Aging and Chronic Disease
Objective: To examine effects on biomarkers of cardiovascular and metabolic health of eating almonds for 12 weeks compared with high carbohydrate snack foods.
Experimental Design: Overweight/obese participants (n=151) aged 50-80 years were recruited for a 12 week randomised controlled parallel study where they replaced 15% of energy from their habitual diet with either almonds or isocaloric snack foods (potato chips and cookies, control group). Overnight fasted participants underwent assessments of weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, percent body fat, blood lipids, blood glucose and blood pressure (systolic, SBP; diastolic, DBP) at baseline and after 12 weeks.
Results: 128 participants (78F:50M, n=64 per group) completed the intervention (M±SD: age 64 ± 8years, BMI 30.3 ± 3.6kg/m2). There were significant reductions in SBP, total and LDL cholesterol over time (p<.05). A significant group by time interaction was observed for triglycerides (M± SEM: almonds, 1.30 ± 0.062mmol/L to 1.16 ± 0.062mmol/L vs control, 1.11 ± 0.061mmol/L to 1.16 ± 0.061mmol/L, p<.004) and a trend for a greater reduction in SBP in the almond group (almonds, 132.6 ± 1.8mmHg to 128.5± 1.8mmHg vs control,132.4 ± 1.8mmHg to 131.8 ± 1.8mmHg, p=.054).There were no significant treatment effects for other cardiometabolic biomarkers.
Discussion: The macronutrient profile of snack foods has the potential to alter cardiometabolic biomarkers. The inclusion of almonds in the diet significantly reduced triglycerides, but did not improve other markers of cardiometabolic health. Future results will evaluate whether these benefits are associated with improvements in overall diet quality.