(HealthDay News) — The inclusion of walnuts in an ad libitum diet for six months is associated with improved diet quality, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
Valentine Yanchou Njike, M.D., M.P.H., from the Yale University Prevention Research Center in in Derby, Conn., and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial with two treatment arms in 112 participants at high risk for diabetes. Participants were randomized to a diet with or without dietary counseling to adjust calorie intake; participants from each treatment arm were further randomized to receive a walnut-included diet with 56 g of walnuts per day or a walnut-excluded diet.
The researchers found that six months of a walnut-included diet, with or without dietary counseling to adjust calorie intake, correlated with significant improvement in diet quality, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index 2010, compared with a walnut-excluded diet (P = 0.02 and 0.001, respectively). In the walnut-included diet there was significant improvement from baseline in endothelial function, and in total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. There were no significant changes in body mass index, percent body fat, visceral fat, fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and blood pressure.
“The inclusion of walnuts in an ad libitum diet for six months, with or without dietary counseling to adjust calorie intake, significantly improved diet quality, endothelial function, total and LDL cholesterol, but had no effects on anthropometric measures, blood glucose level, and blood pressure,” the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to the California Walnut Commission.