Health & Fitness

Peanuts and Peanut Butter Help You Lose Weight?

Kristen Sparrow • June 28, 2013


Open jar of peanut butter and knife, ready to spread. Photo: Nichols

Peanut butter had been a staple for me for many years, through college, medical school, residencies, and even pregnancies.  Such a great food. Delicious, satisfying, cheap, and requires no refrigeration.  I remember the surgeons making fun of my PB and J sandwiches, in a nice way, when didn’t I know “Lean Cuisine” was the way to go? Then I started to worry that it was too fattening, so had cut way back.  Well it turns out, there are calories and then there are calories.  And the calories from peanut butter may be well worth it.  It  turns out that both peanuts and peanut butter curb appetite throughout the day if eaten in the a.m., and stabilize blood sugar.  It also turns out that they increase YY, an appetite suppressing hormone.
Good news on the food front for me this month, with both coffee AND peanut butter turning out to be good for you!
From the San Francisco Chronicle.
They’re inexpensive, they’re childhood lunchbox staples, and now a new study indicates that peanut butter and peanuts, when eaten for breakfast, can curb hunger and control blood sugar levels throughout the day.
The small study, published this month in the British Journal of Nutrition, involved 15 obese women with high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The findings, researchers say, are promising because peanuts and peanut butter may help overweight people control their appetites. And the foods, which are already common worldwide, aid in keeping blood sugars stable – something that’s important to a population at risk for Type 2 diabetes.
The scientists tested the dietary effects of peanuts and peanut butter in three phases. In one phase, the women ate 1.5 ounces of peanuts for breakfast, along with orange juice and Cream of Wheat cereal. In another phase, the same women substituted 3 tablespoons of peanut butter for the peanuts. The third, the “control phase,” was given just the juice and cereal.
When the women ate peanuts or peanut butter, they reported a lower-than-usual desire to eat for up to 12 hours after breakfast. The women’s blood samples revealed that when they ate peanuts and peanut butter, their production of an appetite-suppressing hormone called peptide YY increased.
Blood sugar levels, which naturally rise as the body digests food after meals, did not rise as much after breakfasts that included peanuts and peanut butter. And although the women didn’t eat peanut products at lunch, their blood sugar levels didn’t rise as much as usual after that midday meal.
Peanut butter yielded slightly better results than whole peanuts. But, in both cases, researchers credit peanuts’ high levels of protein and healthy fats for their ability to stave off hunger. Peanuts have about 8 grams of protein per ounce – the highest of any nut.