Peanuts – can they help weight control?
In a study, researchers at Purdue University studied the effects of daily peanut consumption on dietary intake, satiety, energy expenditure and body weight. The principle investigator, Dr. Richard Mattes, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, observed that, “the high protein and fiber content in peanuts may play an important role in curbing hunger and thereby not promoting weight gain.”
The findings are consistent with large population studies such as the Seventh Day Adventist Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, where researchers found that people who consumed about an ounce of peanuts, nuts and peanut butter frequently, had lower BMI scores.
This new cross-over study included three diet treatments. Every subject participated in all three diet treatments, each providing a research-sized portion of approximately 500 calories of peanuts – a pretty substantial amount of peanuts! A handful of 20 peanuts is only about 150 calories.
The first treatment group consumed a Free-Feeding diet, which included the peanuts without any dietary guidance.
Subjects in the second Addition treatment group were given instructions to add the peanuts to their usual diets.
The third Substitution treatment group followed individualized diets, substituting the peanuts in place of 500 calories in the diet.
According to Dr. Mattes, in both the Free-Feeding and Addition groups, the subjects spontaneously remarked that they felt full and could not eat all of the food they typically eat daily. The men and women compensated for most of the additional calories by eating less than usual, even without dietary instruction to do so. This resulted in lower actual weight gain than was expected from including the extra calories into their routine.