Peanuts Rate Five Stars in New Dietary Guidelines
The nutritional power of peanuts is a strong plus in the newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Peanuts products can play a key role within the main five guidelines in the report:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern – peanuts are part of all the healthy diets studied;
- Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount – peanuts are one of the most nutrient dense foods available;
- Limit sugars, saturated fats and sodium – most peanut products are minimally processed and low in all three;
- Shift to healthier foods – peanuts and peanut butter improve nutritional status when substituted for other snacks and proteins; and
- Support healthier eating in all settings – peanuts are convenient, affordable and portable and ideal for schools, workplace and on the go.
The focus this year is less on specific nutrients and more on substituting healthier foods to improve overall eating habits. The recommendation is to eat at least two servings of peanuts, PB, or other nuts a week as part of a healthy eating pattern. The latest studies show that just two serving a week of peanuts or PB can reduce death from all causes by 21 % and reduce risk of heart disease by 38%.
The Protein Group is where peanuts, peanut butter, and other nuts are found. This is important since peanuts and peanut butter have more protein than any other nut. The Guidelines state, “The most common nut choices are peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, and mixed nuts.”
Americans are still eating too much saturated fat (called solid fats) and consumers are encouraged to eat more healthy plant oils, including peanut oil.
There is also a strong emphasis on greatly reducing added sugar, salt, and saturated fat that are found primarily in highly processed foods and snacks. Consumers are encouraged to substitute nutrient dense foods in the diet, which opens the doors for more peanut products in both snacks and meals.
Peanuts are in the PROTEIN GROUP
The DGA states that “Slightly less than half (49%) of all protein foods are consumed as a separate food item, such as chicken breast, a steak, an egg, a fish filet, or peanuts.” Peanuts are clearly the main “go to” plant protein for consumers.