Peanuts for Weight Loss?

Well this sounds like a simple trick to try! Who doesn’t like peanuts (unless you have a peanut allergy)? In shell peanuts are still the 4th best selling snack at baseball parks!

🥜 New research (published in Nutrients 2022) has just shown that eating a handful of peanuts before 2 main meals a day can help with weight loss.

The study involved adult participants who were at risk of type 2 diabetes. They were randomized to follow either a low-fat diet or the same diet plus salted dry-roasted peanuts for 6 months.

Here’s what happened:
📋 Both groups lost a similar amount of weight over 6 months (about 6.6 kg or 14.5 lb)
📋 Both groups experienced similar improvements in markers of glycemic control (glucose, insulin, and HbA1C)
📋 Those in the peanut group experienced a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure (-9.5 mmHg)

The study concludes that peanuts can be included in a low-fat diet without compromising weight loss 🥜

So here’s the problem. A low-fat diet, which has been recommended now since 1977, virtually guarantees you won’t lose weight because you’re gaining weight if you follow that advice. Unless you severely restrict your caloric intake. The 1977 guidelines recommend getting most of your calories from carbohydrates. That guarantees a high insulin response and high insulin levels promote weight gain over time. Americans have been following those low fat guidelines for almost 50 years and we’ve seen an epidemic of weight gain, obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Of course eating peanuts would not compromise weight loss on a low fat diet because low fat diets don’t work over time. Maybe in the short term like in this study.

It is well established that eating fiber fits well into a weight loss program, especially if eaten first before eating the rest of your meal. The participants in this study ate their peanuts 30 minutes prior to their meal so that was an excellent design. The carbohydrate intake in the peanut group was 39% of calories and 46% in the no peanut group. So that fits the 1977 guidelines. Interestingly, fasting insulin levels declined in both groups over 6 months. There was no significant difference in fiber intake between both groups.

So let’s do a little math.

A handful of peanuts weigh a little under 30 grams so two handfuls would be a little under 60 grams. Looking at the nutritional value of peanuts, 100 grams of peanuts (so let’s say 3.5 handfuls) contain 8.5 grams of fiber and 49 grams of natural fat. So the peanut group in this study had 36% fat for their caloric intake while the no peanut group had 29%. Therefore the peanut eating group was not following the 1977 (or even the current) food guidelines that recommend 25-35 grams of fat per day.

In 2014, there was a small study that was done using MRI scanning of the liver to measure baseline fat followed by a low carbohydrate diet. Measurements of liver fat were done on day 3 and then again on day 10. Fat reduction was noted in 5 participants by day 3 and in all participants on day 10. Weight loss in these subjects averaged 6.6 pounds. That happened in only 10 days!

So I would like to see a study comparing peanuts 30 minutes prior to a meal versus no peanuts in participants on a low carbohydrate diet over 6 months. Throwing a liver MRI in that mix would be even more fascinating. I wouldn’t be the person to do that study since I have a confirmation bias.

So the peanut study is oversimplified.

But that’s usually unavoidable with studies. Other studies have demonstrated similar benefits of eating walnuts, mixed nuts, or other nuts.

We recommend including sources of healthy fats no matter what your health goals—whether its weight loss, blood sugar balance, healthy blood pressure, or anything else.

What are some good healthy fats?
🌰 Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.)
🥣 Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, etc.)
🥑 Avocados
🫒 Olive Oil
🥥 Coconut Oil
🧈 Grass-fed Butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows
🥚 Whole Eggs

There are many more than these, but it’s a good little start. I know a 58 year old woman who eats an avocado daily and she looks like she’s in her 30s. She also juices celery which I’m guessing is an acquired taste.

When it comes to weight loss, we take into consideration the current research, your health history, and what we see to be tried and true methods that work with our clients.

What we won’t be doing is recommending a low fat diet. The detrimental health effects of carbohydrates have played out over the last 50 years. Sugar is highly addictive and sugar is poison for your body and your health.

We use testing to understand your metabolism, hormones, and goals and then craft an individualized plan to set you up for success. Check out the other articles I have on these issues on our website.

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