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Are Peanuts Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

Putting together your weight loss diet can be confusing with all the options. What about peanuts, are they good for weight loss or fattening?

Peanuts are an extremely popular food around the world. Botanically speaking they are technically legumes, but due to their nutritional contents, many people consider them nuts.

Many people are worried about how the high-fat content of nuts and peanuts, in particular, will impact their weight loss. Find out whether this aspect of peanuts interferes with weight loss, what the best way to eat them is, and how this nut compares to other popular nuts when it comes to losing weight.

Micronutrients in peanuts

The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in peanuts.

Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.

100 grams of peanuts provides you with approximately (1):

  • Manganese: 97% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Niacin: 60% of the DV
  • Folate: 60% of the DV
  • Copper: 57% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 43% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 42% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 42% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 38% of the DV
  • Iron: 25% of the DV
  • Zinc: 22% of the DV
  • Potassium: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 18% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 17% of the DV
  • Selenium: 10% of the DV

And a few others in smaller amounts. These are extremely good micronutrient contents per 100 grams. If you combine peanuts with a healthy diet your micronutrient levels will most likely be great.

Peanuts also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day.

Micronutrients in peanuts

Fiber in peanuts for weight loss

Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.

Peanuts contain around 8.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

This is a big amount compared to most other foods. And for most people this is a good thing.

Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.

Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.

With the amount of fiber in peanuts you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.

Protein in peanuts for weight loss

Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.

Peanuts contain about 25.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, this is slightly higher than the 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). Peanuts are not just a great source of plant-based protein but just a great source of protein in general. They are even number one on the list of nuts highest in protein.

Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.

The amount of protein in peanuts is very good for a plant-based source of protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but peanuts can get you well on your way to your daily goals.

Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.

Are peanuts good for losing weight?

To know whether or not you can eat peanuts while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in peanuts.

Peanuts contain around 567 calories per 100 grams. 65.3 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (16.1 g per 100 grams of which 8.5 g fiber).

You can definitely fit in some peanuts in low-carb diets like the keto diet even though they are a bit lower on the list of low-carb nuts.

On the one hand, you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this large amount of calories.

The thing is that the calorie content from nuts does not get absorbed that well compared to many other foods (3, 4). A part of these calories goes through your gut undigested.

The exact amount varies but some studies find that 5%-20% of the fat from nuts may go through indigested (5, 6, 7, 8). Chances are this varies from individual to individual and situation to situation.

Even with that in mind, the message is that it might be hard to fit in the calories from peanuts in your daily diet plan but it might be worth it.

You also don’t have to go for the full 100 grams every day. 30 grams could be enough to provide you with some great nutrients without skyrocketing the number of calories you consume every day.

Depending on your current diet a certain amount of peanuts can help you lose weight by helping you feel a lot fuller and helping you consume more protein. This can help you avoid high-calorie foods that may interfere with your weight loss.

Peanuts can be a great healthy snack for weight loss but if you overdo it, they might be fattening due to the high amount of calories in them.

Who should not eat peanuts

While peanuts can be a great addition to the diet for most people, some people are allergic to it.

Peanuts on a table

How many peanuts should you eat a day to lose weight?

Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.

A typical serving of 1 ounce peanuts is about 35 whole peanuts.

Some people use this 1 oz serving size as a daily recommendation but in reality, it isn’t as simple as that. There is for example no way that a 200-pound man and 140-pound woman should eat the same amount of peanuts a day to lose weight.

You need to determine for yourself how many peanuts fit in your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.

Best time to eat peanuts for weight loss

Eating food raises insulin levels, even if it is a more low carb food like peanuts. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. On top of that, your body doesn’t like to digest and sleep at the same time. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.

For those reasons the best time to eat peanuts for weight loss is any time that is not too close to your bedtime.

This wouldn’t mean the end of your weight loss and health but if you can eat them at a more beneficial time why not.

Peanuts vs peanut butter for weight loss

An extremely popular way to eat peanuts is in the form of peanut butter.

In its most pure form, peanut butter is just regular peanuts mixed into a cream. Maybe with some salt or healthy spices like cinnamon.

The possible problem with peanut butter is that many brands add ingredients to these peanuts like oils, sugar, and other sweeteners.

When you’re trying to lose weight you really should stay away from all the ones with extra vegetable oils and sweeteners (sugar). These things add unnecessary calories and can possibly damage your health.

If you choose the right brands, peanut butter is about as good for weight loss as regular peanuts.

Relevant studies about peanuts

There are studies about the potential of eating more peanuts for weight loss.

One study found that consuming nuts (peanuts are not considered nuts botanically but nutritionally they resemble a lot), can potentially boost your metabolism, the number of calories you burn each day (9).

Peanuts vs other popular nuts for weight loss

Peanuts vs other popular nuts for weight loss

You now know how good peanuts are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other popular nuts? Find out how good peanuts are for weight loss vs almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios.

Peanuts vs almonds

First of all there is the peanuts vs almonds comparison. Almonds are very slightly higher in calories than peanuts, 575 calories per 100 grams vs the 567 calories per 100 grams of peanuts (10).

Almonds contain around 12.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A big amount higher than the 8.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams in peanuts. Almonds contain about 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. These 2 foods are about the same when it comes to the amounts of vitamins and minerals. Peanuts may have a small amount more.

It’s hard to predict the difference on weight loss and this will most likely depend on the individual consuming them. If you had to pick one, almonds would likely be slightly better for weight loss.

Peanuts vs cashews

Cashews are another popular comparison. Cashews are slightly lower in calories, 553 calories per 100 grams (11).

The amount of fiber is a lot different. Cashews have about 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 8.5 grams of peanuts. Cashews contain about 18.2 grams of protein per 100 grams, so again lower than peanuts. In terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals, peanuts and cashews are very similar.

The difference in fiber and protein makes a big difference when it comes to losing weight. This makes peanuts better than cashews for weight loss.

Peanuts vs walnuts

The next comparison is between peanuts and walnuts. Walnuts are higher in calories, 654 calories per 100 grams (12).

Walnuts contain 6.7 grams of fiber so a decent amount lower than peanuts. Also in terms of protein walnuts contain less, 15.2 grams per 100 grams. Walnuts also have slightly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals.

One benefit walnuts do have is that they are higher in omega 3 fats than peanuts. It’s not yet clear exactly how much of a difference that makes when it comes to weight loss.

All in all, peanuts are most likely better for weight loss than walnuts.

Peanuts vs pistachios

Lastly the comparison between peanuts and pistachios. Pistachios contain about the same amount of calories as peanuts, 557 calories per 100 grams (13).

Pistachios have more fiber per 100 grams than peanuts, 10.3 grams. Peanuts are higher in protein per 100 grams, 25.8 grams vs the 20.6 grams in pistachios. Both of these nuts are very high in vitamins and minerals.

Peanuts and pistachios will have a very similar effects on weight loss but pistachios are likely slightly better.

Chart of peanuts vs other popular nuts

There are some interesting differences in nutritional content that will most likely matter when it comes to weight loss. As you can see, peanuts are one of the best nuts for weight loss.

The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for peanuts (1), almonds (10), cashews (11) walnuts (12), and pistachios (13) to compare.

Values Per 100gPeanutsAlmondsCashewsWalnutsPistachios
Calories567 calories575 calories553 calories654 calories557 calories
Fiber8.5 g12.2 g3.3 g6.7 g10.3 g
Protein25.8 g21.2 g18.2 g15.2 g20.6 g
Chart comparing peanuts vs other nuts for weight loss