Peanuts and Weight Loss

Peanut on white background
Weight-loss diets that include nuts are often more effective than diets excluding nuts. (Image: leungchopan/iStock/Getty Images)

Peanuts are not low-calorie foods; however, eating them may actually be beneficial during weight loss. A 2008 review published in “The Journal of Nutrition” reports that when eaten in moderation, peanuts do not pose a threat for weight gain. A 2010 review published in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reports that weight-loss diets that include nuts are often more effective than diets excluding nuts.

Benefits of Nuts

Peanuts are packed with nutrients, including fiber, protein and heart-healthy fats. Protein and fiber both help increase satiety, which makes it easier to control your overall calorie intake during weight loss. Protein even helps your body burn extra calories, according to a 2009 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition.” The 2008 and 2010 reviews in “The Journal of Nutrition” and “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” note that regular nut consumption is associated with increased energy expenditure.

Drawbacks

Though peanuts provide several benefits during weight loss, they are high in calories. Therefore, overindulging in nuts can prevent weight loss -- and even lead to weight gain. A 1-ounce portion of peanuts provides 161 calories. Salted peanuts are also high in sodium. Sodium-rich diets can increase your blood pressure and risk for heart disease. Therefore, choose unsalted peanuts when possible, and eat peanuts in moderation.

Weight-Loss Calorie Needs

Including peanuts in your diet can help you lose weight if you’re able to reduce your overall calorie intake -- or boost your daily caloric expenditure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests reducing your intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily to shed about 1 to 2 pounds weekly. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests many adults require 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day to effectively drop weight.

Recommended Portions

The amount of peanuts, or other nuts, you should include in a weight-loss diet depends on your weight-loss calorie needs. Harvard Health Publications suggests women eat no fewer than 1,200 calories daily and men consume at least 1,500 calories a day unless supervised by a doctor. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend consuming 4 teaspoons of oils when eating 1,200 calories daily, and 5 teaspoons of oils a day when following 1,600-calorie diets. A 1-ounce portion of dry-roasted peanuts is equivalent to 3 teaspoons from the oils food group, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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