Are you a peanut lover and concerned that eating peanuts every day is a bad idea? Do you love peanut butter but read that it is considered a carcinogen? Common Health Myths sets the records straight.
First thing is first. Peanuts, like all nuts, are good for you, at least in moderation. They are healthy not only for plant-preferred diets, but also for their array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidents. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, eating nuts regularly can result in significant reductions in the risk of heart disease.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine says nut consumption has been associated with decreased risk of colorectal, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers but they can cause weight gain. Eating a lot of peanuts can cause a calorie spike since a 1-ounce serving contains 170 calories.
As for peanuts turned into peanut butter, there has been concern about whether or not the churned produced is a carcinogen. According to Dr. Andrew Craig of the American Peanut Council, the short answer is not likely.
Aflatoxin, which is the concern, is a naturally occurring byproduct of mold that affects many crops, not just peanuts. Aflatoxin can also affect corn, cottonseed, coffee, rice and spices among others.
But Dr. Craig says that with the rigorous food safety measures in place, the likeliness of a consumer being exposed to aflatoxin in American peanut products is very low. The National Cancer Institute says you can reduce your aflatoxin exposure by buying only major commercial brands of nuts and nut butters and by discarding nuts that look moldy, discolored, or shriveled.
They also say that “to date, no outbreak of human illness caused by aflatoxins has been reported in the United States, but such outbreaks have occurred in some developing countries.”