The effect of the addition of daily fruit and nut bars to diet on weight, and cardiac risk profile, in overweight adults

A Davidi, J Reynolds, V Y Njike, Y Ma, K Doughty, D L Katz
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics: the Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association 2011, 24 (6): 543-51

BACKGROUND: The frequency of unhealthful snacking has increased dramatically over the last three decades. Fruits and nuts have been shown to have positive health effects. No study has investigated the aggregate effects of various fruits combined with nuts in the form of snack bars on cardiovascular risk factors. The aim of this randomised trial was to investigate the effects of a fruit and nut snack bar on anthropomorphic measures, lipid panel and blood pressure in overweight adults.

METHODS: Ninety-four overweight adults (body mass index > 25 kg m(-2)) were randomly assigned to add two fruit and nut bars totalling 1421.9 kJ (340 kcal) to their ad libitum diet (intervention group) or to continue with their ad libitum diet (control group). Subjects underwent assessment for weight (primary outcome measure), as well as waist circumference, lipid panel and blood pressure (secondary outcome measures), before and at the end of the 8-week treatment.

RESULTS: Weight did not change from baseline after snack bar addition compared to controls (P = 0.44). Waist circumference (P = 0.69), blood pressure (systolic, P = 0.83; diastolic, P = 0.79) and blood lipid panel (total cholesterol, P = 0.72; high-density lipoprotein, P = 0.11; total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein, P = 0.37; triglycerides, P = 0.89; low-density lipoprotein, P = 0.81) also did not change from baseline compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS: Two daily fruit and nut bars, totalling 1421.9 kJ (340 kcal), did not cause weight gain. The role of habitual snacking on nutrient dense and satiating foods on both weight over time, and diet quality, warrants further study. Satiating snacks rich in fibre may provide a means to weight stabilisation.

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