How Bad Are Peanuts, Really?

peanuts and peanut butterFor years, the ancestral health community has shunned the humble peanut. I did so myself in fact. Why can’t I have peanuts? you may ask. Because they’re legumes, would be the standard answer. And that was that. The status of legumes was decided in the Primal and paleo world. Too many antinutrients, case closed.

In recent years, however, my stance on legumes has softened.

The lectins and phytic acid we worry about, it turns out, are mostly deactivated by heat and proper preparation. A bit of phytic acid can even be a good thing, provided you have the gut bacteria necessary to convert it into beneficial micronutrients. All in all, legumes turn out to be a relatively nutrient-dense source of resistant starch and other prebiotic fibers. If you can swing the carbs and you feel fine eating them, legumes are on the table.

Peanuts are the most popular legume. It’s not quite a staple source of calories in most people’s diets — many populations eat quite a few beans and lentils of various sorts — but nothing seems to capture hearts and minds like a large dollop of peanut butter. At least in this country, peanut butter has a cultural status that touches off nostalgia. And let’s be honest, too, peanuts and peanut butter also has a budgetary draw for many people. It’s generally cheaper than other nuts.

I thought I’d revisit the idea of peanut consumption in the context of a Primal way of eating. Does it fit? Does it hurt? What are we to make of the peanut?

If you’re still hesitant about the “legume thing,” go back and revisit the legume post I wrote a couple years ago. You should come away with a greater respect for the legume, and maybe more consideration for its inclusion in your diet.

Nutrition in Peanuts

Here’s a basic rundown of the nutrition in peanuts:1

  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4.6g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Sugars: 1.3g
  • Protein: 7.3g

Micronutrients – Peanuts contain micronutrients like niacin, folate, thiamin, magnesium, and manganese.

Protein – They also contains complete protein replete with all the essential amino acids, although I wouldn’t recommend that you rely on peanuts for your protein (it’s just a nice bonus).

Fat – The predominant fatty acid is monounsaturated, though there is a fair bit of polyunsaturated fat as well. All in all, the peanut is a standard example of a whole food. Not incredibly nutrient-dense, not nutrient-poor.


Peanuts and Your Gut

Peanuts do seem to have a curious (and beneficial) relationship with gut bacteria and gut health in general.

Consuming peanuts with probiotics seems to help those probiotics survive passage through the gut.2 A case for adding peanut butter to your kefir smoothie?

Peanut kernel flour (flour made from the part of the peanut that you eat) may promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, and reduce the ability of pathogens to invade host cells.3

Peanut skins contain polyphenols which are not absorbed but interact with the gut to improve elevated blood lipids.4

Recipes to try: 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Peanut Stew

Primal Peanut Butter Cups

Aflatoxins in Peanuts

As a ground nut — a “nut” that grows in the ground, rather than on trees — peanuts are exposed to a lot more soil-based fungus than many other foods which typically only see it during storage. One of the fungi they encounter produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin. During storage, which tend to be in the warmer, more humid climates amenable to peanut production, aflatoxin levels rise even further.

Aflatoxin is metabolized by the liver. Large enough doses of aflatoxin are a liver carcinogen in high doses5 (it’s actually what T. Colin Campbell used to induce liver cancer in mice during his China Study crusade to indict animal protein). In China, a study of people from different villages in a region known for liver cancer found positive correlations between the amount of aflatoxin ingested and liver cancer mortality rates.6 Those villagers who ingested less aflatoxin from peanuts, peanut oil, and corn were less likely to develop liver cancer; those who ingested more were more likely. However, hepatitis B rates were also elevated in this population, and hepatitis B and aflatoxin synergistically increase the risk of liver cancer. If you don’t have hep B and don’t eat peanuts as a staple source of calories, the risk of aflatoxin drops.

If you’re worried about aflatoxins:

  • Get Valencia peanuts. Valencia peanuts are grown in drier climates that are naturally resistant to the fungus that produces aflatoxin.
  • Eat green stuff. Eating plant foods with chlorophyll (pretty much any green vegetable) may help protect against the effects of aflatoxins.7
  • Don’t eat low protein. Protein may protect against aflatoxin-induced cancer initiation, at least in animals.8
  • Eat roasted peanuts. The roasting process alone destroys about half of the aflatoxin.9
  • Eat peanut butter. After roasting, blanching and grinding the peanuts may further reduce the aflatoxin content by 27% and 11%, respectively.10

Peanut Agglutinin, a Lectin

It’s resistant to heat, unlike most lectins. It survives digestion and ends up passing through into your bloodstream. And this has been tested in live humans, not just animals or isolated cells.

