5

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Peanuts -- why are they vilified

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 09, 2011 at 4:21 PM

I am wondering why, despite their high monounsaturated fat content, peanuts are being vilified by many who espouse a paleo diet? This food source is Cheap and a starving student needs food! Is it the Omega ratio again(6:3; preponderance in favour of 6--if so how can this be counter-acted if at all so as to include this item in the diet).

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:04 AM

I wonder what the fatty acid profile looks like in natural peanut butter that's had the oil poured off. Do you think it would be an acceptable choice, then?

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:01 AM

Oh my god, yes.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 01:58 AM

Slightly OT, but fascinating: if you haven't, read about the life of George Washington Carver. He invented hundreds of uses for peanuts, and was also an interesting guy.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 01:52 AM

Coconut isn't a nut or closely related to nuts, though. It's the fruit of 'Cocos nucifera', the coconut palm. It's a drupe fruit.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 08:18 AM

Yeah, but arent lectins effectively removed via soaking? So in theory one could make ones own peanut butter, and it would be low lectin, no?

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 28, 2012
at 10:11 PM

The 3:6 ratio AND the magnitude of the fat mass matters. The ratio is irrelevant if it is a marginal quantity. Using the macadamia nut example, 200 mg O3 = 1.8 calories, 1200 mg O6 = 10.8 calories, 12.6 calories is mostly irrelevant.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 31, 2012
at 06:42 AM

my god, I thought I was the only one

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on January 31, 2012
at 04:26 AM

truth. this is truth.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 30, 2012
at 11:50 PM

PUFA007 I Seriously hope you were joking. Melissa rocks! Well except when she closes out my posts that are off-topic...haha.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on March 10, 2011
at 04:40 PM

I don't understand your reasoning. The 6:3 ratio is a common talking point amidst all health authorities; keeping it near 3:1 or 1:1 is cited as a good idea. So if you're eating foods with high 6:3 ratios, you are shifting your net balance. If you want to keep your total PUFA under 5% of calories ala Kurt Harris, you're probably not going to be eating a lot of nuts anyway, but if you are, peanuts are one of the worst possible choices due to their high fat content and poor ratio.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 10, 2011
at 04:07 PM

I think ratio is a very poor indicator of anything. Macadamia has 1:6 (Omega3:6) but with the amounts being 200:1200mg they are still the "best" choice when it comes to nuts (if you are deciding on the Omega6 content), despite other nuts having a "better" ratio.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:50 PM

Mari, Can you explain why "pecans are among the worst?"

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:12 AM

that's jacked up. melissa holds her own. they make a great team.

1c2d0643d02e7fe793c0157317bc2c16

(0)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:17 PM

naah..I guess Chris told her what to write;-)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:45 PM

A few peanuts now and then probably won't kill you. Let's not get all Orthorexic. Trouble is, I can eat quite a few in a sitting - mindlessly watching TV or playing games. I ususally feel kinda sick after...

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 09, 2011
at 07:20 PM

Not your question, but I think the best cheap source of protein is eggs.

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Sorry! Didn't know that about other foods, just about beans/legumes and grain. I dont eat peanuts because they make my lips swell and hands itch. Was just trying to give the quick response...learned something new today.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:52 PM

yay for a nice, well reasoned answer.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:50 PM

pecans are actually among the worst...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2011
at 06:37 PM

OMG please stop saying that foods are bad because they have lectin. EVERY FOOD has lectins. If you are avoiding specific lectins in legumes, that is another matter.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 09, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Nuts have lectins too.

21084e275703e9a3909dafa28e5d29b5

(1103)

on March 09, 2011
at 04:33 PM

Peanuts are a legume and legumes have lectin.

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13 Answers

39
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2011
at 06:46 PM

All foods have lectins, all of them. Someone like Cordain or Wolf was talking about specific lectins in legumes and now people seem to think lectins themselves are bad.

So the specific lectin in question here is peanut agglutinin (PNA) and in some studies it has shown to disturb the gut lining, perhaps leading to leaky gut. In a huge rarity, they have actually studied this in adult humans (Identification of intact peanut lectin in peripheral venous blood) and found this lectin can pass through the gut lining. Whether or not it leads to problems needs to be studied, but that's a red flag. The most worrying study so far is "Peanut lectin stimulates proliferation of colon cancer cells by interaction with glycosylated CD44v6 isoforms and consequential activation of c-Met and MAPK: functional implications for disease-associated glycosylation changes," but similar studies have found that red meat does the same, so we have to be careful when looking at studies that look at a chemically isolated constitute of a whole food.

Regardless, peanuts unfortunately contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids as PFW says. They also tend to have high levels of carcinogenic aflatoxins (from mold) and are often produced under highly unsanitary conditions that have led to several food poisoning outbreaks.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:12 AM

that's jacked up. melissa holds her own. they make a great team.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:52 PM

yay for a nice, well reasoned answer.

