Nuts are recommended for cardiovascular health, yet concerns remain that nuts may contribute to weight gain due to their high energy density. A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to update the evidence, provide a dose-response analysis, and assess differences in nut type, comparator and more in subgroup analyses. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane were searched, along with manual searches. Data from eligible studies were pooled using meta-analysis methods. Interstudy heterogeneity was assessed (Cochran Q statistic) and quantified (I2 statistic). Certainty of the evidence was assessed by Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE). Six prospective cohort studies (7 unique cohorts, n = 569,910) and 86 RCTs (114 comparisons, n = 5873) met eligibility criteria. Nuts were associated with lower incidence of overweight/obesity (RR 0.93 [95% CI 0.88 to 0.98] P < 0.001, "moderate" certainty of evidence) in prospective cohorts. RCTs presented no adverse effect of nuts on body weight (MD 0.09 kg, [95% CI -0.09 to 0.27 kg] P < 0.001, "high" certainty of evidence). Meta-regression showed that higher nut intake was associated with reductions in body weight and body fat. Current evidence demonstrates the concern that nut consumption contributes to increased adiposity appears unwarranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02654535.
Keywords: body weight; meta-analysis; nuts; systematic review.
© 2021 The Authors. Obesity Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.