In isolated colon cancer lines, peanut agglutinin stimulates the growth of tumors.11 Peanut agglutinin may also mimics the action of a known promoter of cancer metastasis (spreading to other tissues).12 Metastasis is what kills most cancer patients.

In both cases, peanut agglutinin looks problematic in the context of existing cancer. It does not appear to promote the development of cancer.

Peanut agglutinin (via peanut oil) has also been shown to promote atherosclerosis in animal models.13

Almonds vs. Peanuts

A lot of people will opt for almonds over peanuts after comparing the nutrition content in each. Gram for gram, almonds have fewer calories, more fiber, fewer carbs, and less concern for aflatoxin because they grow on trees.

The Verdict, from a Primal Perspective

Looking at the broader picture, peanut consumption correlates with good health. Evidence shows that the people who eat the most peanuts could have a lower risk of various cancers, including colorectal cancer,14esophageal cancer (in a high-risk area of China, no less),15 and pancreatic cancer in men,16 as well as potentially lower all-cause mortality and mortality from heart disease.17 This isn’t proof that they’re good for us, of course, or “anti-cancer,” but it is a strike against the idea that peanut agglutinin is a wholly toxic cancer-and-heart-disease promoter. If the effect was that powerful, it would probably show up in population studies.

It’s fun to get in the weeds on these topics. Just beware of basing your opinions or diets on the effect of food components in isolated cancer cells under specific contexts. Read, don’t commit. Integrate with broader population studies to get a better picture of what’s going on.

The totality of evidence suggests that peanuts are fine for most people to consume in moderation.

Salty peanut butter smeared over a banana? A fantastic post-drinking snack for replenishing lost sodium and potassium. Knock the carbs down by eating a green banana.

Spoonful of peanut butter right out of the jar? Just don’t let it turn into five spoonfuls.

But the absolute best way I’ve found to consume peanuts is to blend them with tigernut flour, sea salt, and a touch of honey using a food processor, roll the mixture into balls, and pop them in the freezer.

Choose Dry Roasted Peanuts

When going for actual peanuts, get dry roasted peanuts. Whenever you see a nut that’s been “roasted” in oil, that’s basically a deep-fried nut. Couple that with the fact that most roasting oils are fragile seed oils high in omega-6 and you’ve got an unhealthy snack on your hands. Dry roasting solves this. The texture of a dry-roasted peanut is even better. I don’t want that crispy glazed exterior of a fried nut. I want my nuts toasty.

That’s it for today, folks. Be sure to share your comments, questions, and concerns about peanut consumption down below. Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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116 thoughts on “How Bad Are Peanuts, Really?”

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  1. As a person who has suffered with shingles for decades, I avoid peanuts in all forms as they will quickly provoke a shingles outbreak if I consume them in any form.

    1. Hey Cee,

      What is it in the peanut that causes a shingles reaction? Is it the bacteria, or just an immune response on your end? I’ve never heard of it causing a shingles reaction, and would like to know more.


        1. Hi Mack. L lysine never worked for controlling my shingles. I have to use Zovirax prophylactically.

          1. That sounds terrible! I’m sorry you have to deal with that. It must be miserable sometimes.

      1. I don’t know what it is, Kelly. I only know that within 3 days of eating any peanut containing product, I have an outbreak. My dermatologist and my PCP told me to avoid wheat, peanuts and chocolate lest I aggravate the virus. I avoid the first two and am very moderate with chocolate consumption.

        1. Hey Shingles Suffering Friends, I hope you all consider getting the newest shingles vaccine, it’s very effective and it’s in a 2 part series now as of this year. With preauthorization your insurance company will likely pay for it. If not, it’s an investment well worth your money. As many of you know, shingles only gets more complicated with aging. Even if you have received the older vaccine you can get the newest series and the immunity boosters to 90+%. Worth it!

        2. Cee, try foods high in lysine–yoghurt being the highest…i know i know it’s not exactly primal. but go full fat and plain yoghurt. works great.

    2. I am glad to know of other people who suffer from recurring shingles. When I eat too many nuts and am not taking zinc I get sick.

  2. Thanks for setting the record straight! This is where labels like Paleo kind of make me crazy…totally agree that peanuts and legumes in general are fine for most people. I don’t really do most other legumes (too much of them in my vegan days…think I over did it) but will have some peanut butter from time to time and totally enjoy it (especially with a little chocolate!)

