Background and aims: Nut consumption has been associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes which has been largely attributed to their healthy fatty acid profile, yet this has not been ascertained. Therefore, we investigated the effect of nut consumption on serum fatty acid concentrations and how these relate to changes in markers of glycemic control and calculated CHD risk score in type 2 diabetes.
Methods and results: 117 subjects with type 2 diabetes consumed one of three iso-energetic (mean 475 kcal/d) supplements for 12 weeks: 1. full-dose nuts (50-100 g/d); 2. half-dose nuts with half-dose muffins; and 3. full-dose muffins. In this secondary analysis, fatty acid concentrations in the phospholipid, triacylglycerol, free fatty acid, and cholesteryl ester fractions from fasting blood samples obtained at baseline and week 12 were analyzed using thin layer and gas chromatography. Full-dose nut supplementation significantly increased serum oleic acid (OA) and MUFAs compared to the control in the phospholipid fraction (OA: P = 0.036; MUFAs: P = 0.024). Inverse associations were found with changes in CHD risk versus changes in OA and MUFAs in the triacylglycerol (r = -0.256, P = 0.011; r = -0.228, P = 0.024, respectively) and phospholipid (r = -0.278, P = 0.006; r = -0.260, P = 0.010, respectively) fractions. In the cholesteryl ester fraction, change in MUFAs was inversely associated with markers of glycemic control (HbA1c: r = -0.250, P = 0.013; fasting blood glucose: r = -0.395, P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Nut consumption increased OA and MUFA content of the serum phospholipid fraction, which was inversely associated with CHD risk factors and 10-year CHD risk.
Clinical trial reg no: NCT00410722, clinicaltrials.gov.
Keywords: Coronary heart disease; Fatty acids; Monounsaturated fat (MUFA); Nutrition; Nuts; Oleic acid; Type 2 diabetes.
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