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Peanuts For Weight Loss: Benefits And Risks

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Peanuts, scientifically known as Arachis hypogaea, can help you lose weight. It is native to South America.

Fiber-rich foods are recommended for weight loss, and peanuts are a great source of fiber. Although it is high in calories, its fiber contents make you full for a longer duration of time.

As a result of which, it may reduce your overall calorie intake. It is a great replacement for fried and packaged snacks available on the market.

However, it should be consumed in controlled amounts to avoid excessive calorie intake. It is known by several other names such as earth nuts, groundnuts, and goobers.

Peanuts are also packed with oils that may be beneficial for your health. Peanuts are high in their nutritional content.

They contain various minerals, including potassium, selenium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.

Although they’re called groundnuts, they belong to the category of legumes. It may have side effects if consumed in excess.

Benefits Of Peanuts For Weight Loss

  1. May Keep You Satiated For A Longer Time

    Peanuts are packed with certain nutrients including fiber, amino acids or proteins, and fats which are healthy for your heart as it keeps good cholesterol in check, as per this study[1].

    As a result of this, our digestive system takes more time to digest peanuts because of which, the food remains for a longer time in your stomach and you feel satiated.

    On the other hand, market-based processed foods contain simple carbohydrates which can easily be digested by the body making you feel hungry frequently.

    We all know that to lose weight, you need to limit your calorie intake.

    The extra calories, not used during the day, add up to the fat tissues of the body, resulting[2] in weight gain.

    Eating peanuts in moderate amounts may limit your urge to eat again and again.

  2. Low-Calorie Intake

    Peanuts are high in calories but still, they might enable you to limit[3] your calorie intake given that you are consuming it in moderate amounts.

    Peanuts keep you satiated for a longer duration of time which means that you will consume relatively fewer calories in your next meal.

    Often people fill the gap between two meals with unhealthy snacks, peanuts are a great option to replace[4] these unhealthy snacks.

    Also, to be absorbed completely, we need to chew it so that it breaks down into smaller particles to ease digestion.

    However, sometimes we are unable to chew it properly because of this, many of the calories present in peanuts get unabsorbed and remain undigested.

    Thus, peanuts may effectively promote weight loss.

  3. Might Support Metabolism

    Peanuts come in various forms in the market, including raw peanut, shelled peanut, oil-roasted peanut, dry roasted peanut, and the most popular, peanut butter.

    Peanut butter has been shown to improve glucose control, as per the study[5] conducted on Chinese adults to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome 

    Peanuts also contain essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, which might help you to increase your metabolism rate[6].

    Apart from improving glucose rate, there are several other benefits of magnesium.

    Zinc and iron promote the efficient functioning of the thyroid gland which in turn boosts metabolism.

    You can also include dry fruits such as walnuts and almonds to gain maximum benefits. This could promote weight loss.

  4. Contains Healthy Fats

    Peanuts mostly contain healthy fats, also known as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    Accumulation of fat tissues in the body may result in serious diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

    These healthy[7] fats may enable your body to utilize the fats more efficiently and use them as an energy source.

    They may also help to lower cholesterol levels. Peanuts are high in fats because of the large proportions of oils in them.

  5. Can Lower Body Mass Index (BMI)

    Body Mass Index is the height-to-weight ratio, which indicates the levels of your body’s fitness.

    High Body Mass Index can potentially lead to several diseases. To prevent this, one needs to maintain a healthy BMI range.

    Peanuts could help you to keep your Body Mass Index in healthy ranges. Peanut butter or raw peanuts may be effective to lower[8] your BMI.

    Peanuts enable you to reduce your calorie intake. Although it is high in calories, it makes you feel full.

  6. Energy Boosting

    Peanuts are a good source[9] of energy. Peanuts have fiber and proteins in them which help the body to convert carbohydrates into energy.

    Fibers slow down the digestive process, providing a consistent and gradual release of energy into the body.

    Peanuts may help[10] you to burn calories even when you are not working out and resting.

    The more calories you burn, the more quickly you will reach a calorie deficit state, resulting in weight loss. However, you should not consume peanuts in excess amounts.

Side effects And Risks Of Peanuts

  1. Excessive Amounts Can Lead To Weight Gain

    Peanuts, if consumed in controlled amounts may promote weight loss but since they are high in calories, they might lead to the counter effect i.e., weight gain.

    Roasted peanuts, which have more calories and fats than raw peanuts, are unhealthy for you if you try to lose weight. Peanuts contain a lot of oil in them. They are high in fat content.

    Although most of the fats in peanuts are healthy monounsaturated fats, they also contain some amounts of saturated fats which could be harmful[11] to your health.

  2. May Reduce Mineral Absorption

    Peanuts are rich in phosphorus which is stored in the body in the form of phytic acid. Phytic acid is considered a compound that may reduce the absorption of nutrients.

    Consuming excess amounts of peanuts may not only reduce the absorption of minerals[12] and nutrients present in peanuts such as iron, zinc, and manganese but also, from other food sources.

    So, no matter how much nutrients you take in, your body would not be able to utilize them and this could make you highly vulnerable to diseases and lead to nutrient deficiency too.

    To counter this, you can try soaking the raw peanuts before consumption. 

