April 18, 2017
2 min read

Peanuts may contribute to lower CAD risk

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The addition of peanuts to a high-fat diet led to decreased triglycerides after a meal, according to findings published in The Journal of Nutrition.

“The findings show that certain foods … can help blunt or prevent some of the adverse effects that are caused by a high-fat meal,” Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA, FNLA, FASN, CLS, distinguished professor of nutrition in the department of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, told Cardiology Today. “We looked at peanuts, but some nuts have also demonstrated postprandial benefits after a high fat meal (O’Keefe JH, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2007.10.016). Also, walnuts have shown benefits on postprandial vascular health measurements, assessed by flow-mediated dilation (Ros, E, et al. Circulation. 2004;doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000124477.91474.FF).”

Previous studies have shown that higher triglycerides after a meal increases one’s risk for ischemic stroke and atherosclerosis while serving as an independent risk factor for CAD. Peanuts provide plant protein, unsaturated fatty acids and bioactive compounds to the diet.

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA, FNLA, FASN, CLS,
Penny M. Kris-Etherton

Researchers analyzed data from 15 men (mean age, 27 years; mean BMI, 34 kg/m2) who were healthy, nonsmokers and were either obese (60%) or overweight (40%).

“We looked at vascular effects, and vascular effects are marginally affected by stages of menstrual cycle, and so you really have to control for that,” Kris-Etherton said to Cardiology Today.

Their fasting triglycerides were less than 350 mg/dL, LDL was less than 160 mg/dL and BP was 140 mm Hg systolic/90 mm Hg diastolic or less. Participants did not have diabetes, kidney disease, CVD or other metabolic diseases.

They were assigned a peanut or control shake during the first visit, then the other shake at the second visit, which was at least a week after the initial visit. Both the peanut and control shakes had corresponding macronutrient content. Blood samples were collected before participants drank the shake, then at intervals after consumption. Flow-mediated dilation was used to assess endothelial function.

The peanut and control shakes increased postprandial triglycerides after 1 hour of ingestion vs. baseline (P < .05). For those assigned the peanut meal, serum triglyceride response was blunted at 120 minutes and 240 minutes after consumption compared with the control meal (P < .05). Postprandial changes in plasma triglyceride concentrations were higher at these time points for the control meal vs. the peanut meal (P < .033). Total HDL, LDL, glucose and insulin responses to each meal were similar.

Flow-mediated dilation was reduced in patients assigned the control shake at 240 minutes after consumption by 1.2% vs. baseline (P = .029). Those with higher baseline total cholesterol concentrations (> 150 mg/dL; n = 9) experienced a significant decrease in flow-mediated dilation 240 minutes after consuming the control meal (–1.8%; P = .017). This was unaffected in those assigned the peanut shake who had lower and higher total cholesterol concentrations.

Participants with a higher LDL concentration at baseline (> 100 mg/dL; n = 6) presented with a decrease in flow-mediated dilation (–2%; P = .038) 240 minutes after the control shake. Regardless of LDL concentration, the peanut shake did not decrease flow-mediated dilation.

“There needs to be a lot more research, and that’s what it does: it opens the door … [and] provides the rationale for more studies to be done to really look at this in great depth so that maybe we need to be making some of these recommendations on people, even if they’re just eating a regular amount of fat with a meal,” Kris-Etherton told Cardiology Today. “Maybe they should be eating certain foods with that fat in the meal or a snack to help prevent some of the adverse consequences that a high-fat meal does lead to.” – by Darlene Dobkowski

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.