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The impact of nuts consumption on glucose/insulin homeostasis and inflammation markers mediated by adiposity factors among American adults

Mohsen Mazidi, Hassan Vatanparast, Niki Katsiki, Maciej Banach
Oncotarget. 2018 Jul 27; 9(58): 31173–31186.
Published online 2018 Jul 27. doi:

BACKGROUND: Inconclusive results have been published regarding the impact of nut consumption on glucose/insulin homeostasis and inflammatory factors. Furthermore, it remains unanswered whether adiposity factors could mediate the association between nut consumption, glucose/insulin homeostasis and inflammatory markers; this is what the current study aims to investigate.

METHOD: We extracted data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005–2010) on nut consumption to evaluate the association between nut intake and markers of glucose/insulin homeostasis and inflammation. We assessed whether this link, if any, is mediated or affected by adiposity factors, including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC, marker of central adiposity), anthropometrically predicted visceral adipose tissue (apVAT), visceral adiposity index (VAI, indicator of adipose distribution) and lipid accumulation product (LPA, novel index of central lipid accumulation). Analysis of co-variance and conceptus causal mediation analysis were conducted based on survey design and sample weights.

RESULTS: From a total of 16,784 individuals, 48.2% participants were men; overall mean age was 47.2 years. Age-, sex-, energy intake and race-adjusted mean of serum C-reactive protein (CRP)(0.49 to 0.26 mg/dl), apolipoprotein-β (apo- β) (95.6 to 90.8 mg/dl), glucose/insulin homeostasis parameters and triglyceride-glucose index (TyG) index (8.32 to 7.95) significantly decreased as the quartile of nut intake increased (all p< 0.001). We found that all evaluated potential mediators had significant and positive associations with markers of glucose/insulin homeostasis or inflammation (all p< 0.001). With regard to BMI, the mediated effects were significant for the associations between nut consumption and CRP, fasting blood glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein (TG:HDL) ratio and TyG index (all p< 0.001). As for WC, it had mediator impact on CRP, fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, TG:HDL ratio and TyG index (all p< 0.001). apVAT played no mediation role for any association (all p> 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study which quantify the role of nut consumption on inflammatory and glucose/insulin homeostasis markers. Nut intake was inversely associated with inflammatory and glucose/insulin homeostasis markers. Certain adiposity indexes (i.e. BMI and WC) mediated these associations. These findings convey an important message for the crucial role of weight management with dietary recommendations.