Meta-analysis of almond consumption supports the tree nut’s cholesterol-lowering benefits

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Mullookkaaran/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Mullookkaaran/Wikimedia Commons

Related tags: Nutrition

Consuming almonds “should be encouraged to help in the maintenance of healthy blood lipid levels and to reduce the risk of heart disease," suggests a recent study.

The meta-analysis, funded by The Almond Board of California and published in the August edition of Journal of Nutritional Science, ​contradicts prior research.

The last meta-analysis on the tree nut, written by Phung et al., ​which anchored much of the current study, “concluded that ‘The current body of randomized trials does not support the ingestion of almonds solely for their lipid modifying effects,’”​ Dr. Kathy Musa-Veloso, lead author of this present study, told FoodNavigator-USA.

Additionally, Dr. Musa-Veloso said that the previous meta-analysis “demonstrated that the consumption of almonds was associated with a significant reduction in total cholesterol, but not LDL-cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) or triglycerides.”

Updates: Not just total cholesterol, evidence of lowered LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides

“More than seven years have elapsed since Phung et al. conducted their literature search, thus, all randomized controlled trials that have since been published were identified, and, using the totality of evidence, the effects of almonds on blood lipid levels were re-evaluated,” ​the current study added.

Out of the 1,697 titles the researchers identified, 18 publications met all of the researcher’s inclusion criteria—13 more from the previous meta-analysis by Phung et al​. They had an average daily intake of almonds ranging from 20 g to 113 g per day.

“In our updated meta-analysis…we found that the consumption of almonds is associated with a significant reduction not only in total cholesterol, but also LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, with no effects on HDL-cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol),”​ Kathy Musa-Veloso, the lead author of the study, told FoodNavigator-USA.

“Moreover, we found that the benefits of almonds on blood lipid levels are most pronounced in individuals who are hyperlipidemic and with an almond intake of 45 g/day or greater,”​ she added.  “These findings are important in that dieticians and other healthcare professionals can better council individuals about the use of almonds in improving blood lipid levels.”

Source: Journal of Nutritional Science

Published online, doi: 10.1017/jns.2016.19

The effect of almond consumption on fasting blood lipid levels: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Kathy Musa-Veloso, Lina Paulionis, Theresa Poon, and Han Youl Lee

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