    1. That’s nice to know you betrayed the innocent and went back to me munching on their corpses.

    2. That’s nice to know you turned your back on the farm animals and went back to eating death , murder and corpses oh how so loving you are

  3. Peanuts were key to helping me lose 30 pounds six years ago when I went Low carb before I found MDA. I never stopped eating them, because they were such a great snack and didn’t cause me any problems.

  4. My spouse snacks on a large handful of peanuts (in the shell) almost every day. My son, who isn’t particularly Paleo, enjoys a PB&J every now and then. Personally, I don’t care that much for peanuts or peanut butter. I don’t think my daughter does either. That leaves me to wonder: Are peanuts mostly a guy thing?

    My own preference is for cashews, pecans, and macadamias. I also like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas), which contain a number of nutrients. I prefer the nuts whole versus ground up. A set of teeth makes the best nut butter.

  5. I don’t keep peanut butter around because I love to eat it too much, but I’ve always had dry roasted in the shell salted peanuts around. They’re yummy, great to suck on before you break them open, take longer to eat, and remind me of the baseball park and hanging with my dad. I really have issues with other beans though. My stomach and their fiber are a no fly zone for me. I tend to dislike their texture as well. I’d rather eat an insect in a pinch than a legume, if I really had to.

    1. Oh my goodness, I am the same with ANY nut butter! I can go to town on a jar with a spoon.

  6. I used to love freshly roasted peanuts (less so peanut butter); until Hashimoto decided to pay me a visit. Oh well…

    1. Hi Time Traveler, did you hear of the protocol Coimbra developed by Dr. Gali Cicero Coimbra based on high doses of vitamin D? It has an amazing impact on Hashimoto disease.

      1. Thanks for the heads up; I didn’t until now. I’m already doing the above diet wise. I read the protocol and I think that his recommended Vitamin D levels are insane. Based on his recommendation, I should ingest 69.000 units a day; My levels is already up (89 out of 100) there and if anything it should be less. Many tend to forget that Vitamin D is a powerful hormone not to mess with and more isn’t better. Bottom line, I wouldn’t suggest anyone try this unsupervised.

  7. I love peanuts, but they don’t like me. I used to eat them all the time, but as I got older they would make my stomach feel bloated, give me gas, and heartburn.

    When I give in to the craving for them, I am quickly reminded why I should not eat them by the above symptoms.

  8. Mark Matteson of NIH and Fasting fame wrote a nice article about the toxicities of plant materials that are consumed and opined, with some scientific authority that many of the significant health effects are related to hormesis.

    ie kick you cells in the butt. But just a little, here and there.

  9. I have a different topic/question, why is store bought mayonaise not allowed on Paleo. We have made our own – most of the time it doesn’t turn out. We have bought the mayo that Mark sells – only one of us enjoys the taste. When I read the label on store bought mayo I don’t see any sugar, nor other ingredients bad for us on Paleo.

    1. Most storebought mayo is loaded with soybean oil and stabilizers.

    2. Store bought mayo is full of industrial seed oils. There’s a rabbit hole of research you can go down….

    3. Soybean and canola oil is the culprit in store-bought mayonnaise. Mark’s mayonnaise is made with avocado oil.

    4. Jim, better read the label more carefully. Look at the type of oil they use (soybean). Nasty, nasty stuff.

    5. Because il is made with vegetable oil (especially sunflower oil); at home you can use olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil etc.

    6. Almost all store brands are made from canola or soy bean oil – both of which are industrial seed oils, high in polyunsaturates.

      And watch out for labels touting ‘Made with Olive Oil’ – usually olive oil is way down on the ingredients list and the main oil is canola or soy bean. They add a touch of olive oil so they can grab you with the label.

      I’ve found some coconut-oil based mayo, which was OK, but other than that, I’ve never found any olive or avocado based may other than Mark’s..

      1. Here in TX I can buy Chosen Foods avocado oil mayo. It’s pretty good. I also buy their avocado oil at Costco. Haven’t seen any of Mark’s products in stores here yet.

      2. John

        Look for Sir Kensington’s Mayo with Avocado Oil at Whole Foods,very good!

    7. Canola oil is one of those things that can be either bad or good. It depends on who you want to believe. (There’s a boatload of Info online.) In general, it can be as healthful as olive oil if you look for a brand that’s organic (non-GMO) and either expeller or cold pressed. Most brands aren’t. I wouldn’t buy a product that lists canola oil on the label since there’s probably no way of knowing whether you’re getting the good stuff or the bad stuff–unless it says so.

