A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials was undertaken to determine the effects of almond consumption on blood lipid levels, namely total cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), TAG and the ratios of TC:HDL-C and LDL-C:HDL-C. Following a comprehensive search of the scientific literature, a total of eighteen relevant publications and twenty-seven almond-control datasets were identified. Across the studies, the mean differences in the effect for each blood lipid parameter (i.e. the control-adjusted values) were pooled in a meta-analysis using a random-effects model. It was determined that TC, LDL-C and TAG were significantly reduced by -0·153 mmol/l (P < 0·001), -0·124 mmol/l (P = 0·001) and -0·067 mmol/l (P = 0·042), respectively, and that HDL-C was not affected (-0·017 mmol/l; P = 0·207). These results are aligned with data from prospective observational studies and a recent large-scale intervention study in which it was demonstrated that the consumption of nuts reduces the risk of heart disease. The consumption of nuts as part of a healthy diet should be encouraged to help in the maintenance of healthy blood lipid levels and to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Keywords: Almonds; Blood lipids; CAD, coronary artery disease; Cholesterol; HDL-C, HDL-cholesterol; LDL-C, LDL-cholesterol; T2DM, type 2 diabetes mellitus; TAG; TC, total cholesterol.