I’ve often told the story about my grandfather’s peanut habit. He enjoyed a small handful every evening after dinner with a glass of wine.
Peanuts have always been part of my diet, and a recent study confirms they may indeed help with blood sugar control, weight management and blood pressure regulation. A good body of research studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease. Part of a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, potassium and other minerals, plus phytosterols, and phenolic compounds. Peanuts, are actually a legume, but have many of the same benefits as tree nuts.
RCT Study on Peanuts
An RCT study (randomized controlled trial) is considered the “gold standard” of research because it controls for variables and definitively limits bias. A 2021 RCT study from the University of South Australia showed that 35 grams of lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts twice a day, 30-minutes before meals (a total of 1/4 cup per day), resulted in weight loss, lower blood pressure, and blood sugar (glucose) control.
“…peanuts, which are high in healthy unsaturated fats, can actually aid weight loss,” said Dr. Petersen. “Peanuts are often avoided when people are trying to lose weight because they believe peanuts contain too many calories. However, peanuts actually have a high satiety value so that means they keep you feeling fuller longer and that can be really helpful for those on a weight loss diet.”
The study included two groups of Australian adults who were at moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes. Both groups were given the same diet except for the consumption of peanuts.
- The control group of 50 adults was instructed to avoid eating any nuts or nut butter.
- The peanut-enriched group (57 adults) consumed 35 grams of lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts twice a day 30-minutes before meals.
After six months, researchers found:
- Statistically Significant Weight Loss – Both groups lost about 15 pounds, even though the peanut-enriched group was consuming an extra 400 calories a day from the addition of a total of 70 grams (2.5 ounces) of peanuts to their diet.
- Lower Blood Pressure – BUT Greater systolic blood pressure reductions were seen in the peanut-enriched group than the control group. The peanut group lowered their systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg points. This is significant because it’s associated with a 10% reduction in risk for major cardiovascular events.
- Improved Blood Sugar Levels – Both groups saw improved fasting glucose and insulin control, as well as improved HbA1c, which is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Adding Peanuts to the Diet
The researchers work showed that peanuts have a satiety value, meaning they help keep you full and satisfied. This makes them helpful for weight management. They also provide healthy fats, which are good for your heart and brain.
If you are struggling with needed weight loss, adding a quarter cup (4 tablespoons) of peanuts to your diet could help you. They are certainly going to add healthy fats, fiber and minerals to your diet. You could consider having a 2-3 tablespoon serving as a daily snack, and also incorporating peanuts into your cooking. Or just snack on a 1/4 cup serving daily – 2 tablespoons after lunch and 2 tablespoons after dinner.