Effects of Almond Intake on Atherogenic Lipoprotein Particles


UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland




Obesity, Abdominal


Other: Standard reference diet
Other: Almond supplemented diet
Other: Low carbohydrate reference diet

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Increased abdominal adiposity is a key feature of metabolic syndrome, which describes a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors that also includes insulin resistance, high blood pressure and an atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype characterized by increased plasma triglycerides, low HDL-C, and increased levels of small LDL particles. While lifestyle intervention remains the cornerstone for managing obesity and metabolic syndrome, the optimal dietary macronutrient distribution for improving blood lipids and CVD risk remains a topic of controversy. While both low carbohydrate diets and weight reduction are effective for managing atherogenic dyslipidemia, long-term compliance is low, and it becomes imperative to identify alternative dietary approaches. Increased consumption of almonds has been shown to lower LDL-C, an effect that exceeds that predicted from changes in fatty acid intake. However, although LDL-C lowering by almonds has been demonstrated in patients with diabetes, there have been no trials in non-diabetic patients with abdominal obesity. Moreover, there is limited information of the effects of almond intake on LDL particle subclasses. The overall objective of the present study is to determine whether lipoprotein measures of CVD risk in individuals with increased abdominal adiposity are reduced by almond supplementation in a diet with overall macronutrient content that conforms to current guidelines. Our main hypothesis is that in these individuals, almond consumption can reduce levels of small and medium LDL particles without the need to restrict dietary carbohydrates to levels below those currently recommended. This hypothesis will be tested by comparing the lipoprotein effects of an almond-supplemented diet (20%E) with those of two reference diets that do not contain almond products: one with similar content of carbohydrate, protein, and fat (standard reference), and the other in which carbohydrate content is reduced by substitution of protein and monounsaturated fat (low-carbohydrate reference). We will provide the diets for 3 weeks each in a randomized 3-period crossover design to 40 individuals with increased abdominal adiposity. We will test whether the almond supplemented diet will result in lower levels of lipoprotein measures of CVD risk, specifically LDL-C and small and medium LDL particles, compared to either the standard or low-carbohydrate reference diets.


24 patients




20+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Age 20 or older
  • Increased abdominal adiposity as defined by waist circumference ≥102 for men or ≥88 for women.
  • Fasting blood sugar (FBS) < 126 mg/dl
  • Weight stable for > 3 months.

Exclusion criteria

  • History of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, bleeding disorder, liver or renal disease, diabetes, lung disease, HIV, or cancer (other than skin cancer) in the last 5 years.
  • Taking hormones or drugs known to affect lipid metabolism or blood pressure.
  • Systolic blood pressure > 160 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure > 95 mm Hg.
  • Body mass index (BMI) > 38 kg/m2
  • User of nicotine products or recreational drugs
  • Refusal to abstain from alcohol or dietary supplements during the study.
  • Total- and LDL-C > 95th percentile for sex and age.
  • Fasting triglycerides > 50mg/dl and > 500 mg/dl
  • Abnormal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Crossover Assignment


Single Blind

24 participants in 3 patient groups

Standard Reference Diet
Active Comparator group
Other: Standard reference diet
Almond Supplemented Diet
Experimental group
Other: Almond supplemented diet
Low Carbohydrate Reference Diet
Active Comparator group
Other: Low carbohydrate reference diet

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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