and selected risk factors for cognitive decline (e.g. glucose homeostasis and inflammation). Risk-of-bias and strength-of-evidence assessments were conducted using standard validated tools. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted when ≥3 studies reported quantitative data for each outcome. Results: 32 RCT and 7 observational study publications were included. Meta-analysis of cognition-related outcomes could not be conducted due to heterogeneity of tests. None of the 5 cognition RCTs found significant effects of walnuts on overall cognition, although 3 studies found improvements on subdomains and/or subgroups. All 7 observational studies found significant associations and a dose-response relationship between walnut intake and cognition-related outcomes. Meta-analyses of 27 RCTs reporting glucose homeostasis and inflammation outcomes, selected risk factors for cognitive decline, did not show significant effects of walnut intake. Conclusions: Due to the non-uniformity of tests for cognition-related outcomes, definitive conclusions regarding the effect of walnut consumption on cognition could not be reached. Additionally, evidence does not show associations between walnut intake and glucose homeostasis or inflammation, cognitive decline risk-factors. High-quality studies with standardized measures are needed to clarify the role of walnuts in cognitive health.

Are fatty nuts a weighty concern? A systematic review and meta-analysis and dose–response meta-regression of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials.

Nishi, S.K., E. Viguiliouk, S. Blanco Mejia, C.W.C. Kendall, R.P. Bazinet,  A.J. Hanley, E.M. Comelli, J. Salas Salvado, D.J.A. Jenkins, J.L. Sievenpiper, 2021. Are fatty nuts a weighty concern? A systematic review and meta-analysis and dose–response meta-regression of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. doi: 10.1111/obr.13330.

Nuts are recommended for cardiovascular health, yet concerns remain that nuts may contribute to weight gain due to their high energy density. A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to update the evidence, provide a dose-response analysis, and assess differences in nut type, comparator and more in subgroup analyses. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane were searched, along with manual searches. Data from eligible studies were pooled using meta-analysis methods. Interstudy heterogeneity was assessed (Cochran Q statistic) and quantified (I2 statistic). Certainty of the evidence was assessed by Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE). Six prospective cohort studies (7 unique cohorts, n = 569,910) and 86 RCTs (114 comparisons, n = 5873) met eligibility criteria. Nuts were associated with lower incidence of overweight/obesity (RR 0.93 [95% CI 0.88 to 0.98] P < 0.001, “moderate” certainty of evidence) in prospective cohorts. RCTs presented no adverse effect of nuts on body weight (MD 0.09 kg, [95% CI -0.09 to 0.27 kg] P < 0.001, “high” certainty of evidence). Meta-regression showed that higher nut intake was associated with reductions in body weight and body fat. Current evidence demonstrates the concern that nut consumption contributes to increased adiposity appears unwarranted.

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;

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.

Effects of diet-modulated autologous fecal microbiota transplantation on weight regain.

Rinott, E., I. Youngster, A.Y. Meir, G. Tsaban, H. Zelicha, A. Kaplan, D. Knights, K. Tuohy, F. Fava, M.U. Scholz, O. Ziv, E. Reuven, A. Tirosh, A. Rudich, M. Blüher, M. Stumvoll, U. Ceglarek, K. Clement, O. Koren, D.D. Wang, F.B. Hu, M.J. Stampfer, I. Shai, 2021. Effects of diet-modulated autologous fecal microbiota transplantation on weight regain. Gastroenterology. 160(1):158–173.

