Are Peanuts Healthy?

Peanuts and peanut butter do make an excellent healthy snack option.

They are much more filling than other lower fat options, such as rice cakes, meaning hunger is tamed for much longer, and therefore fewer calories are consumed in the long-run.

So, how many calories are in peanuts and peanut butter?

  • One serving of peanuts is equivalent to a small handful = 181 calories
  • A two tablespoon serving of peanut butter = 187 calories

You should take care with reduced fat peanut butter options, because they do tend to be much higher in sugar to compensate for the loss of taste from the lower fat content.

Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy peanuts without the guilt factor:

Go for the natural version of peanut butter if you can find it. Check out your local health food store where you can often make your own peanut butter, or go for one of the ‘natural’ varieties without hydrogenated oils.

  • Spread a thin serve of nut butter on your morning toast or bagel.
  • Sprinkle a handful of peanuts over your salad at lunch.
  • Snack on celery sticks with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Use peanut oil in stir-frys and salad dressings.
  • Add half peanut flour in your baked recipes.
  • Or simply enjoy a small handful of peanuts as a healthy snack.

Do you eat peanuts? How do you include them in your weekly diet?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

larry March 24, 2010 at 5:50 am

Thank you!

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Ken May 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I just had a bag of peanuts because I was hungry and everything else in the vending machine would have given me a stomach ache (potato chips, cookies, cheese crackers). So the bag of peanuts was the lesser of 30 evils. Glad to read it might not have been evil at all.

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Melanie May 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hey Ken,
Good choice! It’s difficult when you’re out and about to make the right choices, nuts and dried fruits too are a good fall-back option.

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Jackie Chan June 17, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Peanuts are awesome.. Be sure to get unsalted whenever possible though!

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Melanie June 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Yes, I agree.

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AJ February 22, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Is it because of the sodium? I usually have large roasted lightly salted peanuts and wanted to find out the health risk on the salt part.
Please let me know

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elizabeth July 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

thanks!!!! i was jus curiose because me and my brother were eating peanuts last night and he was all like, “you know, peanuts are healty for you” and i was like yea sure whatever, so i thought i would reasearch it and he just proved me wrong!!!!! : o {

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Melanie July 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Haha… what else are brothers for, eh?? :D I’m glad you found Dietriffic!

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Jay July 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I just wanted to give my thanks. My dad always told me that peanuts were extremely healthy, more so than potato chips as a snack (which I don’t like half as much as a handful of these things). I had no idea how much, though. I had no idea they weren’t actually nuts! Talk about irony!
Now we get a jar every weekend for our shopping trips. :D

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Melanie July 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

Hi Jay,
Thank you! Yes, they are very healthy. For a little more variety, you could also snack on a handful of mixed, whole nuts.

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Lisa August 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

What is the best way to eat peanuts? Raw, roasted, dry-roasted, or boiled? I know unsalted, but I was wondering if it is okay to eat roasted peanuts.

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Melanie August 12, 2010 at 10:36 am

Hi Lisa,
Lightly roasted or raw peanuts are absolutely fine.

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Gillian January 23, 2011 at 1:48 am

I was told that you use up the same amount of calories by eating one peanut at a time, as you would eating a handful at one time … do you know anything about facts to back that up please? It seems to make sense … but …

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Melanie January 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hi Gillian,
I have never come across that idea.

I think the benefit of eating the peanuts one at a time, rather than in handfuls, is that you slow down the eating process, so you have the potential to eat more mindfully, therefore eating less in one sitting, and taking in less calories as a result. Alternatively, when you eat handfuls at a time, before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of nuts, and the calorie intake is huge.

I would suggest measuring out a serving of nuts (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) and eating them slowly and mindfully. I cannot say you will use up more calories eating in this way, but the overall calorie intake has potential to be less (rather than eating straight from the bag), and you will feel more satisfied by slowing down the eating process.

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Ann Ford February 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

Does peanuts cause Kidney Stones

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Melanie February 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Hi Ann,
If you are susceptible to kidney stones you can prevent the oxalate build up somewhat by:

Drinking plenty of fluids.
Eating calcium-containing foods — the calcium binds the oxalate in the gut preventing it from being absorbed.
Avoiding foods containing oxalates, such as spinach, beans, beets, berries, green peppers, chocolate, coffee, colas, peanuts, peanut butter, and wheat bran.

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Rajinikanth August 10, 2013 at 7:28 am

The information given by Melanie are truly useful. Some of the answers in comment area are informative, and well explained. Melanie’s answer regarding kidney stone and oxalate forming foods are well.

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Benjamin February 24, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I found your site after feeling guilty about grabbing a bag of peanuts for an afternoon snack!

I was craving peanuts for some reason! After reading about all the healthy benefits, I guess my body was trying to tell me something!

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Melanie February 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Hi Benjamin,
I’m glad you found Dietriffic! :-)

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Magnix May 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I ate a bag of Chili Lemon Peanuts! Never got hungry for dinner! Is it still ok to eat that much? I mean I have been eating tons of peanuts at work almost daily! Im 40 and still skinny!

