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Walnut consumption increases activation of the insula to highly desirable food cues: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over fMRI study


Farr OM, Tuccinardi D, Upadhyay J, Oussaada SM, Mantzoros CS.
Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018 Jan;20(1):173-177. doi: 10.1111/dom.13060. Epub 2017 Aug 17.
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715141

AIMS: The use of walnuts is recommended for obesity and type 2 diabetes, although the mechanisms through which walnuts may improve appetite control and/or glycaemic control remain largely unknown.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: To determine whether short-term walnut consumption could alter the neural control of appetite using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial of 10 patients who received, while living in the controlled environment of a clinical research centre, either walnuts or placebo (using a validated smoothie delivery system) for 5 days each, separated by a wash-out period of 1 month.

RESULTS: Walnut consumption decreased feelings of hunger and appetite, assessed using visual analog scales, and increased activation of the right insula to highly desirable food cues.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that walnut consumption may increase salience and cognitive control processing of highly desirable food cues, leading to the beneficial metabolic effects observed.

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