Subject: Body weight · Diet quality
INTRODUCTION: Nuts, when eaten alongside other nutritionally rich foods, may decrease obesity and related chronic disease risks, which are high among African American women in the rural South. We monitored changes in nut intake, other obesity-related foods (fruits, vegetables, red or processed meats, added sugars), and body mass index (BMI) over a 2-year weight loss intervention among 383 overweight and obese African American women in rural Alabama and Mississippi. METHODS: Two dietary recalls were administered at 4 points over 24 months. Mann-Whitney tests compared differences in median food group intake between nut consumers and non-nut consumers, and t tests identified BMI differences between groups. Mixed linear models tested the relationship between nut intake and intake of the select food groups, and between nut intake and BMI over time. RESULTS: Overall nut consumers ate more fruits and vegetables and less red meat than non-nut consumers. Nut consumers had lower BMI values than non-nut consumers. Weight loss by the end of the intervention was significant for nut consumers but not for non-nut consumers, even after accounting for kilocalorie consumption and physical activity engagement. CONCLUSION: Nut consumption is associated with consumption of other nutritionally rich foods and lower BMI among African American women in rural Alabama and Mississippi. Future interventions should target increasing daily nut intake, decreasing added sugar intake, and identifying strategies to encourage positive dietary changes to continue after an intervention.