A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity

Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):249-54. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037895. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Background: Increased consumption of nuts has been advocated because of their health benefits, but the role of nuts in the treatment of obesity is unclear given their high energy density.

Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a hypocaloric, almond-enriched diet (AED) compared with a hypocaloric nut-free diet (NFD) on body weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the context of an 18-mo behavioral weight-management program.

Design: Overweight and obese individuals [n = 123; age = 46.8 y, BMI (in kg/m(2)) = 34.0] were randomly assigned to consume an AED or NFD and instructed in traditional behavioral methods of weight control. Anthropometric and metabolic measurements were made at baseline, 6 mo, and 18 mo.

Results: Those in the AED group lost slightly but significantly less weight than did those in the NFD group at 6 mo (-5.5 compared with -7.4 kg; P = 0.04), but there were no differences at 18 mo. No significant differences in body composition were found between the groups at 6 or 18 mo. The AED, compared with the NFD, was associated with greater reductions in total cholesterol (P = 0.03), total:HDL cholesterol (P = 0.02), and triglycerides (P = 0.048) at 6 mo, and no differences were observed between the groups at 18 mo.

Conclusions: The AED and NFD groups experienced clinically significant and comparable weight loss at 18 mo. Despite smaller weight loss in the AED group at 6 mo, the AED group experienced greater improvements in lipid profiles. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00194428.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuts*
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Prunus
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00194428