More information on nutritional value of peanuts

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

by Dell Cotton

Last month I tried to highlight for you the important nutritional facts, which we in peanuts lay claim to and are very proud of.

I hope you learned something to add to what you already know about peanuts and peanut products.

As I mentioned, it seems the last few years have been a whirlwind of good nutritional information for our industry. It just so happens that more news came out just as my article was being printed.

The August issue of Diabetes Care published a report that shows that replacing carbohydrates with 2 ounces of nuts, such as peanuts, every day improves blood glucose central and blood lipids in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Peanuts have more protein than any other nut and are a source of mono and polyunsaturated oils. The paper reports that “increased preparations of fat and protein, especially of plant origin, may confer metabolic benefits and reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.”

The authors conclude that nuts, such as peanuts, may be used to increase vegetable oils and protein intake in the diets of Type 2 diabetic patients as part of a strategy to improve diabetes control without weight gain.

Peanuts are the most commonly eaten nut in America. Combined with peanut butter, peanuts comprise over two-thirds of U.S. nut consumption. Numerous studies have shown that consumption of peanuts and peanut butter is beneficial in keeping blood glucose stable, improving satiety and decreasing hunger, maintaining weight, and reducing risk of heart disease.

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines called for Americans to shift towards a more nutrient-dense, plant-based diet. Peanuts, peanut butter and other nuts are foods to encourage daily. This may be particularly beneficial in preventing the onset of diabetes. Diabetes prevalence has increased over 40 percent worldwide since 1980.

I promise I won’t write a nutrition article every month, but in light of the obesity and diabetes issues, which our society struggle with, this news seemed a very appropriate way to follow my last article.

As a final word, a related article on cholesterol recommended 1.5 servings of nuts a day. Just so you know, one serving is equal to 28 peanuts — probably a few less of our big Virginia peanuts.

DELL COTTON is manager of the Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association. He can be reached at