Guarneiri, L.L., J.A. Cooper, 2020. Intake of Nuts or Nut Products Does Not Lead to Weight Gain, Independent of Dietary Substitution Instructions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials. Adv Nutr. 00:1–18.
Several clinical interventions report that consuming nuts will not cause weight gain. However, it is unclear if the type of instructions provided for how to incorporate nuts into the diet impacts weight outcomes. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published nut-feeding trials with and without dietary substitution instructions to determine if there are changes in body weight (BW) or composition. PubMed and Web of Science were searched through 31 December 2019 for clinical trials involving the daily consumption of nuts or nut-based snacks/meals by adults (≥18 y) for >3 wk that reported BW, BMI, waist circumference (WC), or total body fat percentage (BF%). Each study was categorized by whether or not it contained dietary substitution instructions. Within these 2 categories, an aggregated mean effect size and 95% CI was produced using a fixed-effects model. Quality of studies was assessed through the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool. Fifty-five studies were included in the meta-analysis. In studies without dietary substitution instructions, there was no change in BW [standardized mean difference (SMD): 0.01 kg; 95% CI: −0.07, 0.08; I 2 = 0%] or BF% (SMD: −0.05%; 95% CI: −0.19, 0.09; I 2 = 0%). In studies with dietary substitution instructions, there was no change in BW (SMD: −0.01 kg; 95% CI: −0.11, 0.09; I 2 = 0%); however, there was a significant decrease in BF% (SMD: −0.32%; 95% CI: −0.61%, −0.03%; I 2 = 35.4%; P < 0.05). There was no change in BMI or WC for either category of studies. Nut-enriched diet interventions did not result in changes in BW, BMI, or WC in studies either with or without substitution instructions. Slight decreases in BF% may occur if substitution instructions are used, but more research is needed. Limitations included varying methodologies between included studies and the frequency of unreported outcome variables in excluded studies.
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