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VENKATESHA MURTHY T S June 10, 2011 at 5:47 am

Dear Melanie!!!!!!
Best methods of eating nuts for breaking monotony, and to have variety, Can you guide in this direction?
1. We in India eat Nuts ( Pea Nuts, Almonds, Cashews, and other locally grown ones) in the preparation of foods for snacks, lunch, dinner, etc.
2. We normally eat Ground Nuts as Raw, Roasted, Roasred & treated with Chili powder & salt, Also Made as small cakes with Jaggery + Coconut Powder + Cardamom Powder + Roasted Ground Nuts. Munch them some times after lunch, After night food. etc.
The basis of eating is not known to me. However this tradition has come since long years, say from our forefathers period or so.
In case you have any scientific proven methods with their advantages / dis-advantages, please let me know. In case I find from some sources I will try to keep you informed.
Venkatesha Murthy T S

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Melanie July 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hi Venkatesha,
This article may be helpful: http://www.dietriffic.com/2010/04/27/are-nuts-fattening/

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Michael Redbourn December 20, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I’m glad I found your site.

I’m not overweight but have always avoided nuts even though I like them because I thought they were so fattening.

I live in Israel and you can buy all different kinds, sold loose, at kiosks on every corner.

So I’ll eat some with my next beer ;-)

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Melanie December 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Sounds wonderful… minus the beer!! ;-)

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Kate Shaw February 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hello,
Am i ok eating wasabi coated peanuts? Im trying to get some extra fibre and protien into my diet as i am exercising a lot and i was told nuts were a great source of both.
Thanks, Kate

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Melanie February 2, 2012 at 11:57 am

Hi Kate, For the most part, it’s best to stick with whole, unsalted, unroasted nuts. So, wasabi peanuts are okay for a treat, but I think they are all roasted and coated in wasabi seasoning, right?

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Rafael T April 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I don´t get this ‘one serving”. I´m from Brazil, and I find that this is not very helpful to the diet plans. How much is one serving, in grams? Cheers

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Melanie April 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm

One serving is 28grams.

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Marcus April 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thank you! This has been driving me crazy.

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Faith May 22, 2012 at 8:27 am

Dear Melanie, thanks for letting me know how wonderful peanuts are.
I have been eating alot of peanuts and I was begining to worry if i was doing something wrong. I add peanuts to my bowl of cereal, I add peanuts to my cup of sugar free ice-cream, I snack on peanuts, I eat my banana with peanuts, and I make peanut soup. The good thing about all this is that, I no longer have type 2 diabetes, or High blood pressure. My skin glows, my hair grows so fast, and I am feeling very strong and looking really healthy.

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Melanie May 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

Hi Faith,
That is wonderful. Have you also added nuts and seeds to your diet? They are fantastic also :-) Do you stick to one portion each day, though?

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Sharon May 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hi Malanie

Sure glad I found you site.I eat about 1/3 cup of peanuts daily.Am I eating to many.?

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Melanie May 31, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi Sharon, A serving of nuts is about 1/4 cup or 1 to 1 1/2 ounces. I’d suggest measuring it out so see how your portion compares to that.

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Elizabeth, N. July 8, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hi Melanie: I would like to know if eating a 9 oz. can of lightly salted peanuts in two to three days good for my health. You see! when I start eating those peanuts I feel so much better on the healthy side. I am relaxed, and just feeling fine. When I am a little stressed and decides to crunch on some peanuts I usually feel so much better and the stress is gone. I am only afraid that I am eating too much in such a short time. Do you have any suggestions.

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Melanie July 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Hi Elizabeth,
A portion of nuts is about 1 to 1 1/2 ounces each day. I also recommend that you don’t eat salted or roasted nuts on a regular basis, and that you have a variety of different kinds. Do you like nuts like almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts? These are fantastic choices.

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Shaun Ritz July 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’m the only one giggling about the term “nut butter”.

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Melanie July 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Abe August 18, 2012 at 6:07 am

“Those things are gnna kill you” ,that’s all I hear from my wife because I eat some roasted in-shell peanuts daily, for some reason it’s relaxing for me to break the shell. I even read that helps reduce triglycerides also wich I’m taking medication for, very very informative Thanks.. cant wait untill wife wakes up so I can tell her.. Read! :-)

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Melanie September 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hi Abe, Better still if you eat un-roasted peanuts, but the ultimate for better health is almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts :-)

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Lintu September 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Dear Melanie,

Thank you for this wonderful article. I always thought eating peanusts make you fat. Now thanks to your wonderful article I can start enjoying peanuts once again. So what is better eating raw or roasted peanuts. I didn’t even know peanuts can be eaten raw. Can you give me some suggestions about it?

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Paul September 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Hi there,
Thanxx for artical and comments. I eat around more then hand full everyday. And my wife always think its bad for health. But atlest I know what’s right and wrong. I only eat Rosted un salted once.

