Effects of a diet high in monounsaturated fat from almonds on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins

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Spiller, G.A., D.J. Jenkins, L.N. Cragen, J.E. Gates, O. Bosella, K. Berra, C. Rudd, M. Stevenson, R. Superko, 1992.  Effects of a diet high in monounsaturated fat from almonds on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins. J Am Coll Nutr 11(2):126-30.

The effect of almonds as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol, high-fiber diet was studied in 26 adults (13 men, 13 women). The baseline diet was modified in a similar way for all subjects by limiting meat, fatty fish, high-fat milk products, eggs, and saturated fat. Grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, and low-fat milk products were the foundation of the diet. During the almond diet period, raw almonds (100 mg/day) supplied 34 g/day of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), 12 g/day of polyunsaturated fatty acid, and 6 g/day of saturated fatty acid. Almond oil was the only oil allowed for food preparation. There was a rapid and sustained reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol without changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This was reflected in a total plasma cholesterol decrease from (means +/- SEM) 235 +/- 5.0 at baseline to 215 +/- 5.0 at 3 weeks, and to 214 +/- 5.0 mg/dl at 9 weeks (p less than 0.001). When the consumption of nuts high in MUFA increases the fat content of the diet, reduction rather than elevation of plasma cholesterol has to be expected, possibly due to the MUFA content of these nuts.