Study: Eating peanuts daily may reverse metabolic syndrome, a condition that affects 23% of adults

December 3, 2020

The Peanut Institute is sharing the results of recent research, which found that eating two ounces of lightly salted peanuts daily for 12 weeks may help reverse a medical condition known as metabolic syndrome.

The study—conducted by scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, and published in the current online issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionestablished that those who ate peanuts had a two times higher likelihood of reversing their metabolic syndrome than those in a control group

The study is a first-of-its-kind to look at the effects of peanut consumption on a medical classification that, according to the American Heart Association, affects approximately 23% of adults.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to fatty buildups in artery walls. Those with metabolic syndrome are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and two times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease within 10 years as someone without it. Some of the characteristics of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 

The 12-week dietary intervention study was conducted October 2017 through January 2018 with 224 participants who either had metabolic syndrome or were at risk for it.

“This study is unique because it added just one new element to participants’ diets with the introduction of two servings of peanuts each day,” says Dr. Samara Sterling, director of research for The Peanut Institute. “The research showed the impact of nutrient-dense peanuts and how they positively affected participants’ health outcomes.”

The study also found that eating two servings of peanuts daily for 12 weeks did not cause participants to gain weight. 

“It’s exciting research because it supports the approach that food can be thought of as medicine in the fight against chronic diseases,” says Sterling. “Peanuts are packed with nutrients and are able to deliver health benefits in a small and affordable serving.”

Two servings, or approximately 70 peanuts, cost less than 30ȼ, are about 170 calories— and contain 14 grams of plant protein, plus 19 vitamins and minerals.

Peanuts also have antioxidants, polyphenols, and phytosterols—plant substances that have been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, lower inflammation and cholesterol, and improve blood flow. In addition, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts, like those in olive oil and avocados, help decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Research contact: @PeanutInstitute 

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