In collaboration with Texas Tech’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, scientists from the University of South Australia have discovered new health benefits of peanuts. The researchers used a controlled study to explore how consuming lightly salted peanuts affected weight loss, blood pressure, and glucose. They determined that nut consumption has a positive effect on individual health.
“Our study found that peanuts, which are high in healthy unsaturated fats, can actually aid weight loss,” said co-author Kristina 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, meaning they keep you feeling fuller longer and that can be really helpful for those on a weight loss diet.”
The study participants consisted of two sets of Australian adults at-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While the researchers told the control group to avoid nuts for six months, they instructed the experimental group to consume 35 grams of lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts twice a day, 30 minutes before meals.
The results showed that the experimental group loss weight despite consuming 400 more calories per day than the control group. These individuals also had lower blood pressure and improved blood sugar levels.
The finding that peanuts can lower blood sugar levels has been demonstrated in previous research. However, the other two outcomes were not as predictable.
Petersen explained that although the nuts contained salt, there was improved systolic blood pressure in the experimental group for several reasons. The first is that lightly salted peanuts are low in sodium. Second, peanuts contain a large amount of an amino acid called arginine, which aids in blood vessel dilation. Furthermore, peanuts contain magnesium, which is known to help regulate blood pressure.
The experts believe the weight loss occurred because peanuts contain a significant amount of protein and fiber, which help people feel satiated for longer.
The research is published in the journal Nutrients.