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Colin September 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Melanie,

I have heard that eating 3/4 of your target weight in protein (grams) is a good way to lose weight, as long as they are lean proteins. I have been working on chicken, yogurt and peanuts, but it is very hard to get up to 135g of proteins a day. Is this unhealthy? or do you have any suggestions?

Thanks

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Melanie October 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Hi Colin,
That’s a really good question, I think I’ll try to address that one in detail in an article next week. In the meantime, just to say that the recommended daily amount ranges from 40-70 grams, depending on your gender, age, etc, although there is some recommendation that it could definitely be higher than that.

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Melanie October 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Hi again Colin,
Did you see my article on protein requirements? I hope that is helpful.

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Richard May 3, 2014 at 12:53 am

nothing wrong with 3/4 of your target weight in protein but with chicken breasts, substitute eggs, egg whites, whey protein mix and skim milk its pretty easy. (just drink a lot of water to help your kidneys out) I am over 40 and have been trying to do 1.25-1.75 grams of protein per pd of body weight and maintaining my same weight for years. (I usually consume about 4500-5000 calories a day so I might not be “average”) And peanuts? Usually I try and keep it to three 16oz containers of peanuts a week as a snack. I like them more for the fiber than the protein though as other sources have a better protein to calorie ratio.

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Bobby October 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I love the taste of salted peanuts. How bad is a little salt for the waste line?

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Melanie October 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Hi Bobby,
Salt is not bad for your waistline, however for your health overall, it’s good not to have too much salt.

It really depends on your salt intake from all sources. So, if your diet is very high in salt, then salted peanuts would not be a good addition. But, if you don’t take a lot of salt on your food, and you don’t eat a lot of processed foods (they are very high in salt), then a few salted peanuts here and there are unlikely to cause too much of a problem.

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David Glen November 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

I live in Argentina and we have a very abundant peanut crop here. Our peanuts are really delicious and they are a great way to eat healthy. Look for Argentine peanuts in your country and I can assure you that you will love the quality of them. Enjoy!

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Melanie November 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Thanks for the tip, David :)

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apple janine December 19, 2012 at 2:24 am

oh i like peanut most especially when my period is coming..
I always craving for it..but sometimes overeating peanuts may cause pimple.is it true?

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Melanie February 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I’m sorry, I’ve never heard that to be the case.

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Trent February 22, 2013 at 4:57 am

One of my guilty pleasures is chocolate covered peanuts. Obviously the chocolate adds fat, should I be overly concerned about the amount of them to consume, or in the end does it not make too much of a difference?

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Enrique Mora February 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Un-salting peanuts…
Salty and oily peanuts are bad. The good news: you can wash them and then dry them out really good. I have been doing this and enjoying Delicious flavor without the fat and sodium!

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Zeeshan Naqi February 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Love your article clear and to the point , it’s the most important answer for me cz I eat peanuts every week and love then and was worried what am I eating myself into :) after this I can eat tension free in sensible limits ! Spicy peanuts won’t hurt right ?

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Debra April 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I love having peanuts and now I’m glad to hear that they are healthy. I buy the roasted no salt variety in the shell I have a handful with my juiced smoothie of kiwi, strawberries. bananas & ice and the combo keeps me full until my next meal and it’s much better than munching on chips.

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Allan Lees April 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

We’ve been conditioned to assume that ALL oils are harmful but in fact nuts contain many essential oils such as omega-3. Additionally, nuts (including peanuts) also contain essential compounds such as zinc and magnesium which are needed in trace amounts for neural function. So it’s not just a question of calories or oil; it’s a question of getting all the micro-nutrients we need daily in order for our bodies and brains to function at their best. People eat too many carbs (especially sugar and refined flour) and too little of the foods than contain essential micro-nutrients.

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Mike Kelley June 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Love all the positive comments regarding peanuts. I eat approximately 2 lbs of Planters mixed nuts a week. I exercise 3-5 times a week and feel great. My wife is concerned that this may be harmful to my health. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Christopher July 13, 2013 at 12:06 am

My thing is that usually I eat unsalted peanuts, just because I retain water easy enough without the extra salt. Sometimes I go for the salted peanuts or the flavored ones for a change of pace. Anyway, my think is that my job is pretty much sitting at a desk all day. I choose peanuts often because they are filling and light. However, I can’t just eat one serving. Typically a jar or bottle will have about 16 servings and if I don’t eat the whole thing, for sure half of it. Is that too much?

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Geoff July 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

A good way to eat peanuts is in the shell. You obviously need to take the time to crack open the shell and slows down how many you eat. Only down side is it makes a mess. I eat them over the kitchen sink and shred them in the disposal.

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jenny stockton August 17, 2013 at 12:43 am

I usually have large roasted lightly salted peanuts and wanted to find out the health risk on the salt part.

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John@92 January 27, 2014 at 2:32 am

Hi there,

This has all been very helpful and informative so thanks!!

I do have a question though,
I can’t stand plain peanuts, the only type I can eat is chilli coated. Is it better to eat them than no peanuts arr all or should I avoid completely?

If so, what size portion would you recommend? Thanks in advance :)

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