Background: There is increasing evidence that nut consumption decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there are few data on the health effects of cashew nuts among adults with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
Objective: The study aimed to investigate the effects of cashew nut supplementation on glycemia, body weight, blood pressure, and lipid profile in Asian Indians with T2DM.
Methods: In a parallel-arm, randomized controlled trial, 300 adults with T2DM [mean ± SD age: 51 ± 9.3 y; body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2): 26.0 ± 3.4; 55% male] were randomly assigned to receive advice to follow a standard diabetic diet (control) or similar advice plus 30 g cashew nuts/d (intervention) for 12 wk. The macronutrient composition of the prescribed diabetic diet was 60-65% energy from carbohydrates, 15-25% from fat, and the rest from protein. Differences between groups in changes in anthropometric and biochemical variables were analyzed using linear models with robust variance estimation under an assumed independence working correlation.
Results: Participants in the intervention group had a greater decrease in systolic blood pressure from baseline to 12 wk than did controls (-4.9 ± 13.7 compared with -1.7 ± 11.6 mm Hg; P = 0.04) and a greater increase in plasma HDL cholesterol compared with controls (+1.7 ± 5.6 compared with +0.1 ± 4.6 mg/dL; P = 0.01). There were no differences between the groups with respect to changes in body weight, BMI, blood lipid, and glycemic variables. Plasma oleic acid concentrations and self-reported dietary intake of nuts, oleic acid, and monounsaturated fatty acids suggested excellent compliance with the nut consumption.
Conclusion: Cashew nut supplementation in Asian Indians with T2DM reduced systolic blood pressure and increased HDL cholesterol concentrations with no deleterious effects on body weight, glycemia, or other lipid variables. This study was registered at the clinical trial registry of India as CTRI/2017/07/009022.
Keywords: body weight; cashew nut; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; type 2 diabetes.
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