Major Study Demonstrates Health Benefits of Replacing Red Meat with High Protein, Heart-Healthy Peanuts

A major study, “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality” (Harvard School of Public Health; Hu, et al; Archives of Internal Medicine, March 12, 2012), has concluded that red meat is associated with an increased risk of total cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality and that substitution of other healthy protein sources for red meat is associated with lower mortality risk. The good news: Peanuts, peanut butter, and other foods prepared with peanuts provide a convenient, high-protein, and heart healthy food choice. In fact, authors of the “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality” study reported, specifically, that nuts and legumes are the best high protein foods for red meat replacement to reduce CVD and cancer mortality.

When it comes to eating peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil, the research is clear: they benefit our health. With lots of nut and legume choices (peanuts are, technically, a legume), Americans are increasingly making the move to America’s affordable favorite: peanuts and peanut butter. According to USDA, peanuts and peanut butter are 67% of the nuts eaten in the US. Consumer data highlights taste, health benefits, convenience, and affordability as the reason. Peanuts contain more protein than any other nut.

Beyond the US, other countries and cultures have long valued peanuts for the health benefits and unique flavors they bring to food. Click here to learn more about healthy peanuts around the world.

Want to enjoy the taste of fried foods? Peanut oil is fast becoming the healthy cooking oil of choice among professional chefs and consumers. For more information about frying with peanut oil, visit

Figure 2. Hazard ratios and 95% CIs (error bars) for total mortality associated with replacement of other food groups for red meat intake. Adjusted for age (continuous); body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) category (<23.0, 23.0-24.9, 25.0-29.9, 30.0-34.9, or ≥35.0); alcohol consumption (0, 0.1-4.9, 5.0-29.9, ≥30.0 g/d in men; 0, 0.1-4.9, 5.0-14.9, or ≥15.0 g/d in women); physical activity level (<3.0, 3.0-8.9, 9.0-17.9, 18.0-26.9, or ≥27.0 hours of metabolic equivalent tasks per week); smoking status (never, past, or current [1-14, 15-24, or ≥25 cigarettes per day]); race (white or nonwhite); menopausal status and hormone use in women (premenopausal, postmenopausal never users, postmenopausal past users, or postmenopausal current users); family history of diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, or cancer; history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia; total energy intake; and the corresponding 2 dietary variables in the models.

Harvard School of Public Health; Hu, et al; Archives of Internal Medicine, March 12, 2012