Are Peanuts a Healthy Choice?
by Brian Cannone
Have you ever seen the old-fashioned food pyramids? They break down the recommended foods and serving sizes into manageable categories, but one area that always confuses people is fat. This is because there are a lot of things that fall under the heading and which can be mistaken for other food groups.
One of the biggest culprits is nuts, and among the nuts it is peanuts that are the most difficult to really pin down. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they a fat? Are they protein? How the heck do you incorporate them into a healthy eating plan?
If you are involved in fitness modeling or bodybuilding shows you are already going to be very attentive to the quantities of fat you ingest, and you are going to be concerned about the appropriate amounts of proteins in the diet as well.
You already understand that nuts can be a good food choice and great for a dash of energy and protein, but not all nuts are alike. Peanuts can be very misleading and tempting because they come in so many different “health products”. Here’s the thing – “fat is fat” – whether you just popped a handful of unsalted roasted peanuts into your mouth or a big scoop of sugar free peanut butter, you are still eating a big amount of dietary fat.
What you have to ask yourself is whether or not the fat you are getting is good for you in terms of the calorie count. This means that the answer to the simple question of “are peanuts a healthy choice?” is “they can be if you understand their value”.
So, the first step is to take a look at your exercise/diet/fitness journal and explore the different types of fats you have been eating. Can you do an easy exchange of fats or will it really cost you a lot of your daily fat intake to make a change to peanuts? If you have to give up some of the healthier fats such as avocados or olive oil just to eat a handful of peanuts…well, it may not really be worth the exchange. If, on the other hand you see that you have a few extra calories available in the diet plan and you really want that scoop of no sugar peanut butter, go right ahead and indulge! Don’t forget that it tastes awfully good with celery and makes a great snack!