1c2d0643d02e7fe793c0157317bc2c16

(0)

on March 09, 2011
at 09:17 PM

naah..I guess Chris told her what to write;-)

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 30, 2012
at 11:50 PM

PUFA007 I Seriously hope you were joking. Melissa rocks! Well except when she closes out my posts that are off-topic...haha.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 08:18 AM

Yeah, but arent lectins effectively removed via soaking? So in theory one could make ones own peanut butter, and it would be low lectin, no?

6
4d8545ba40148e982a5c891acbf20e76

(183)

on March 09, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Yes, peanuts, being a Legume and not a nut, are avoided because:

  • They have one of the poorest Omega 3-6 ratio. Nuts such as Macadamias and Pecans are much better.
  • They Contain Lectins.
  • They are almost always roasted in vegetable oil, and sometimes have strange seasonings/tons of salt.
  • They are quite starchy, which is fine in small amounts, but..

I recently stopped using nuts as a somewhat large source of calories. I was trying to gain muscle, so i was using nuts for extra calories. Now, i eat alot less nuts, and mostly macadamias, occasional walnuts/almonds like before. I noticed now, that in addition to not being as hungry all the time because of the starch/sugar in nuts, i have much less inflamed bowels, less "gas", better bowel movements, and less bloating. I also take O-3 capsule when i have nuts to even the odds.

I always heard that nuts are helpful when breaking a plateau, and i can definately agree with that now.

On a side note, Coconut is quite different, containing healthy MCT sat. fats. They burn rather quickly for energy, which is good in my case, and they have only about 1% omega 6 by volume, even lower than macadamias 3-4%

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 09, 2011
at 06:50 PM

pecans are actually among the worst...

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:50 PM

Mari, Can you explain why "pecans are among the worst?"

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 01:52 AM

Coconut isn't a nut or closely related to nuts, though. It's the fruit of 'Cocos nucifera', the coconut palm. It's a drupe fruit.

6
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on March 09, 2011
at 04:34 PM

Depending on what source you read, peanuts can have between 0 omega-3 and some trivial amount of omega 3. The result is a 6:3 ratio of something like 30:1 (or worse). Most peanuts are on paleo avoid lists due this imbalance.

If you were to eat any substantial amount of peanuts in your diet, you'd be hard pressed to avoid excess PUFA and maintain a reasonable 6:3 balance.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on March 10, 2011
at 04:40 PM

I don't understand your reasoning. The 6:3 ratio is a common talking point amidst all health authorities; keeping it near 3:1 or 1:1 is cited as a good idea. So if you're eating foods with high 6:3 ratios, you are shifting your net balance. If you want to keep your total PUFA under 5% of calories ala Kurt Harris, you're probably not going to be eating a lot of nuts anyway, but if you are, peanuts are one of the worst possible choices due to their high fat content and poor ratio.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 10, 2011
at 04:07 PM

I think ratio is a very poor indicator of anything. Macadamia has 1:6 (Omega3:6) but with the amounts being 200:1200mg they are still the "best" choice when it comes to nuts (if you are deciding on the Omega6 content), despite other nuts having a "better" ratio.

C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on June 28, 2012
at 10:11 PM

The 3:6 ratio AND the magnitude of the fat mass matters. The ratio is irrelevant if it is a marginal quantity. Using the macadamia nut example, 200 mg O3 = 1.8 calories, 1200 mg O6 = 10.8 calories, 12.6 calories is mostly irrelevant.

4
C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on March 10, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Because they make me fart explosively.

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on January 31, 2012
at 04:26 AM

truth. this is truth.

D3f3b91d1dd9ce60865654faeb2ec809

on January 31, 2012
at 06:42 AM

my god, I thought I was the only one

2
15c8764ee7b07e9edadf8788f7560466

(28)

on June 28, 2012
at 07:52 PM

One reason to eat peanut butter: it is likely the tastiest substance on planet earth. Why is everyone skirting the issue here?

2
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on January 30, 2012
at 11:46 PM

In addition to many of the comments above, here's why I quit eating peanuts and peanut butter:

If you buy conventionally grown peanuts they are treated with a really nasty pesticide (Karen above linked to it).

However, if you buy organic peanuts, they don't have the pesticide which means that they grow a really nasty mold that is linked to liver cancer. You need the nasty pesticide to get rid of the mold.

There's no real good reason to eat peanuts, they don't provide enough nutrients to counter balance the bad.

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:58 PM

Potential aflotoxin contamination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin

Unless organic (which adds some additional risk of aflotoxin contamination), peanuts are usually grown in rotation with cotton, which is the crop with the highest pesticide use in the world. Some of these pesticides hang around for quite some time.

On the other hand, I don't freak out about small and occasional peanut exposure - no way am I telling the Thai restaurant to skip the peanuts on my salad! But I wouldn't risk them as a dietary mainstay to save cash. Have some sardines or canned salmon instead.

