Peanuts cause weight gain the same as any other food: their calories add-up if you don't watch the amount you consume. Like other snack foods, it's easy to eat more than you realize as you grab them out of the jar or bowl while you're doing other things. As long as you eat a moderate amount as part of a calorie-controlled diet, peanuts can be part of your weight loss plan.
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Peanuts and Weight Loss
Contrary to what you might expect, eating peanuts is not associated with weight gain. In fact, they may help you lose weight, notes researchers in the July 2010 issue of “Nutrients.” A review of existing research published in September 2008 in the "Journal of Nutrition" noted that consuming a moderate amount of peanuts contributed dietary nutrients without posing a threat for weight gain. Early in 2010, researchers from Purdue University published a review in the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition," reporting that regular consumption of peanuts was associated with an increase in resting energy expenditure.
Limit Portions to Restrict Calories
One of the biggest challenges of eating peanuts is keeping portions small so you don’t overload on calories. The health claim approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, including peanuts, may lower your risk of heart disease. On the nutrition facts label, you’re more likely to see one serving defined as 1 ounce or 28 grams. This portion equals about 32 peanuts. Whether they’re oil- or dry-roasted, a 1-ounce serving has 166 calories and 14 grams of total fat. On the positive side, most of the fat consists of healthy unsaturated fats that lower cholesterol.
Protein for Satiety
Peanuts contribute the protein your body needs to build and repair tissues, keep muscles working, and produce hormones and enzymes. Protein also supports your weight loss efforts. It helps prevent fluctuations in blood sugar that lead to feeling hungry when sugar levels dive. Your body burns more energy digesting protein than it uses for carbs or fat. Protein also makes you feel full, notes the Harvard School of Public Health. You’ll get 7 grams of protein from a 1-ounce serving, which is 15 percent of women’s and 13 percent of men’s recommended daily allowance.
Fiber Keeps You Full
In addition to lowering cholesterol and maintaining a healthy digestive tract, fiber helps you lose weight. As soluble fiber absorbs water in your stomach, it forms a gel-like mass that fills you up. It makes you feel full longer by slowing down the pace at which food leaves your stomach. Fiber may also delay the release of the hormone ghrelin, according an article published in the June 2012 issue of “Current Obesity Reports.” This action should postpone the feeling of hunger since your appetite is triggered by ghrelin. You’ll get 2 grams of fiber from a 1-ounce serving of peanuts.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Nuts
- Nutrients: Health Benefits of Nut Consumption
- Journal of Nutrition: Impact of Peanuts and Tree Nuts on Body Weight and Healthy Weight Loss in Adults
- University of Michigan Health System: Healthy Nuts Go Nuts
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein and Weight Control
- Current Obesity Reports: Is There a Place for Dietary Fiber Supplements in Weight Management?
- NutritionValue.org: Peanuts, Without Salt, Dry-Roasted, All Types
- NutritionValue.org: Peanuts, Without Salt, Oil-Roasted, All Types
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Nuts and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance Mechanisms