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Peanuts offer a satisfying snack without sugar, empty calories

Posted September 15

Nutritionists recommend snacks that are satiating, low in sugar and do not have empty calories.

This article was written for our sponsor, North Carolina Peanut Growers Association.

The average person consumes 25 percent of their daily calories through snacks instead of meals, and nearly 40 percent admit to eating three to four snacks every day.

With this in mind, nutritionists recommend snacks that are satiating, low in sugar and do not have empty calories. Peanuts are one option that deliver on all these counts.

According to a 2008 study by Purdue University researcher Richard Mattes on the Journal of Nutrition, nuts (ground and tree) are rich sources of multiple nutrients and their consumption is associated with health benefits, including reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

Nutrition On-The-Go

Peanuts have the most protein of any nut, providing 15 percent of a person's required daily intake, with 8 grams per ounce. Research shows that peanuts provide a form of protein that is easier to digest than soy, chickpea or wheat proteins, and unlike animal proteins, it is not high in saturated fats or cholesterol.

Peanut proteins also provide energy without the carbohydrates in bread or the animal proteins in meat. And they a rich source of vitamin B, which provides energy metabolism in conjunction with the vegetable protein.

They also provide the oxygenating forces of iron that transport oxygen to tissues and muscles, and vitamin E, an antioxidant that diminishes oxidative stress.

Satisfaction and Weight Loss

Peanuts contain 2.5 grams of fiber per ounce, and according to the FDA, after eating foods high in fiber, they absorb water and expand to create the feeling of fullness, also known as satiation.

Most snacks are either high in simple carbohydrates like sugar, or other empty calories. These give the false impression of feeling energized and full before the crash of sugars in the body causes exhaustion, and the lack of real nutrition causes hunger to return.

With peanuts as a snack, the combination of the high levels of protein and fiber create satiety, keep blood sugars stable and assist with weight management.

The 2008 study concludes that "literature suggests nuts may be included in the diet, in moderation, to enhance palatability and nutrient quality without posing a threat for weight gain."

Additionally, studies have found that peanuts can be a beneficial snack food for weight management and overall health. They provide energy and satiation, but also more than 30 nutrients, vitamins and minerals per calorie, more than any other nut.

Calories in peanuts come from vegetable fats, which have high levels of monounsaturated fats and are low in saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to be healthy for the heart, keeping blood pressure low, and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases.

Nutritionists and health researchers are taking all of this data and increasingly recommending peanuts to clients and the public-at-large.

This article was written for our sponsor, North Carolina Peanut Growers Association.

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