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Effects of Peanut Consumption on Hunger, Ingestive Behavior, Energy Expenditure and Coronary Heart Disease Risk

Approach

The goal of PUR 10U was to examine the effects of whole and ground peanuts in the diet on hunger, satiety and food intake, and whether it will improve lipid profiles thereby reducing coronary heart disease. The work will also consider peanut consumption effects on body weight, body composition, and energy expenditure.

Achievements

One approach to enhancing the demand for peanuts and peanut products was to provide scientific evidence that they provide health benefits to consumers. Once demonstrated, such data can be used to encourage government-based activities to promote peanut production and consumption. It can also serve as the basis for advertising claims by trade and commercial organizations to stimulate sales. The findings to date have provided new evidence strongly supportive of health benefits associated with peanut consumption.

The work has been well received in the scientific, commercial, and consumer sectors and was being widely disseminated by the Peanut Institute, Albany, Georgia. The Peanut Institute has been able to translate the scientific data into consumer friendly messages and the results have been published in just about every major consumer magazine. It is regularly cited in publications and has reached numerous readers with the good news about peanuts. It is also contributing to a growing appreciation by health professionals that high fat foods are not all problematic for health, indeed products rich in monounsaturated fats (e.g. peanuts) have clear health benefits. With additional research, this shift in thinking may well translate into greater acceptance and use of peanuts and peanut products in the future in both the U.S. and around the world.

The work was mainly focused in the disciplines of nutritional, health, and medical sciences. The results of this project will have socioeconomic impact in Ghana, West Africa and worldwide as an understanding of the role of peanut products on hunger, ingestive behavior, energy expenditure, body composition and lipid profiles are understood. The new research contributed to increased peanut and peanut-product consumption.

From crop year 1989 through 1995, U.S. peanut consumption dropped by 269 million pounds or 16%. Surveys and other consumer research studies indicated consumption declined because consumers considered peanuts fattening and unhealthy. When the favorable research studies on the health benefits of peanuts started hitting the news media in 1996, consumption immediately increased. If consumption stays on track through the 1999 crop year it will have recovered 179 million pounds 13%, an unprecedented turnaround. The consumption increase represents a value of over $100 million to the peanut farming and shelling industries. For every 1% increase in consumption, it was estimated that this means, e.g. a $15.9 million boost to the state of Georgia’s economy. Based on that multiplier, a 13% consumption increase adds over $500 million to peanut producing communities across the U.S. The work on this project was one of the first major nutrition research efforts with peanuts. It was a vital part of the nutrition research and information package that was doing so much to revitalize the industry.

Focus

Post harvest and marketing technologies


Lead scientist

Dr. Richard Mattes
Purdue University


Ghana Collaborator

Food Research Institute, Accra

Gambia Collaborator

Medical Research Council