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Older adults tend to require fewer energy content and higher levels of nutrients to promote and maintain optimal health. Regrettably, dietary variety and quality are known to decline with advancing age. We conducted a 2-year prospective, randomised, dietary intervention trial where we asked free-living elderly subjects (63–79 years) on self-selected habitual diets to incorporate walnuts daily into their diet (15 % energy). We then compared their nutrient intake with that of a similar group of concurrent participants on self-selected habitual diets but abstaining from walnut consumption (control). No recipes or advice on use of nuts were provided. Dietary intake was assessed by multiple unannounced 24-h telephone dietary recalls. On average, walnut supplement consumption was 43 g/d or 1171·5 kJ (281 kcal). The mean daily energy intake was 954 kJ (228 kcal) higher in the walnut group than in the control group (P<0·001). Compared with control, participants in the walnut group reported significantly higher intake of total protein, vegetable protein, total PUFA and n-3 and n-6 PUFA; and significantly lower intake of total carbohydrate, animal protein, SFA, and Na. An estimated 19 % of total energy and 25 % of total fat from other food sources was displaced. Displacement of MUFA and total PUFA was 21 and 16 %, respectively. Thus adding a daily supplement of walnuts to an ad libitum diet of older adults can induce favourable modifications to the nutrient profile in a way that addresses declining nutrient intake associated with aging.
Plant sterol (PS)-supplemented foods are recommended to help in lowering serum LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). Few studies have examined the efficacy of PS-enriched skimmed milk (SM) or semi-SM enriched with vegetable fat (PS-VFM). There is also insufficient information on factors predictive of LDL-C responses to PS. We examined the effects of PS-SM (0·1 % dairy fat) and PS-VFM (0·1 % dairy fat plus 1·5 % vegetable fat) on serum lipids and non-cholesterol sterols in hypercholesterolaemic individuals. In a placebo-controlled, crossover study, forty-three subjects with LDL-C>1300 mg/l were randomly assigned to three 4-week treatment periods: control SM, PS-SM and PS-VFM, with 500 ml milk with or without 3·4 g PS esters (2 g free PS). Serum concentrations of lipids and non-cholesterol sterols were measured. Compared to control, LDL-C decreased by 8·0 and 7·4 % (P < 0·015, both) in the PS-SM and PS-VFM periods, respectively. Serum lathosterol:cholesterol (C) ratios increased by 11–25 %, while sitosterol:C and campesterol:C ratios increased by 70–120 % with both the PS-fortified milk. Adjusted LDL-C reductions were variably enhanced in participants with basal low serum lathosterol/C or conversely high sitosterol/C and campesterol/C. Subjects with post-treatment serum PS:C ratios above the median showed mean LDL-C changes of − 5·9 to − 10·4 %, compared with 1·7 to − 2·9 % below the median. In conclusion, consumption of 2 g/d of PS as PS-SM and PS-VFM lowered LDL-C in hypercholesterolaemic subjects to a similar extent. Basal and post-treatment changes in markers of cholesterol metabolism indicating low cholesterol synthesis and high cholesterol absorption predicted improved LDL-C responses to PS.
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