Choo, J.M., C.D. Tran, N.D. Luscombe-Marsh, W. Stonehouse, J. Bowen, N. Johnson, C.H. Thompson, E.-J. Watson, G.D. Brinkworth, G.B. Rogers, 2021. Almond consumption affects fecal microbiota composition, stool pH, and stool moisture in overweight and obese adults with elevated fasting blood glucose: A randomized controlled trial. Nutr Res. 85:47-59.
Regular almond consumption has been shown to improve body weight management, lipid profile and blood glucose control. We hypothesized that almond consumption would alter fecal microbiota composition, including increased abundance and activity of potentially beneficial bacterial taxa in adults who are overweight and obese with elevated fasting blood glucose. A total of 69 adults who were overweight or obese with an elevated plasma glucose (age: 60.8 ± 7.4, BMI ≥27 kg/m2, fasting plasma glucose ≥5.6 to <7.0 mmol/L) were randomized to daily consumption of either 2 servings of almonds (AS:56 g/day) or an isocaloric, high carbohydrate biscuit snack for 8 weeks. AS but not biscuit snack experienced significant changes in microbiota composition (P= .011) and increases in bacterial richness, evenness, and diversity (P< .01). Increases in both the relative and absolute abundance of operational taxonomic units in the Ruminococcaceae family, including Ruminiclostridium (false discovery rate P = .002), Ruminococcaceae NK4A214 (P = .002) and Ruminococcaceae UCG-003 (P = .002) were the principal drivers of microbiota-level changes. No changes in fecal short chain fatty acid levels, or in the carriage of the gene encoding butyryl-CoA:acetate CoA-transferase (an enzyme involved in butyrate synthesis) occurred. Almond consumption was not associated with reduced gut permeability, but fecal pH (P= .0006) and moisture content (P = .027) decreased significantly in AS when compared to BS. Regular almond consumption increased the abundance of potentially beneficial ruminococci in the fecal microbiota in individuals with elevated blood glucose. However, fecal short-chain fatty acid levels remained unaltered and the capacity for such microbiological effects to precipitate host benefit is not known.