A small 12-week clinical trial involving 52 overweight, middle-aged adults with high total and LDL cholesterol has found that those who ate a daily snack of almonds significantly improved a number of cardiovascular risk factors compared to those who ate a banana muffin.
Specifically, they decreased total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol non-HDL-cholesterol and remnant lipoproteins, and reduced abdominal fat mass, waist circumference and leg fat mass (not total weight or fat mass — this is about distribution).
The muffin and the 1.5 oz (42g) of whole natural almonds had the same number of calories. Otherwise, the participants ate the same balanced diet. Participants followed each diet for six weeks, with a two-week “washout” period in between. Adherence to the diets was 85%.
Berryman CE, West SG, Fleming JA, Bordi PL, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of Daily Almond Consumption on Cardiometabolic Risk and Abdominal Adiposity in Healthy Adults with Elevated LDL-Cholesterol: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association 2015; 4:e000993 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.114.000993.