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Foster GD, Shantz KL, Vander Veur SS, Oliver TL, Lent MR, Virus A, Szapary PO, Rader DJ, Zemel BS, Gilden-Tsai A. A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):249-54.
BACKGROUND: Increased consumption of nuts has been advocated because of their health benefits, but the role of nuts in the treatment of obesity is unclear given their high energy density.
OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a hypocaloric, almond-enriched diet (AED) compared with a hypocaloric nut-free diet (NFD) on body weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the context of an 18-mo behavioral weight-management program.
DESIGN: Overweight and obese individuals [n = 123; age = 46.8 y, BMI (in kg/m(2)) = 34.0] were randomly assigned to consume an AED or NFD and instructed in traditional behavioral methods of weight control. Anthropometric and metabolic measurements were made at baseline, 6 mo, and 18 mo.
RESULTS: Those in the AED group lost slightly but significantly less weight than did those in the NFD group at 6 mo (-5.5 compared with -7.4 kg; P = 0.04), but there were no differences at 18 mo. No significant differences in body composition were found between the groups at 6 or 18 mo. The AED, compared with the NFD, was associated with greater reductions in total cholesterol (P = 0.03), total:HDL cholesterol (P = 0.02), and triglycerides (P = 0.048) at 6 mo, and no differences were observed between the groups at 18 mo.
CONCLUSIONS: The AED and NFD groups experienced clinically significant and comparable weight loss at 18 mo. Despite smaller weight loss in the AED group at 6 mo, the AED group experienced greater improvements in lipid profiles.