Eating pecan nuts could possibly significantly decrease blood cholesterol levels in consumers following heart-healthy diet, according to a clinical study conducted by researchers from California-based Loma Linda University.

Publishing their findings in the September issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the researchers explained that by adding a daily dose of pecans to a traditional low fat diet, study participants more than doubled their diet’s cholesterol lowering effectiveness.

The controlled metabolic clinical study tested what happened when volunteers consumed both a basic low-fat diet often prescribed for patients with high cholesterol levels, and a similar diet that replaced 20% of the calories with pecan nuts, added to dishes such as salads and cereals.

The pecan diet actually contained 11% more fat than its counterpart, but was found to lower cholesterol levels by double the amount.

The researchers also stressed that while on the pecan nut diet, the study participants did not experience any weight gain.