Plain language summary
Existing evidence shows that tree nut intake may reduce risk factors associated cardiovascular diseases. While studies have demonstrated this with almond consumption, the mechanism remains uncertain. The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of daily almond consumption on changes in body composition and lipid profiles at four different measurement points to provide further mechanistic insight. Eighty-five participants were randomised to either almond or control group and those in the almond group consumed 56g of almonds per day for 20 weeks. Anthropometric and bioimpedance measures were taken, as well as blood lipid profiles, at weeks 0, 8, 16 and 20. This study revealed patterns in blood lipid profiles fluctuations throughout the 20 weeks by utilising four time points. Continuous almond consumption led to significantly greater reductions in blood lipid levels compared to the control group, demonstrating the cardioprotective effects of almonds.
Favorable health benefits of almond have been shown in several previous studies. However, repeated measures, randomized, controlled trials to investigate the changes due to almond intake based on the time effects have not yet been reported. The current study was conducted to evaluate the effects of daily almond intake on changes in body composition and lipid profiles for 20 weeks with four measurements among healthy adults. Participants in the almond group showed favorable changes on blood lipid profiles, including levels of triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL-C) after consuming 56 g of almond per day for 20 weeks compared with those at baseline. At week 20, subjects in the almond group showed significantly decreased TC, LDL-C, non-HDL-C, TG, body fat mass, and waist-hip ratio compared with those of the control group who consumed isocaloric control food. The mixed model also confirmed that there were significant time effects in several bioimpedance indicators (i.e., total body protein, fat-free mass, etc.) and all of the lipid profile parameters in the almond group. These results confirm the effects of lipid-lowering and modifying body composition of almond consumption. In addition, our results suggest that the measuring time points would be critical to capture the effects of dietary intervention.