Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


Aydin Nazmi


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and has negative impacts at both the individual- and population-level through reduced quality of life, economic burden, and strain on the healthcare system. Dietary modifications, such as pistachio consumption, may help prevent CVD and two of its leading risk factors: dyslipidemia and overweight/obesity. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of pistachio consumption (20% daily energy need) on measures of adiposity and blood lipids in healthy young adult females. This study utilized 10-week crossover feeding trials at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CP-SLO) and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CP-P). Participants (n=48, mean age 21 ± 0.51 years) served as their own controls. Mean body mass index (BMI) was 21.9 ± 2.32 kg/m2 and mean total cholesterol (TC) was 155.0 ± 27.7 mg/dL. Pistachio diet participants consumed 20% of their daily energy needs of pistachios each day, whereas control diet participants maintained their usual diet without consuming nuts. The two diet treatments were separated by a 15-week washout period during which all participants resumed their usual diets. No significant differences were found between diet treatments for triacylglycerols (TAG) (p=0.6), TC (p=0.5), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (p=0.4), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (p=0.9), TC/HDL-C (p=0.7), body weight (p=0.8), BMI (p=0.9), waist circumference (WC) (p=0.4), or total body fat percentage (p=0.9). Likewise, no significant differences were found during the pistachio treatment or during the control treatment for any measured variable. Strengths of this study were the crossover design, utilization of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for precise body composition measurements, and the use of individually measured bags of pistachios to help with compliance. Limitations of the study included the relatively small sample size and short intervention period. Pistachio supplementation was not associated with significant changes in measures of adiposity or the lipid profile. Longer interventions with more participants are needed to test the long-term effects of pistachio consumption with greater power to detect differences.