Effects of walnut consumption as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet on serum cardiovascular risk factors

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2002 Oct;72(5):341-7. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.72.5.341.


Serum components, such as lipoproteins, coagulation factors (factor VII, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), fibrinogen), and homocysteine have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Dietary intervention with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet has favorably influenced cardiovascular disease and certain food, specifically the consumption of nuts, has been associated with reduced cardiovascular risks. The effects of walnuts, as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, on serum cardiovascular risk factors were determined. Sixty-seven (67) outpatients with borderline high total cholesterol following a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for six weeks before being randomly assigned to continue the diet or have 64 grams/day of walnuts in conjunction with the diet. After six weeks, the patients' diets were switched. Therefore, all patients consumed 64 grams/day of walnuts for six weeks during part of the trial as part of a low-fat, low cholesterol diet. Serum lipids demonstrated a significant reduction in triacyglycerols and favorable trend with decreases in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and a slight increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. No statistical effects on homocysteine or the coagulation factors were observed. However, there was a slight favorable trend for tPA and PAI-1. This study demonstrated that walnuts, when consumed as part of a low fat, low-cholesterol diet, have a beneficial effect on serum cardiovascular risk factors. However, these changes may not explain all of the beneficial effects that walnut consumption has on cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Female
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Juglans*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Homocysteine