as part of healthy diet, cut cholesterol
NEW YORK (Reuters
Health) - Including almonds in an overall healthy diet may help
to reduce cholesterol levels, the results of a small study suggest.
the report funded by The Almond Board of California and the Canadian
government, adults who substituted 74 grams of almonds (about 2
ounces) for other foods reduced their LDL ("bad") cholesterol
by nearly 10% after 1 month. Adults who consumed fewer nuts also
saw their cholesterol levels fall, researchers report in the September
10th rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American
nuts to a diet already sufficient in calories and fat could lead
to weight gain, a risk factor for heart disease, cautions Julie
Walsh, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. While
nuts are rich in protein and healthy monounsaturated fat, they are
also high in calories.
have to remember when they eat nuts they have to take out calories
elsewhere," Walsh said in an interview with Reuters Health.
The study included
27 adults with high cholesterol and an average age of 64 years,
who agreed to follow three diets with a different snack of about
420 calories per day, for a month each.
The first diet
included a snack of 74 grams of almonds, the second diet included
about 37 grams of almonds plus one-half of a muffin, and the third
diet substituted a whole-wheat muffin, low in saturated fat, for
the nuts. The muffin had roughly the same amount of protein and
saturated and polyunsaturated fat as the nuts.
are higher in monounsaturated fat, found also in avocados, olive
oil and other types of nuts. When substituted for saturated fat
or trans fat, which is found in processed foods and baked goods,
monounsaturated fat has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
eating the diet with more almonds reduced their LDL cholesterol
by 9.4% and lowered their ratio of LDL to HDL ("good")
cholesterol--an important marker of heart disease risk--by 12%,
after one month.
The diet with
the half-portion of almonds was associated with a more than 4% average
reduction in LDL and a nearly 8% reduction in the LDL to HDL ratio.
Average cholesterol levels did not fall in those on the diet that
included just the muffin. There was no change in body weight associated
with any of the snacks.
(and nuts) may be included as part of a healthy diet to reduce the
risk of heart disease without weight gain," Dr. Cyril W.C.
Kendall, a study author from the University of Toronto in Canada,
told Reuters Health.
benefits would be observed in individuals with high cholesterol
and in those with normal levels," he added.
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