As new research continues on the peanut, it’s becoming increasingly evident that this affordable, sustainable and flexible superfood contains a wealth of healthy benefits to share. However, as we learn more, it’s important to look back and correct some possible misconceptions people might have.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of myths to help you separate fact from fiction:
Myth: Peanuts aren’t as nutritious as other nuts.
- Truth: Because peanuts are legumes, they have a higher protein content than any other nut1, while also supplying a beneficial blend of minerals and bioactive like that of other nuts. For example, in a study of 15,000 people who regularly consumed peanuts and peanut products, it was found their levels of vitamin A, E, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron calcium and dietary fiber were higher than those who did not2. And that’s just the beginning of what they have to offer in terms of health benefits!
Myth: The fat in peanuts makes them unhealthy.
- Truth: Truth: While it’s true that peanuts do contain fat, it shouldn’t be confused for being “unhealthy”—because the majority comes from a heart healthy combination of fatty acids like mono- and polyunsaturated fats3. In fact, there’s strong evidence supporting a link between monounsaturated fat and overall nut intake with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease4. Just be sure to practice moderation! Read more on the benefits of healthy fats on our blog here.
Myth: Peanuts shouldn’t be introduced to children early.
- Truth: Truth: Research shows that the early introduction of peanuts in a child’s diet can safely prevent peanut allergies. The LEAP Study (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) found that children exposed to peanut foods between 4-11 months of age had an 86% reduced risk of developing a peanut allergy at the end of five years5.
Myth: Peanuts aren’t helpful for weight loss.
- Truth: Truth: They taste great, so they must be bad, right? Wrong. Consuming a small daily serving of peanuts or peanut butter has been shown to positively affect weight loss diets. Harvard researchers studied two groups of people on low-fat diets, with one incorporating peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil in place of bad fats. While both groups lost weight, those who replaced their fats with peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil kept more weight off after 18 months6.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2014): http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/. Accessed 04 Oct 2018.
- Improved diet quality with peanut consumption. Griel AE, Eissenstat B, Juturu V, Hsieh G, Kris-Etherton PM J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec; 23(6):660-8. [PubMed] [Ref list]
- Assorted monounsaturated fatty acids promote healthy hearts. Feldman EB
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec; 70(6):953-4. [PubMed] [Ref list]
- Supplementary feeding with fortified spreads results in higher recovery rates than with a corn/soy blend in moderately wasted children. Matilsky DK, Maleta K, Castleman T, Manary MJ.J Nutr. 2009 Apr; 139(4):773-8. [PubMed] [Ref list]
- Toit, G.D., et al., Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy. The New England journal of medicine, 2015. 372(9): p. 803-813.
- Richard D. Mattes, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Gary D. Foster; Impact of Peanuts and Tree Nuts on Body Weight and Healthy Weight Loss in Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 138, Issue 9, 1 September 2008, Pages 1741S–1745S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/138.9.1741S