Effects of Peanut Consumption on Hunger, Ingestive Behavior, Energy Expenditure and Coronary Heart Disease Risk
Food Research Institute (Ghana); Medical Research Council (Gambia)
Worldwide there are problems of both hunger (primarily in developing nations) and overindulgence (mostly in western populations, but also present among the affluent of developing countries). Peanuts may provide a healthful benefit in both circumstances. Recent evidence indicates peanuts may have a strong satiety value (due perhaps to its fatty acid composition and/or fiber content). In light of the adverse health consequences associated with obesity (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease), dietary factors that may help to curb appetite and weight gain could hold important public health benefits. At the same time, hunger can reduce work performance and productivity. Among individuals lacking the resources to purchase adequate quantities of foods, items that are, inexpensive, convenient, nutrient and energy dense and of high satiety value could also be a health and economic boon. Further, recent studies with tree nuts indicate they may reduce coronary heart disease risk factors. The mechanism of these beneficial effects is not known, but likely involves an influence of the chemical constituents of the nuts. Peanuts have a similar composition to walnuts and almonds (previously shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels) and consumption of peanut products should hold similar health benefits. Documentation of health benefits related to reduced coronary heart disease risk, should promote peanut consumption and human health. The studies will evaluate the effects of peanut products on hunger, ingestive behavior, energy expenditure, body composition and lipid profiles.