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J Nutr. 2008 Apr;138(4):761-7.

A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802, USA.


Epidemiologic studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that the unique fatty acid profile of nuts beneficially affects serum lipids/lipoproteins, reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Nuts are low in SFA and high in PUFA and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Macadamia nuts are a rich source of MUFA. A randomized, crossover, controlled feeding study (5-wk diet periods) compared a Macadamia nut-rich diet [42.5 g (1.5 ounces)/8.79 MJ (2100 kcal)] [MAC; 33% total fat (7% SFA, 18% MUFA, 5% PUFA)] vs. an average American diet [AAD; 33% total fat (13% SFA, 11% MUFA, 5% PUFA)] on the lipid/lipoprotein profile of mildly hypercholesterolemic (n = 25; 15 female, 10 male) subjects. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol (TC) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) following the MAC (4.94 +/- 0.17 mmol/L, 3.14 +/- 0.14 mmol/L) were lower than the AAD (5.45 +/- 0.17 mmol/L, 3.44 +/- 0.14 mmol/L; P < 0.05). The serum non-HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration and the ratios of TC:HDL-C and LDL-C:HDL-C were reduced following consumption of the MAC diet (3.83 +/- 0.17, 4.60 +/- 0.24, and 2.91 +/- 0.17, respectively) compared with the AAD (4.26 +/- 0.17, 4.89 +/- 0.24, and 3.09 +/- 0.18, respectively; P < 0.05). There was no change in serum triglyceride concentration. Thus, macadamia nuts can be included in a heart-healthy dietary pattern that reduces lipid/lipoprotein CVD risk factors. Nuts as an isocaloric substitute for high SFA foods increase the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids and decrease SFA, thereby lowering CVD risk.

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