Background & Aims: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of diet-modulated autologous fecal microbiota transplantation (aFMT) for treatment of weight regain after the weight loss phase. Methods: In the DIRECT-PLUS weight loss trial (May 2017 through July 2018), abdominally obese or dyslipidemic participants in Israel were randomly assigned to (1) healthy dietary guidelines, (2) Mediterranean diet, and (3) green-Mediterranean diet weight-loss groups. All groups received free gym membership and physical activity guidelines. Both iso-caloric Mediterranean groups consumed 28g/day walnuts (+440mg/d polyphenols provided). The green-Mediterranean dieters further consumed green tea (3-4 cups/day) and a Wolffia-globosa (Mankai strain;100g/day) green shake (+800mg/day polyphenols provided). After 6 months (weight-loss phase), 90 eligible participants (mean age, 52 years; mean weight loss, 8.3 kg) provided a fecal sample that was processed into aFMT by frozen, opaque and odorless capsules. The participants were then randomly assigned to groups that received 100 capsules containing their own fecal microbiota or placebo until month 14. The primary outcome was regain of the lost weight over the expected weight regain phase (months 6–14). Secondary outcomes were gastrointestinal symptoms, waist-circumference, glycemic status and changes in the gut microbiome, as measured by metagenomic sequencing and 16s-rRNA. We validated the results in a parallel in-vivo study of mice specifically fed with Mankai, as compared to control chow diet. Results: Of the 90 participants in the aFMT trial, 96% ingested at least 80 of 100 oral aFMT or placebo frozen capsules over the transplantation period. No aFMTrelated adverse events or symptoms were observed. For the primary outcome, although no significant differences in weight regain were observed among the participants in the different lifestyle interventions during months 6–14 (aFMT, 30.4% vs. placebo, 40.6%;P=.28), aFMT significantly attenuated weight regain in the green Mediterranean group (aFMT, 17.1%, vs placebo, 50%; P=.02), but not in the dietary guidelines (P=.57) or Mediterranean diet (P=.64) groups (P for the interaction=.03). Accordingly, aFMT attenuated waist circumference gain (aFMT, 1.89cm vs placebo, 5.05cm;P=.01) and insulin rebound (aFMT, 1.46±3.6µIU/ml vs placebo, 1.64±4.7µIU/ml;P=.04) in the green Mediterranean group but not in the dietary guidelines or Mediterranean diet (P for the interaction=.04 and .03, respectively). The green-Mediterranean diet was the only intervention to induce a significant change in microbiome composition during the weight loss phase, and to prompt preservation of weight loss-associated specific bacteria and microbial metabolic pathways (mainly microbial sugar transport) following the aFMT. In mice, Mankai modulated aFMT in the weight loss phase, compared with control diet aFMT, significantly prevented weight regain, and resulted in better glucose tolerance, during a high-fat-diet induced regain phase (P<.05 for all). Conclusions: Autologous FMT, collected during the weight loss phase and administrated in the regain phase, might preserve weight loss and glycemic control and is associated with specific microbiome signatures. High-polyphenols, green plant-based or Mankai diet better optimizes the microbiome for an aFMT procedure.

Neural correlates of future weight loss reveal a possible role for brain-gastric interactions.

Levakov G, Kaplan A, Yaskolka Meir A, Rinott E, Tsaban G, Zelicha H, Meiran N, Shelef I, Shai I, Avidan G., 2021. Neural correlates of future weight loss reveal a possible role for brain-gastric interactions. Neuroimage. 224:117403. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117403.

Lifestyle dietary interventions are an essential practice in treating obesity, hence neural factors that may assist in predicting individual treatment success are of great significance. Here, in a prospective, open-label, three arms study, we examined the correlation between brain resting-state functional connectivity measured at baseline and weight loss following 6 months of lifestyle intervention in 92 overweight participants. We report a robust subnetwork composed mainly of sensory and motor cortical regions, whose edges correlated with future weight loss. This effect was found regardless of intervention group. Importantly, this main finding was further corroborated using a stringent connectivity-based prediction model assessed with cross-validation thus attesting to its robustness. The engagement of senso-motor regions in this subnetwork is consistent with the over-sensitivity to food cues theory of weight regulation. Finally, we tested an additional hypothesis regarding the role of brain-gastric interaction in this subnetwork, considering recent findings of a cortical network synchronized with gastric activity. Accordingly, we found a significant spatial overlap with the subnetwork reported in the present study. Moreover, power in the gastric basal electric frequency within our reported subnetwork negatively correlated with future weight loss. This finding was specific to the weight loss related subnetwork and to the gastric basal frequency. These findings should be further corroborated by combining direct recordings of gastric activity in future studies. Taken together, these intriguing results may have important implications for our understanding of the etiology of obesity and the mechanism of response to dietary intervention.

Effect of green-Mediterranean diet on intrahepatic fat: the DIRECT PLUS randomised controlled trial.

Yaskolka M.A., E. Rinott, G. Tsaban, H. Zelicha, A. Kaplan, P. Rosen, I. Shelef, I. Youngster, A. Shalev, M. Blüher, U. Ceglarek, M. Stumvoll, K. Tuohy, C. Diotallevi, U. Vrhovsek, F. Hu, M. Stampfer, I. Shai, 2021. Effect of green-Mediterranean diet on intrahepatic fat: the DIRECT PLUS randomised controlled trial. Gut. 0:1–11. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323106.

