Eating Well

Diets and Eating Patterns

Healthy Lifestyles and Weight Loss

There are many ways to lead a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight, but sometimes a real good thing does not go unnoticed. Diets of the world, diets for those who are simply looking to lose a few pounds, and diets to improve health in those with conditions such as diabetes are all including peanuts and peanut butter!

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan that emphasizes whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and peanuts, and grains. In a clinical study supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, scientists, for the first time, found that elevated blood pressures can be reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol; rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, peanuts and nuts; plentiful in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber.

In 2012, the DASH diet was ranked “Best Overall Diet” by U.S. News “for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health." The DASH diet also topped the list for the “Best Diabetes Diet” and the “Best Diet for Eating Healthy."

OmniHeart Diet
The OmniHeart Diet was developed to take the DASH Diet a step further by replacing some of its carbohydrates with unsaturated fat or protein. Research published in Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005 found that the high-protein diet and the high–unsaturated fat diet both delivered even greater health benefits than the high-carbohydrate DASH-like diet did by improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels even more. Peanuts are the perfect food to include in these diets since they are high in both protein and unsaturated fats!

Mediterranean Diet
A "Mediterranean-style" diet includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and whole grains; some dairy products, fish and poultry; and very small amounts of meats. The main source of fat, which constitutes 35-40% of calories, is monounsaturated fat from olive oil and nuts and omega-3 fat from fish.

Peanut Butter Diet
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that replacing the saturated fat calories with good mono un-saturated fat (MUFA) instead of carbohydrate lowers total and LDL cholesterol as effectively as a low-fat diet and has the additional benefits of lowering triglycerides and maintaining high HDL levels in the blood (Kris-Etherton, PM et al. High-monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and tria-cylglycerol concentrations. AJCN 1999; 70:1009-15.v). This study is important because it shows that another food source rich in MUFAs, specifically peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil, can be used in designing heart-healthy, higher MUFA diets. And with the higher MUFA diets, subjects saw heart-healthy results in just four weeks. During the course of this controlled study, subjects made small changes in their diets. They used peanut butter instead of butter on bagels, toast, and waffles, and snacked on peanuts instead of chips, crisps or pretzels.

Diabetic Diet
With diabetic diets it is important that carbohydrates, fat and protein are balanced to ensure blood sugar levels stay as stable as possible. On a 100-point scale, peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI) of 14 and a glycemic load (GL) of 1.  Glycemic load factors in the amount of carbohydrate in a standard serving and research shows that foods with a low GI and GL may help keep blood sugar and insulin levels in optimal ranges.  

Vegetarian Eating
There are many health benefits associated with eating a vegetarian diet. Compared to non-vegetarians, studies show vegetarians have lower mortality rates and a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension that can lead to stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. There is no single vegetarian cuisine or eating pattern. The bulk of calories for vegetarian diets usually comes from fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Eggs and dairy products may or may not be included. Because of their unique composition, peanuts can provide a number of nutritional benefits for vegetarian diets, including valuable plant protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.

Healthy Lifestyles and Weight Loss