Curb, J.D., G. Wergowske, J.C. Dobbs, R.D. Abbott, B. Huang, 2000. Serum lipid effects of a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts. Arch Intern Med. 160(8):1154-8.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have identified potential beneficial effects of eating nuts, most of which have substantial amounts of monounsaturated fats. Macadamia nuts are 75% fat by weight, 80% of which is monounsaturated. OBJECTIVE: To examine variations in serum lipid levels in response to a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts. METHODS: A randomized crossover trial of three 30-day diets was conducted in 30 volunteers aged 18 to 53 years from a free-living population. Each was fed a –typical American– diet high in saturated fat (37% energy from fat); an American Heart Association Step 1 diet (30% energy from fat); and a macadamia nut-based monounsaturated fat diet (37% energy from fat) in random order. Serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were measured. RESULTS: Mean total cholesterol level after the typical American diet was 5.20 mmol/L (201 mg/dL). After the Step 1 diet and the macadamia nut diet, total cholesterol level was 4.99 mmol/L (193 mg/dL) and 4.95 mmol/L (191 mg/dL), respectively. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was 3.37 mmol/L (130 mg/dL) (typical diet), 3.21 mmol/L (124 mg/dL) (Step 1 diet), and 3.22 mmol/L (125 mg/dL) (macadamia nut diet). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was 1.43 mmol/L (55 mg/dL) (typical), 1.34 mmol/L (52 mg/dL) (Step 1), and 1.37 mmol/L (53 mg/dL) (macadamia nut). Lipid values after the Step 1 and macadamia nut diets were significantly different from those after the typical diet (P<.05). CONCLUSIONS: The macadamia nut-based diet high in monounsaturated fat and the moderately low-fat diet both had potentially beneficial effects on cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels when compared with a typical American diet. This study involved 30 subjects who consumed three different diets each for 30 days. The first diet was a typical American diet (AM), high in saturated fat, the second diet was the American Heart Association (AHA) Step 1 diet and the third diet was a macadamia based diet (MAC) high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Compared to the AM diet, the MAC diet lowered total cholesterol, LDL and HDL each by 5% and triglycerides by 10%. The AHA diet had similar results except for an 8% increase in triglycerides.
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