Research Article| Volume 21, ISSUE 2, P126-135, February 2011

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Effects of one serving of mixed nuts on serum lipids, insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome

  • P. Casas-Agustench
    Human Nutrition Unit, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain
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  • P. López-Uriarte
    Human Nutrition Unit, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain
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  • M. Bulló
    Human Nutrition Unit, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain
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  • E. Ros
    Lipid Clinic, Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain

    CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain
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  • J.J. Cabré-Vila
    Àrea Bàsica de Salut Reus-1, Institut Català de la Salut, Reus, Spain
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  • J. Salas-Salvadó
    Corresponding author at: Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rovira i Virgili University, Sant Llorenç 21, 43201 Reus, Spain. Tel.: +34 977 759312; fax: +34 977 759322.
    Human Nutrition Unit, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain

    CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain
    Search for articles by this author
Published:December 23, 2009DOI:


      Background and aims

      Knowledge of the effect of nut consumption on metabolic syndrome (MetS) components is limited. We assessed the effects of nut intake on adiposity, serum lipids, insulin resistance, and inflammatory biomarkers in patients with MetS.

      Methods and results

      In a randomized, parallel-group, 12-week feeding trial, 50 patients with MetS were given recommendations for a healthy diet with or without supplementation with 30 g/day of raw nuts (15 g walnuts, 7.5 g almonds and 7.5 g hazelnuts) (Nut and Control diet groups, respectively). Adiposity measures, serum lipids, insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and other inflammatory biomarkers, and 48-h fecal fat were determined basally and at study's completion. Moderate weight loss, decreased adiposity, and lower blood pressure occurred similarly after both diets. The Control, but not the Nut diet, was associated with significant (P<0.05) reduction of LDL-cholesterol, with mean changes of −0.36 versus −0.13 mmol/L, respectively (between-group differences, P=0.154). The Nut diet reduced fasting insulin by 2.60 μU/mL (95% CI, −4.62 to −0.59) and HOMA-insulin resistance by 0.72 (−1.28 to −0.16) (P<0.05 versus Control diet; both). Among inflammatory markers, the Nut diet resulted in changes of median plasma IL-6 of −1.1 ng/L (−2.7 to −0.1; P=0.035 versus Control diet), but adjustment for weight loss attenuated the significance of the association. Stool fat decreased with the Control diet and slightly increased with the Nut diet (P<0.05 for between-group differences).


      Patients with MetS show decreased lipid responsiveness but improved insulin sensitivity after daily intake of 30 g of mixed nuts.



      MetS (metabolic syndrome), HOMA (Homeostasis Model Assessment), CVD (cardiovascular disease), ATP III (Adult Treatment Panel III), REE (resting energy expenditure), O2 (oxygen), CO2 (carbon dioxide), SFA (saturated fatty acid), CRP (C-reactive protein), IL-6 (interleukin-6), MCP-1 (monocyte chemotactic protein-1), PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1), IL-18 (interleukin-18), ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid), PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid)
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