      My jar of Whole Foods organic 365 mayo says right on the front label, in large letters, that it contains “organic expeller-pressed canola oil.” Combined with my own knowledge of what I buy, I’ve always trusted WF to do the research and get it mostly right regarding the products they carry. I guess that could change now that they are owned by Amazon. I hope not.

    8. Costco has coconut oil and/or avocado oil mayo which is very tasty.

    9. I have been making my own may with avocado oil for several years now. It is delicious! Note: Do NOT use olive oil to make mayo. The oil becomes bitter when it is emulsified. The quick and easy way is to use a hand held immersion blender in a mason-type jar that is just wide enough to fit the head of the blender to the bottom of the jar. If you search on Youtube I feel confident you can find many examples of how to do it. Super easy!

      1. Really, Andrea? Are you sure the olive oil wasn’t rancid before you used it in the mayonnaise? I make aioli (read: mayonnaise made with olive oil and garlic, according to the French), and I never have a problem with the oil turning bitter. Granted, it could be masked by the garlic. 🙂

        1. Use light olive oil for mayo. To avoid bitter taste from extra virgin (its real).

        2. The oil was not rancid. Others have reported the same thing. Maybe they have different olive oil in France…?

      2. we make mayo with EVOO all the time–no bitterness-it’s really delicious-

    10. Jim, we’ve had pretty good success at home making mayonnaise with an immersion blender.

      Try out some options, like..

      ..but make sure to use a light olive oil, for example, instead of the suggested canola oil in the second recipe.

      We’ve been using a mix of half refined olive oil, half virgin – not ideal, but haven’t found any other way to get a good taste.

      It’s true that we DO get failed batches, but it’s usually more like 1 out of 5-10, unless we’re experimenting with the ingredients.

      1. Sure it depends on the quantity, like for all “issues” Mark mentionned. Yes I’m surprised this aspect of the peanuts is not mentionned at all. The O3/6 ratio is one of the pillar of primal eating, and peanuts have the worst ratio of all.

  10. All I know is that every time I eat peanuts, PB, or anything else containing peanuts I get a massive skin break out. It just isn’t worth having pimples!

  11. Great post with good info. I notice you didn’t mention peanut butter that you grind yourself in the store and would love to know if you think there are any negatives to using that as a source.

  12. I thought the process of roasting peanuts caused the oil in them to become carcinogenic thus the reason to eat all nuts raw?

  13. This is the best news I’ve heard about diet in a quite awhile. LOVE peanut butter! Thanks, Mark! Very helpful.

  14. I’m hoping that Mark is starting a tradition of mentioning something about the best way to treat his nuts each week on the blog.

    1. That was funny! “I like my nuts dry roasted”. I got a little chuckle from that. . was wondering if anyone else would think the same way I did! Hee hee!

      1. Shame on you for thinking that, Tiny Tina! Are you married? 😀

  15. I eat cashews, walnuts, roasted almonds, pecans … don’t eat peanuts very often, maybe a few every couple of months, so I don’t freak out about them they are just not a staple of my diet. As always I learn something from every article Marks put out there.

  16. I find that I crave peanuts from time to time. I usually buy they roasted in the shell since most of the grocers in my area don’t have a lot of healthy options. I never realized the dry roasted name brand ones list sugar on the ingredient label. I don’t mind the ones in the shell – they taste better in my opinion.

  17. I’ve been primal and eating peanuts. I figure since they improve all-cause mortality, they can’t be all bad. Dry roasted are my favorite. Peanuts make me happy. More satisfying to eat peanuts than peanut butter, though. Other nuts have more of certain nutrients though, so eat a variety of nut.

  18. What about soy?

    For me, there’s too many carbs in legumes, but it’s good to hear that lectins are less of a concern than previously thought.

  19. Fresh ground Valencia peanuts are amazing. Try making red cabbage-based Pad Thai with it!

  20. I’ve eaten 2 – 3 servings of organic peanut butter per day for years. I keep a record of every ounce of food that I eat, so If I make it to 100 years old (currently 48), they’ll probably say it was the peanuts. If I drop dead at 50, they’ll probably say the same. All I know is that I pay close attention to how foods affect the way I feel physically and mentally. Peanut butter works for me, but everyone is different.

  21. I was unknowingly poisoned by toxic mold for two years and suffered immensely. As a result I react very severely to mycotoxin-contaminated foods (even things as innocuous as black pepper). Even a small amount cause enough of a reaction that I lose the rest of the day cognitively from the extreme brain fog.

