Tree Nut and Peanut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Year Published: 2023


Adv Nutr


Lauren Houston, Yasmine C Probst, Mamatha Chandra Singh, Elizabeth P Neale


CVD is the leading cause of death globally. Habitual consumption of tree nuts and peanuts is associated with cardioprotective benefits. Food-based dietary guidelines globally recommend nuts as a key component of a healthy diet. This systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to examine the relationship between tree nut and peanut consumption and risk factors for CVD in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central databases were searched up to 26 September, 2021. All RCT studies that assessed the effects of tree nut or peanut consumption of any dose on CVD risk factors were included. Review Manager software was used to conduct a random effect meta-analysis for CVD outcomes from RCTs. Forest plots were generated for each outcome, between-study heterogeneity was estimated using the I2 test statistic and funnel plots and Egger's test for outcomes with ≥10 strata. The quality assessment used the Health Canada Quality Appraisal Tool, and the certainty of the evidence was assessed using grading of recommendations assessment, development, and evaluation (GRADE). A total of 153 articles describing 139 studies (81 parallel design and 58 cross-over design) were included in the systematic review, with 129 studies in the meta-analysis.

Key Findings

Key Findings: The meta-analysis showed a significant decrease for LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol (TC), TG, TC:HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol, and apoB following nut consumption. However, the quality of evidence was "low" for only 18 intervention studies. The certainty of the body of evidence for TC:HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol, and apoB were "moderate" because of inconsistency, for TG were "low," and for LDL cholesterol and TC were "very low" because of inconsistency and the likelihood of publication bias. The findings of this review provide evidence of a combined effect of tree nuts and peanuts on a range of biomarkers to create an overall CVD risk reduction.