(HealthyResearch)- Peanuts don’t usually top the average person’s weight-loss shopping list. About 1% of the population is allergic to them, and most others are wary of their high-fat content. Despite the peanut’s bad reputation, it can actually be a great addition to most diets — especially if you’re looking to shed some pounds.
Peanuts … a Health Food?
Peanuts have more protein than tree nuts and contain about as much fiber, which makes them filling but nutritious. As long as they’re not doused in salt or sugar, they can be considered a superfood. Peanuts contain a wealth of vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats, which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But can a food so high in fat help with weight loss?
One study followed 373,293 adults between the ages of 25 and 70. Researchers found participants who consumed the most nuts gained the least amount of weight in a five-year period. They concluded that a diet high in nut intake can reduce risks of excessive weight gain and obesity.
Another study compared the differences between eating peanuts, which are technically legumes and not really nuts, and true tree nuts. Results showed no difference between the two groups: People who ate nuts, any nuts, twice per week, averaged less weight gain than people who don’t eat as many. As odd as this may seem, there is an explanation.
As calorie dense as peanuts may be, they’re also difficult to digest. That means you might be taking in a lot of fat and calories, but your body is only going to absorb a portion.
It takes a lot of energy to break down food, so when your body is spending it on foods that don’t break down easily, you’re burning more calories. One study showed long-term peanut consumption can increase the amount of energy your resting body spends by 11%.
How you eat your peanuts can also make a difference. Peanut butter can be loaded with salt and sugar — and sugar is very easily absorbed. Reduced-fat peanut butter tends to be the highest in sugar content, and it may contain other additives that make it even less healthy. If you’re eating it on white bread or with globs of jelly, it’s less likely to have a positive impact on your waistline.
Peanuts have had a bad rap. As nutritious as they are, those of us who aren’t allergic should consider consuming them regularly. Whether you’re concerned with eating a healthy diet or you’re looking to lose a few pounds, they’re far from the evil they’ve been made out to be.
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