LUBBOCK, Texas — Are you trying to lose weight? Try adding peanuts into your diet. A team of international researchers finds that eating lightly salted peanuts twice a day before meals leads to weight loss, lower blood pressure, and healthier fasting glucose levels.
Researchers from Texas Tech University and the University of South Australia examined data on two groups of Australian adults who were at moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes between January and December 2021. Fifty adults in the control group avoided eating any nuts or nut butter. The other group of 57 adults ate 35 grams of lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts twice a day 30 minutes before meals.
At the six-month mark, researchers found both groups achieved significant weight loss and had improved blood sugar levels, although the peanut-enriched group had lower blood pressure than the control group.
“Our study found that peanuts, which are high in healthy unsaturated fats, can actually aid weight loss,” says study collaborator Kristina Petersen, assistant research professor in Texas Tech’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, in a university release. “Peanuts are often avoided when people are trying to lose weight because they believe peanuts contains too many calories. However, peanuts actually have a high satiety value, meaning they keep you feeling fuller longer and that can be really helpful for those on a weight loss diet.”
Should people worry about the salt in peanuts?
A one-ounce serving of peanuts packs seven grams of protein, nearly three grams of fiber, and 19 vitamins and minerals. Because of this, the peanut-enriched group was getting an extra 15 grams of protein.
While peanuts may pack a nutritious punch, some may have a problem with the “lightly salted” aspect of this snack — since studies have linked more salt intake to poor heart health. However, the group that ate the lightly salted peanuts saw improved systolic blood pressure compared to those in the control group. Petersen provided three explanations for that result:
- Lightly salted peanuts are a low-sodium food and contains between 90 and 100 milligrams per serving
- Peanuts have high levels of arginine, an amino acid that dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure
- Peanuts contain magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.
The study is published in the journal Nutrients.