Background: Being more specific about individual food choices may be advantageous for weight loss. Including a healthy food (e.g. walnuts) may help to expose effects. Objective: To examine the impact of including walnuts in diets for weight loss. Design: Secondary analysis of the HealthTrack lifestyle intervention trial. Overweight and obese participants were randomized to: usual care (C), interdisciplinary intervention including individualized dietary advice (I), or interdisciplinary intervention including 30 g walnuts/day (IW). Changes in body weight, energy intake, intake of key foods, physical activity, and mental health over three and 12 months were explored. Results: A total of 293 participants completed the intensive three-month study period, and 175 had data available at 12 months. The IW group achieved the greatest weight loss at three months. IW reported significant improvements in healthy food choices, and decreased intakes of discretionary foods/beverages, compared to C. Weight loss remained greatest in IW at 12 months. Discussion: Significant effects were seen after three months, with the IW group achieving greater weight loss and more favorable changes in food choices. Conclusions: Including 30 grams walnuts/day in an individualized diet produced weight loss and positive changes in food choice.
Keywords: Walnut; diet quality; discretionary foods; weight loss.