Metabolic syndrome is a group of co-occurring conditions - such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity - that significantly elevate the risk of heart disease, stroke, and others. It is said to affect up to a third of adults in the United States.1
To lower such risks and prolong lifespan, people with metabolic syndrome are often recommended to make wholesome dietary changes, including eating lean protein and healthy fats. Classified as legumes, peanuts offer promising benefits in terms of reducing disease and death risks in affected population.
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of substituting peanuts in place of white rice in snacks for adults with high cardiometabolic disease risk.
It was a 2020 parallel, randomized clinical trial, conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China. The results were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study involved 224 adults, diagnosed with metabolic syndrome or a high risk of metabolic syndrome. They were randomly divided into two groups: the intervention group that consumed snacks containing 56 g of peanuts, and the control group that consumed calorically-matched white rice bars.
Researchers measured the changes of the treatment on glucose, lipids, body weight, and metabolic syndrome status.
Out of all of the recruited participants, 209 successfully completed the trial.
In comparison to adults in the control group, those in the intervention group had a significantly higher metabolic syndrome reversion rate. This means that after 12 weeks of peanut consumption, almost 35% no longer met the metabolic syndrome criteria.
What Does this Mean?
Results of this clinical trial demonstrate the benefits of eating peanuts as a snack in place of refined-grain snacks, such as white rice. These benefits mainly concern risk reductions of metabolic syndrome among adults at high cardiometabolic disease risk.
Further studies are called for to investigate the mechanism behind peanuts' effects on reducing metabolic syndrome risk.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Replacing white rice bars with peanuts as snacks in the habitual diet improves metabolic syndrome risk among Chinese adults: a randomized controlled trial, 2020
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Metabolic syndrome. Retrieved January 5, 2021 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916