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of green-Mediterranean (MED) diet, further restricted in red/ processed meat, and enriched with green plants and polyphenols on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), reflected by intrahepatic fat (IHF) loss. Design: For the DIRECT-PLUS 18-month randomized clinical trial, we assigned 294 participants with abdominal obesity/dyslipidaemia into healthy dietary guidelines (HDG), MED and green-MED weight-loss diet groups, all accompanied by physical activity. Both isocaloric MED groups consumed 28 g/day walnuts (+440 mg/day polyphenols provided). The green-MED group further consumed green tea (3–4 cups/day) and Mankai (a Wolffia globosa aquatic plant strain; 100 g/ day frozen cubes) green shake (+1240 mg/day total polyphenols provided). IHF% 18-month changes were quantified continuously by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Results: Participants (age=51 years; 88% men; body mass index=31.3 kg/m2; median IHF%=6.6%; mean=10.2%; 62% with NAFLD) had 89.8% 18 month retention-rate, and 78% had eligible follow-up MRS. Overall, NAFLD prevalence declined to: 54.8% (HDG), 47.9% (MED) and 31.5% (green-MED), p=0.012 between groups.  Despite similar moderate weight-loss in both MED groups, green-MED group achieved almost double IHF% loss (−38.9% proportionally), as compared with MED (−19.6% proportionally; p=0.035 weight loss adjusted) and HDG (−12.2% proportionally; p<0.001). After 18 months, both MED groups had significantly higher total plasma polyphenol levels versus HDG, with higher detection of Naringenin and 2-5-dihydroxybenzoic- acid in green-MED. Greater IHF% loss was independently associated with increased Mankai and walnuts intake, decreased red/processed meat consumption, improved serum folate and adipokines/lipids biomarkers, changes in microbiome composition (beta-diversity) and specific bacteria (p<0.05 for all). Conclusion: The new suggested strategy of green-Mediterranean diet, amplified with green plant-based proteins/polyphenols as Mankai, green tea, and walnuts, and restricted in red/processed meat can double IHF loss than other healthy nutritional strategies and reduce NAFLD in half.

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.

Effect of green Mediterranean diet on cardiometabolic risk; a randomised controlled trial.

Tsaban, G., A. Yaskolka Meir, E. Rinott, H. Zelicha, A. Kaplan, A. Shalev, A. Katz, A. Rudich, A. Tirosh, I. Shelef, I. Youngster, S. Lebovitz,  N. Israeli, M. Shabat, D. Brikner, E. Pupkin, M. Stumvoll, J. Thiery, U. Ceglarek, J.T. Heiker, A. Körner, K. Landgraf, M. von Bergen, M. Blüher, M.J. Stampfer, I. Shai, 2020. Effect of green Mediterranean diet on cardiometabolic risk; a randomised controlled trial. Heart. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-317802

Background: A Mediterranean diet is favourable for cardiometabolic risk. Objective To examine the residual effect of a green Mediterranean diet, further enriched with green plant-based foods and lower meat intake, on cardiometabolic risk. Methods: For the DIRECT-PLUS parallel, randomised clinical trial we assigned individuals with abdominal obesity/dyslipidaemia 1:1:1 into three diet groups: healthy dietary guidance (HDG), Mediterranean and green Mediterranean diet, all combined with physical activity. The Mediterranean diets were equally energy restricted and included 28 g/day walnuts. The green Mediterranean diet further included green tea (3–4 cups/day) and a Wolffia globosa (Mankai strain; 100 g/day frozen cubes) plant-based protein shake, which partially substituted animal protein. We examined the effect of the 6-month dietary induction weight loss phase on cardiometabolic state. Results: Participants (n=294; age 51 years; body mass index 31.3 kg/m2; waist circumference 109.7 cm; 88% men; 10 year Framingham risk score 4.7%) had a 6-month retention rate of 98.3%. Both Mediterranean diets achieved similar weight loss ((green Mediterranean −6.2 kg; Mediterranean −5.4 kg) vs the HDG group −1.5 kg; p<0.001), but the green Mediterranean group had a greater reduction in waist circumference (−8.6 cm) than the Mediterranean (−6.8 cm; p=0.033) and HDG (−4.3 cm; p<0.001) groups. Stratification by gender showed that these differences were significant only among men. Within 6 months the green Mediterranean group achieved greater decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; green Mediterranean −6.1 mg/dL (−3.7%), −2.3 (-0.8%), HDG −0.2 mg/dL (+1.8%); p=0.012 between extreme groups), diastolic blood pressure (green Mediterranean −7.2 mm Hg, Mediterranean −5.2 mm Hg, HDG −3.4 mm Hg; p=0.005 between extreme groups), and homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (green Mediterranean −0.77, Mediterranean −0.46, HDG −0.27; p=0.020 between extreme groups). The LDL-C/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio decline was greater in the green Mediterranean group (−0.38) than in the Mediterranean (−0.21; p=0.021) and HDG (−0.14; p<0.001) groups. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein reduction was greater in the green Mediterranean group (−0.52 mg/L) than in the Mediterranean (−0.24 mg/L; p=0.023) and HDG (−0.15 mg/L; p=0.044) groups. The green Mediterranean group achieved a better improvement (−3.7% absolute risk reduction) in the 10-year Framingham Risk Score (Mediterranean−2.3%; p=0.073, HDG−1.4%; p<0.001). Conclusions: The green MED diet, supplemented with walnuts, green tea and Mankai and lower in meat/poultry, may amplify the beneficial cardiometabolic effects of Mediterranean diet.