Health and Nutrition Research Landing Page

Weight Management

Peanuts, Peanut Butter May Hold the Key to Preventing Obesity

A 2015 USDA-funded study by investigators at Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston and Texas Women's University shows how peanuts and peanut butter may hold the key to preventing obesity.

Study Result Highlights:

  • High risk Mexican-American adolescents who consistently consumed a daily snack of peanuts or peanut butter significantly decreased their Body Mass Index (BMI) over a six month period compared to those adolescents not on the snacking intervention.
  • Swapping protein-rich peanuts or peanut butter for high-carbohydrate snacks 3-4 times a week resulted in healthier weight status and improved health quality in the children studied.


More About the Study:
Children in the United States consume between two and three snacks each day on average, an amount providing over one-fourth of the daily energy needs. Adolescents are susceptible to unhealthy and irregular eating and snacking patterns that contribute to excess weight gain. Hispanic youths, in particular, are at risk for acquiring health conditions associated with obesity.

In this study, overweight or obese children primarily of Mexican American descent, completed a daily 12-week intensive behavioral intervention of nutrition education, physical activity, and a peanut-snacking intervention. One group of students were provided daily with peanuts (1 ounce) and peanut butter (3/4-ounce) snacks over the 12-week intervention, and continued to be offered and encouraged to consume the peanut snacks daily over a period of 6 months. The control group of children were not given peanuts and ate less than one ounce a week.

At the end of 6 months, the group receiving the snacking intervention had greater reductions in BMI and zBMI than the group that did not receive the peanut and peanut butter snacks.


Simple Snacking Swaps with Peanuts
By swapping high carbohydrate, energy-dense snacks in the children's backpacks for protein and fiber-packed, nutrient-dense peanuts and peanut butter, the study results support peanuts and peanut butter as "smart snacks" for weight management.