Losing weight and getting in shape isn’t just about cutting calories; it’s about making the most of your daily caloric intake. Finding the right foods to eat is one of the most critical – and often, the most overlooked – part of any diet plan.
Nuts are something that gets a lot of buzz in the fitness community. They are frequently featured in popular nutrition plans like the Mediterranean Diet. And if you are vegetarian or vegan, nuts can help you more easily meet your daily fat and protein requirements.
But are all nuts really all that great for you? In particular – are peanuts good for weight loss?
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5 Ways to Lose Weight with Peanuts
1) Peanuts Are Packed With Protein
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the powerhouse of all nutrients. High protein diets are conducive to weight loss because they keep you feeling satisfied longer.
This reduces the urge to overeat or snack – thus, cutting the total amount of calories you’re likely to consume in any given day. Protein also helps fuel fat burning while preserving calorie-torching lean muscle mass and even promotes muscle repair and growth.
Peanuts happen to be an excellent source of protein. Just a single ounce of raw peanuts contain 7 grams of protein – which is about 14 percent of your daily protein requirements.
Peanuts are also relatively low in calories for the nutrients they provide – so for right around 300 calories, you could eat two single-ounce servings of peanuts and hit nearly 30 percent of your daily protein requirement.
2) They’re Also Full of Fiber
Fiber is another essential nutrient for weight loss. It’s similar to protein in that it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Essential to digestive health, high fiber foods also help reduce cholesterol, lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, prevent colon cancer and so much more.
A lot of people think that leafy green vegetables are the only way to get their fill of fiber. However, peanuts are actually surprisingly fibrous. Just one 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, a full 9 percent of the daily recommended value.
3) Peanuts May Help Increase Your Metabolism
Peanuts may also help to raise your overall metabolic rate. A recent study was performed on the resting energy expenditure of peanut eaters.
Researchers discovered that 11 of the resting metabolic rate was 11 percent greater than the baseline after a solid 19 weeks of regular peanut consumption.
4) They Feature The ‘Good’ Kind of Fat
High-fat foods and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Seriously – it’s hard to believe, but there’s a type of healthy fat that your body actually needs.
Monounsaturated fat, the variety famously found in olive oil and avocados, is generally considered to be the “good” kind of fat. The unhealthy types of fat are saturated and trans fats.
You’ll find saturated fats found most often in animal products and trans fat in foods processed in partially hydrogenated oils. Too much of these bad fats can raise your cholesterol, clog your arteries and lead to serious health problems.
Fortunately, peanuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are filling – and they are also satisfying. The high fat content makes them a tasty snack – but without the guilt trip.
5) Peanuts Are Heart-Healthy Nuts
At Pennsylvania State University they featured peanuts and peanut butter or peanut oil as sources of high monounsaturated fat and compared them to a traditional saturated fat-filled American diet high.
Researchers found that subjects on the peanut diet lowered their total cholesterol by 11 percent and bad LDL cholesterol by 14 percent.
3 Peanut Varieties to Avoid
Not every type of peanut will help you reach your weight loss goals. In fact, some might actually cause you to gain weight and go over your daily allowances for calories, fat and sodium. For this reason, it’s very important to know which kinds of peanuts are healthy and which ones should be avoided.
1) Salted Peanuts
Salted peanuts are high in sodium – and too much sodium can lead to water retention, increased blood pressure and even heart disease.
For this reason, try to avoid salted peanuts whenever possible. If you absolutely cannot live without salted peanuts, just be sure to eat them in moderation and keep an eye on your daily sodium intake.
2) Processed Peanut Butter
By nature, peanut butter should be a relatively healthy, unprocessed food. After all, it’s just roasted peanuts that are ground up and churned into butter.
However, many manufacturers will add in sugar and other unhealthy additives in order to improve the color, texture and taste.
Make sure to read the labels when shopping for peanut butter. Look for “organic” or “natural” peanut butter. If you’re unsure, compare labels and buy the kind with least amount of ingredients and lowest in sugar.
Searching for the healthiest alternative? Some organic grocery stores actually have grinders that allow you to make your own peanut butter right in the store!
3) Big Portions
Peanuts are pretty small – and this can make them kind of dangerous to dieters. It can be easy to get carried away quickly, so that’s why it’s important to read labels and practice portion control.
Generally, one serving of peanuts is about 1 ounce – and there’s really no reason to eat more than two servings each day. However, the tiny little peanut packets found at checkout counters and convenience stores are often four servings or more.
Summary: Are Peanuts Good for Weight Loss?
If you’re trying to lose weight, peanuts are a great way to help you nurture your body while cutting calories. They are high in protein, fiber and the good kinds of fat so they keep you feeling fuller longer – not to mention, they taste great too!
Studies have also shown that regular peanut consumption may help you lower bad cholesterol levels and raise your resting metabolic rate.
However, not all kinds of peanuts are good for weight loss – or health in general. Salted peanuts, processed peanut butter and large portions of any variety of peanut will work against your health and weight loss goals and should be avoided.
Instead, pay attention to portions and reach for plain or roasted peanuts and natural, organic peanut butter.
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