  3. May Trigger Allergy

    Peanuts may trigger allergic symptoms if consumed in excess. Our immune system interprets proteins present in peanuts as harmful.

    It may activate an inflammatory response against it which may result[13] in allergies. Peanuts may cause allergic symptoms such as –

    • Itching
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Digestive problems, including diarrhea and vomiting
    • Wheezing
    • Shortness of breath

    In extreme cases, it could also cause symptoms like dizziness, increased pulse rate, and unhealthy fluctuations in blood pressure levels.

  4. Excessive Sodium Intake

    High amounts of sodium can be harmful to your health. Peanuts naturally are not high in their sodium contents but most packaged peanuts available on the market contain salt.

    Excessive sodium intake can lead to temporary storage of water in the body which may result[14] in weight gain.

    It was found that sodium can drive water in blood vessels which increases[15] the blood pressure of individuals who consumed salted peanuts.

    It is advisable to pick peanuts that are low in sodium content. You may also consume them raw if you are trying to lose weight as they contain very small amounts of sodium in them.

  5. Nutritional Imbalance

    Peanuts are extremely high in vitamin E but they do not contain vitamin C which could cause an imbalance in the body.

    Similarly, peanuts are a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids but they lack omega-3 fatty acids. Our body requires a balance of these fatty acids to function properly.

    This imbalance may cause inflammation in the body. If you aim for a balanced weight, your body requires omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in managing brain function and the average growth and development of the body.

The Essence

Peanuts may be beneficial for you if taken in moderate amounts. Excessive intake of peanuts may result in several side effects.

They are natural and a great choice to replace unhealthy snacks with peanuts. The high amounts of fiber could help you take in fewer calories.

They give you a boost of energy and help you control your hunger. Peanuts could also improve your glucose control.

It is advisable to consume raw peanuts and soaked raw peanuts instead of salted or roasted peanuts to avoid high sodium and calories.

References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Banafsheh Jafari Azad, Elnaz Daneshzad, Leila Azadbakht Peanut and cardiovascular disease risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(7):1123-1140. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1558395. Epub 2019 Jan 13. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30638042/
  2. Richard D Mattes, Penny M Kris-Etherton, Gary D Foster Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S. doi: 10.1093/jn/138.9.1741S. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18716179/
  3. Finding a Balance of Food and Activity Page last reviewed: February 13, 2022 Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/calories/index.html
  4. Jayne A Barbour, Emilija Stojanovski, Lisa J Moran, et al. The addition of peanuts to habitual diets is associated with lower consumption of savory non-core snacks by men and sweet non-core snacks by women Nutr Res. 2017 May;41:65-72. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.04.005. Epub 2017 Apr 20. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28506518/
  5. Di Wang, Liang Sun, Xiaoran Liu, et al. Replacing white rice bars with peanuts as snacks in the habitual diet improves metabolic syndrome risk among Chinese adults: a randomized controlled trial Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Nov 24;nqaa307. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa307. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33236043/
  6. Zhenni Zhu, Yuna He, Fan Wu, et al. The Associations of Dietary Iron, Zinc and Magnesium with Metabolic Syndrome in China’s Mega Cities Nutrients. 2020 Mar; 12(3): 659.Published online 2020 Feb 28. doi: 10.3390/nu12030659
  7. Shalini S. Arya, Akshata R. Salve, and S. Chauhan Peanuts as functional food: a review J Food Sci Technol. 2016 Jan; 53(1): 31–41.Published online 2015 Sep 19. doi: 10.1007/s13197-015-2007-9
  8. Cristiane Gonçalves de Oliveira Fialho, Ana Paula Boroni Moreira, Josefina Bressan, et al. Effects of whole peanut within an energy-restricted diet on inflammatory and oxidative processes in obese women: a randomized controlled trial J Sci Food Agric. 2022 Jun;102(8):3446-3455. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.11692. Epub 2021 Dec 8. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34837651/
  9. C M Alper, R D Mattes Effects of chronic peanut consumption on energy balance and hedonics Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Aug;26(8):1129-37. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802050. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12119580/
  10. Nuts and seeds Reviewed on: 24-08-2021 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/nuts-and-seeds
  11. Sze Yen Tan, Jaapna Dhillon, Richard D Mattes A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100 Suppl 1:412S-22S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071456. Epub 2014 Jun 11. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24920033/
  12. Are Anti-Nutrients Harmful? Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/anti-nutrients/
  13. Saleh Al-Muhsen, Ann E. Clarke, and Rhoda S. Kagan Peanut allergy: an overview CMAJ. 2003 May 13; 168(10): 1279–1285.
  14. Beatriz Navia, Aránzazu Aparicio, José Miguel Perea, et al. Sodium intake may promote weight gain; results of the FANPE study in a representative sample of the adult Spanish population Nutr Hosp. 2014 Jun 1;29(6):1283-9. doi: 10.3305/nh.2014.29.6.7361. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24972464/
  15. Andrea Grillo, Lucia Salvi, Paolo Coruzzi, et al. Sodium Intake and Hypertension Nutrients. 2019 Sep; 11(9): 1970.Published online 2019 Aug 21. doi: 10.3390/nu11091970

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