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Could peanut butter help combat obesity?

Monday 7th March 2016
Peanut butter may help to combat childhood obesity, new research suggests.
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Peanut butter may be able to play a key role in the fight against obesity, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Women's University set out to explore which after-school snacks were the most filling but least likely to exacerbate the ongoing obesity crisis, finding that peanut-based foods were particularly effective.

Study author Craig Johnston commented: "Obesity is the most pressing health issue facing us today. We'd like to think it's preventable, but from where I sit right now, there hasn't been a lot shown to be very effective on a large scale."

After-school snacking is thought to be most common among teenagers, with the adolescent years often the period when young people gain the most weight.

However, it was found that young people who consumed peanuts or peanut butter after school between three and four times each week tended to lower their BMI over a 12-week period.

Overall, participants who regularly ate peanut butter over the three-month course of the study saw BMI fall by an average of seven kilograms.

Some of those taking part in the investigation only consumed the peanut snacks once a week, but they also experienced an average three kilogram decrease in their BMI, indicating that even a small amount of nuts can have a significant impact in the fight against obesity.

The researchers hope that the results of the study will encourage after-school programmes and schools to replace their current snack offerings with peanut or peanut butter-based options, as these are more likely to leave children feeling fuller, curbing their appetite and subsequently stopping them gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.

Results of the study have been published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children.

Written by Martin Lambert

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