Al Abdrabalnabi, A., S. Rajaram, E. Bitok, K. Oda, W.L. Beeson, A. Kaur, M. Cofán, M. Serra-Mir, I. Roth, E. Ros, J. Sabaté, 2020. Effects of supplementing the usual diet with a daily dose of walnuts for two years on metabolic syndrome and its components in an elderly cohort. Nutrients. 11;12(2). pii: E451. doi: 10.3390/nu12020451.
Accumulating evidence links nut consumption with an improved risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS); however, long-term trials are lacking. We examined the effects of a daily dose of walnuts for two years on MetS in a large elderly cohort. A total of 698 healthy elderly participants were randomly assigned to either a walnut supplemented or a control diet. The participants in the walnut group were provided with packaged walnuts (1, 1.5, or 2 oz. or ~15% of energy) and asked to incorporate them into their daily habitual diet. The participants in the control group were asked to continue with their habitual diet and abstain from eating walnuts and other tree nuts. Intake of n-3 fatty acid supplements was not permitted in either group. Fasting blood chemistries, blood pressure, and anthropometric measurements were obtained at baseline and at the end of intervention. A total of 625 participants (67% women, mean age 69.1 y) completed this two-year study (90% retention rate). Triglycerides decreased in both walnut (-.94 mg/dl) and control (-0.96 mg/dl) groups, with no significant between-group differences. There was a non-significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the walnut group (-1.30 and -0.71 mm Hg, respectively) and no change in the control group. Fasting blood glucose decreased by ~1 point in both the walnut and control groups. There were no significant between-group differences in the development or reversion of MetS. In conclusion, supplementing the diet of older adults with a daily dose of walnuts had no effect on MetS status or any of its components, although the walnut group tended to have lower blood pressure.