A handful of peanuts might be a favourite snack, but according to new research from the University of South Australia, it’s also a way to help shed some unwanted kilos and keep your cardio health in check.
Conducted in partnership with Texas Tech University, the study found that eating 35 grams of lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts before two main meals each day can contribute to weight loss, lower blood pressure and improved fasting glucose levels.
Assessing two groups of Australian adults at moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes, researchers tested the effect of consuming 70 grams of peanuts (an extra 15 grams of fibre) on top of a weight loss diet, as compared to a traditional low-fat weight loss diet.
They found that both groups lost weight after 6 months (6.7 kg).
Those who ate peanuts had greater improvements in their blood pressure, with this group recording lower blood pressures (by 5 mmHg) which is associated with a 10 per cent risk reduction for cardiovascular disease.
The ‘peanut group’ ate 35 grams of peanuts twice a day, 30 minutes before two of their main meals.
Participants in the control (non-peanut) group did not consume peanuts or peanut butter.
Both groups restricted their energy intakes to 5500kJ (for women) and 7000kJ (for men) and kept their exercise patterns constant throughout the study.
This research was conducted in Adelaide, South Australia by UniSA’s Professor Peter Clifton and Associate Professor Jennifer Keogh. Co-researcher and Texas Tech University researcher, Assistant Professor Kristina Petersen, says the study breaks down some of the misconceptions about the health effects of peanuts.
‘Our study found that peanuts, which are high in healthy unsaturated fats, can be part of an effective weight loss diet,’ she said.
‘People often avoid peanuts when trying to lose weight because they believe they contain too many kilojoules. Yet, peanuts actually have a high satiety value, meaning that they can keep you feeling fuller for longer and this can be really helpful for those on a weight loss diet.
‘Recognising that foods high in protein and fibre can deliver a feeling of fullness can help reduce the urge to snack or overeat,’ she said. ‘And peanuts are considered one of these foods.’
While none of this will be of any benefit to those with nut allergies, ‘it’s certainly good news for nut lovers!’ said Assistant Professor Petersen.