Peanuts are a very common snack throughout the entire world. Not only does it serve as a snack, but people sometimes even use it as an ingredient in certain dishes. Apart from peanuts, there are also variations, such as the popular peanut butter spread that combines well with options like jelly on a piece of toast.
People with diabetes know that they need to place strict rules on their diet in order to ensure their blood glucose levels do not constantly change. This is why you may feel unsure about whether or not peanuts are an appropriate addition to your diet. We take a closer look at the nutritional data of peanuts in this post and consider whether it is a good option that you can eat as a diabetic.
The Nutritional Values Of Peanuts
When it comes to looking at foods that diabetics can eat, you usually first turn to the nutritional data. This allows you to assess the number of carbohydrates and sugars that the food contains, which are two important factors you have to keep in mind with type 2 diabetes. If you consume too many carbs and sugary foods, it causes a spike in your glucose levels.
The great thing about peanuts is the fact that they are quite dense with nutrients. A 100-gram serving of peanuts that are raw provides you with around 567 Kcals and is packed with 25.8 grams of protein. Other nutrients that the same amount of peanuts offer include:
- 8.5 grams fiber
- 92 mg calcium
- 4.58 mg iron
- 49.2 grams fat
- 3.27 mg zinc
With this data in mind, note that this serving of peanuts also adds around 16.1 grams of carbohydrates to your diet.
Peanuts And Type 2 Diabetes
Now that we have looked at the nutritional values of peanuts, let’s consider how it affects type 2 diabetes in particular. There are some studies that have looked at the introduction of peanuts into the diet of people who have type 2 diabetes.
In one study, researchers actually found that consuming peanuts as a snack on a regular basis, in moderation, could help to reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The effects were more profound among the female patients, but some results could still be observed among men. The study also showed that peanut butter might have similar effects.
Another study specifically focused on how the introduction of peanuts to obese women who are at a very high risk of type 2 diabetes diet also found that it helps when the condition is already diagnosed. The study looked at the effects that peanuts or peanut butter added to breakfast had on the participants’ blood glucose control. There were improvements in the stability of blood glucose levels throughout the day when peanuts or peanut butter were consumed in the morning.
Something that needs to be taken into consideration here is the GI value of peanuts. GI is known as the glycemic index and refers to how quickly the sugars and carbs in food are absorbed into the bloodstream. The rating can go between 0 and 100, with water being on the 0 points. The higher the GI rating, the faster sugar, and carbs from the food enter the bloodstream.
Peanuts have a 13 GI rating. Foods that have a GI of 55 or lower are generally considered to be a low GI option. With just 13 on the scale, peanuts are below many of the other foods that diabetics can turn to when they do not want to increase their blood glucose levels suddenly. Even though a 100-gram serving of peanuts has 16.1 grams of carbohydrates, the carbs and sugars will be absorbed into the body slowly.
This is why peanuts are great for balancing blood glucose levels throughout the day. Instead of sugars immediately entering the bloodstream, it gradually releases them over a longer period of time.
This is not the only way in which peanuts are good for type 2 diabetes. We previously mentioned that peanuts are rich in fiber and protein - two important nutrients that should be part of a diabetic diet. Both protein and fiber can produce filling effects in the digestive system - which means they fill you up more effectively and you feel full for a more prolonged period of time.
While there are some studies that show a higher risk of type 2 diabetes with significant protein in a person’s diet, these studies mostly focus on the protein that is sourced from red meat and other animal-derived sources. Peanuts are a plant-based food that is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids – which is a healthy type of fat.
It is also important to note that these studies are dose-dependent. A 100-gram serving of peanuts is not going to add too much protein to your diet, but rather an amount that can help you feel full, contributing to muscle function without causing problems.
When peanuts help you feel full, your risk of experiencing cravings during the day is reduced. This can help those individuals who regularly have cravings and cave into them. Many people turn to sugary and unhealthy foods when they get these cravings, which creates an imbalance in glucose levels. Furthermore, when you feel full for longer, you also reduce the number of carbohydrates that you consume.
There is a strong association between obesity and type 2 diabetes. When you have type 2 diabetes, you may find it difficult to lose weight, which is often associated with high-calorie consumption.
Peanuts and peanut butter are actually healthy alternatives to sweet treats that people sometimes turn to, even though they have type 2 diabetes. There are different variations of peanut butter out there, including ones that contain no added sugars. Peanuts on their own can also hold several potential health benefits for a person who has type 2 diabetes. While potentially beneficial, moderation is key to ensure they fit well with your diabetes management program.