1
E6c14efded576a0bea38a2fe2beced6a

on December 10, 2012
at 09:12 PM

No comment on the lectin/legume stuff and overall Paleoness of them.

I only know why I can't eat them.

Peanuts, for me, are a really harsh gateway food to stuff I should not be eating. Peanuts, like potato chips, are nearly impossible for me to eat just a few. What usually happens is a few turns into a few turns into a whole container followed by a binge that can last for days. Just thinking about them now is making me hungry.

They taste great, I have no allergies and I especially love them covered in chocolate, but it's something I know I can't eat. Regardless of what the various Paleo Guru's say.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 09, 2013
at 02:01 AM

Oh my god, yes.

1
17e0fa47c49caea4270ee9b027d3e625

on January 30, 2012
at 10:57 PM

I am not entirely convinced that dietary elimination of legumes is well grounded. Besides being easy and regenerative foods to grow from a soil fertility standpoint, they generally have a low glycemic load and help moderate glucose spikes by slowing rates of sugar digestion. Furthermore, some legumes are considered anti-inflammatory despite large omega 6:3 ratios.

Does anyone use the site SELFNutritionData as a reference? Well, if you look up peanuts on this site, then you will find them listed as an anti-inflammatory food despite the high omega 6:3. I suppose this is because of its fat content? Nonetheless, this is a bit contradictory to my present understanding of the hormonal (prostaglandins) basis for inflammation and its dependence on omega intake. Moreover, a 2 tbsp serving has a 0 glycemic load. I am drawn to paleolithic eating for a number of reasons and one of which is skin health. With optimal skin health as a goal, I would strive to reduce inflammation, and minimize the glycemic load of my food. At the same time, I have to get enough calories to thrive. Therefore, as long as I am getting enough omega 3's to balance the peanuts, I don't see why this food is undesirable. Perhaps the type of fatty acids in peanuts promote acne vulgaris growth?

0
D5a189d0076be0e305e3ff1c46a4b164

on April 09, 2013
at 12:42 AM

For me, peanuts (and also pine nuts) generally cause breakouts. I've always assumed that my body is trying to eliminate some component of the food that's bad for me: eliminate it through my skin, that is. (However, that leaky gut reference that was mentioned above deserves more research.)

In the blood type diet, peanuts are a "beneficial" or even "super beneficial" food for blood type A, while they are to be avoided by blood type O. (They are not even neutral.) To me, this underscores the genetic factors that influence diet: I believe that peanuts are a new world food, native to South America. So, going with the general idea that your optimum diet is comprised of what your ancestors thrived on, there are few cultures that have actually had peanuts in their possession for more than 500 years. Do you have any Native American ancestry? Is your blood type that of the original hunter/meat-eater (type O) or is yours the second blood type to evolve in humans, the newer type A?

Of course, I'm researching peanuts in an effort to justify eating them, so damned delicious are they. But that has always been a reliable clue for me: if it tastes good, spit it out.

As for solving some of the problems mentioned, buy organic to avoid the pesticides, and specifically buy Arrowhead Mills organic, since, as Dr. Mercola's site mentions, this brand is made with the Valencia peanut grown in eastern New Mexico and west Texas under very dry conditions. Therefore aflatoxin contamination is very low to non-existent.

The other thing he suggests is pouring off the oil at the top. I think this is a great idea, and something you can do with any natural peanut butter. Although it's a waste of money, I'd say just scoop out the top inch of goop, leaving you with a hard, reduced-fat (organic) peanut substance that can't be spread but rather needs to be carved out of the jar in hard pieces. (which is fine since it's going into smoothies anyway.)

Peanut skins are a huge source of resveratrol, by the way. Contact Sunland peanuts to just order organic Valencias still in the shell and eat them whole.

0
C5ebabb99993bfc3d793444d53410922

on December 10, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Peanuts are a super great nitrogen fixer in the soil. That may be why they alternate cotton with peanuts. One website said that lectin foods shouldn't be eaten raw, just need to be cooked. So let's research the cooking aspect of lectin containing foods. Different industries issue propaganda against other industries for money reasons--and pay for so called bias research. Native peoples have lived off of legumes since ancient times. Instead of the gene angle, how about the parasite angle? Maybe each person has different parasites, and certain specific parasites react to lectin containing foods. Mayber burrowing in the gut, maybe they are allergic to them and create allergies in their hosts. Here's a quote from the internet: Lectins are plant secondary compounds that can have anthelmintic properties in vitro.

0
Aa1f07e23a47aed0d07b712645e0d213

(313)

on January 30, 2012
at 11:28 PM

Peanuts and other legumes, seeds, and nuts contain trypsin inhibitors which irreversibly destroy or alter your enzymes which digest trypsin.

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 30, 2012
at 11:08 PM

there is a lot of crap we call food , but even the food industry warns of peanut content

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