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Energy Value of Macronutrients From Pistachio Nuts and Mechanisms of Nutrient Action

25 Years
65 Years
Not Enrolling
Energy, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer

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Trial Information

Energy Value of Macronutrients From Pistachio Nuts and Mechanisms of Nutrient Action

Previous studies have suggested that nut consumption imparts a variety of health benefits,
including reduction of cardiovascular disease and improved satiety. However, studies of
pistachios are extremely limited. The aim of this study is to determine the energy value of
pistachios in the human diet and to probe mechanisms by which pistachios impart health
benefits. The metabolizable energy value of pistachio nuts will be calculated based on the
chemical composition and energy content of the consumed diet and excreta. This will provide
a better estimate of the energy value of pistachios than simply calculating energy value
based on Atwater factors. In addition to determining the energy value of pistachios, we will
evaluate the effects of pistachio-rich diets on plasma phytonutrient levels and on gene
expression changes to determine what protective mechanisms are activated by pistachio

Inclusion Criteria:

- Age 25 to 65 years at beginning of study

- BMI between 20 and 38 kg/m2

- Fasting glucose < 126 mg/dl

- Blood pressure < 160/100 (controlled with certain medications)

- Fasting total blood cholesterol < 280 mg/dl

- Fasting triglycerides < 300 mg/dl

Exclusion Criteria:

- Presence of kidney disease, liver disease, gout, hyperthyroidism, untreated or
unstable hypothyroidism, certain cancers, gastrointestinal disease, pancreatic
disease, other metabolic diseases, or malabsorption syndromes

- Type 2 diabetes requiring the use of oral antidiabetic agents or insulin

- History of bariatric or certain other surgeries related to weight control

- Smokers or other tobacco users (during 6 months prior to the start of the study)

- Antibiotic use during the intervention or for 3 weeks prior to any intervention

- History of eating disorders or other dietary patterns which are not consistent with
the dietary intervention (e.g., vegetarians, very low fat diets, high protein diets)

- Volunteers who have lost 10% of body weight within the last 12 months or who plan to
initiate a weight loss program during the next 10 months

- Known (self-reported) allergy or adverse reaction to pistachios or other nuts

- Unable or unwilling to give informed consent or communicate with study staff

- Self-report of alcohol or substance abuse within the past 12 months and/or current
acute treatment or rehabilitation program for these problems (long-term participation
in Alcoholics Anonymous is not an exclusion)

- Other medical, psychiatric, or behavioral factors that in the judgment of the
Principal Investigator may interfere with study participation or the ability to
follow the intervention protocol

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Open Label

Outcome Measure:

to measure the energy value of pistachios in the human diet

Outcome Time Frame:

3 weeks

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

David J Baer, Ph. D.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:



United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

October 2009

Completion Date:

December 2009

Related Keywords:

  • Energy
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • pistachio
  • nuts
  • energy value
  • cardiovascular disease
  • phytonutrient
  • gene expression
  • energy value of pistachio nuts
  • Cardiovascular Diseases



USDA-ARS, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center Beltsville, Maryland  20705