    Thus, eating peanuts, one of the most commonly mycotoxin-contaminated foods, seems inadvisable to me. Even if you don’t think you react to them, mycotoxins are seriously destructive agents of oxidative damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. ~25% of the population is genetically sensitive to mycotoxins, with immune systems impaired in (or unable to) recognize and clear mycotoxins. Over time these accumulate and continue causing inflammatory damage.

    If you notice you feel “off” – fuzzy, brain-fogged, sudden eye bags or muffin top – after eating certain foods like peanuts, dried fruit, cheese, and balsamic vinegar, mycotoxins could be the reason why. Given this, I would not recommend eating peanuts as more than a very occasional “treat” at most (though certainly not a treat for your liver, small intestine, and CNS).

  22. When I took snacks to work it was carrots and celery and a jar of peanut butter so fresh (with salt in it) that I could just dip them…… mmmmmmm, might do that again.

  23. Everyday the counter facts are eating away at the absurd restrictions and basic premise of Paleo.Ive been intuitively eating for decades, borrowing from many disciplines, sticking to no ONE for longer then a month or two for self testing reasons.

    Paleians need to lighten up. Processed is one thing to avoid, but regular natural foods…nope.

  24. As someone who has fought off cancer, I think the advice to not worry about those pesky cancer studies is a little stupid. Giving up peanuts is not that hard. It may help, it certainly doesn’t hurt. I would rather err on the side of caution.

  25. I make my own homemadd peanut butter. I get raw peanuts, roast them..different amounts of time depending on how deep of a roast I want, then pop then in 5he food processor. .Tada! ! Fresh peanut butter! Yummy!

  26. I appreciate this post. The paleo movement is like many others: its basic assumptions are sound and they work for me; but people seem stuck on the same old rules that have hardened into dogma. Many paleoistas firmly ignore studies that show that our ancestors have adapted to eat certain foods–certainly dairy, as more people than not have the gene for it. Mark, I hope you do a post on these findings if you haven’t already. In my own experimentation, peanuts do just fine and occasional helpings of lentils are good. Anything that sets off sugar cravings (breads and wheat products, as well as sugar itself) are not. We each have to find what works for us; that beats the rules.

    1. +1. Too many people get bogged down in maintaining dietary perfection according to someone else’s rules, and they fail to pay attention to what their own body is telling them. For this and other reasons, 80/20 Paleo works better for me than a do-or-die 100 percent. I like it that Mark has never promoted extremism on his website.

  27. This is what I love about Mark and the Primal gang – he’s not afraid to adjust his stance on various foods when new science comes along. I tried going primal a few years ago and the “no legumes” thing was a deal-breaker for me. I just couldn’t hack it. But when I decided to try it again 3 mos ago and found the new science on legumes – and now PEANUT BUTTER!!! MMMM!!! – I decided to try again and it’s been awesome. After the first month of cravings and headaches I haven’t looked back. At 50 y/o I look and feel better than I have in years, and for the first time since I was probably 8 y/o I don’t look at calories or weigh myself or wake up thinking about breakfast or get “hangry.” I’m excited to see where I’ll be in another 3 mos! Ok, I guess all that didn’t have much to do with peanuts but I’m on an endorphine high from skiing and the apres ski coffee didn’t hurt. Thanks Mark and team and Primal community! ?

  28. Can you confirm the truth to this? Apparently peanut crops are used to prepare fields for organic agriculture as they absorb toxins readily . So be sure to eat ORGANIC peanuts only.

  29. Have you changed you approach to legumes in general. I am doing your 21 day challenge and no legumes allowed??

  30. Happy to read this! Years ago when I was pregnant with my first child (and before I knew anything about paleo or primal eating), the only thing I could stand to eat without feeling ill during my first trimester was peanut butter on toast. I still buy peanut butter for my daughter and every once in awhile sneak a spoonful, yum 🙂

  31. Rather than buy peanut butter, it is way cheaper to buy the dry roasted nuts in the bulk section of the grocery store and blend up your own. Plus, you know whats in it is only peanuts.

  32. Thank you for the information on peanuts! I can’t eat most nuts, I made a cashew chicken last week, and while the family loved it, my stomach pain later that evening reminded me to not eat it very often.
    It’s most frustrating to be on an peanut free airplane flight, but I do understand allergies can be life threatening, so I’ve learned to grab other snacks for long flights.

  33. Then the peanut butter topped cheeseburgers we had in New Orleans are back on !

  34. RE peanuts (and other nuts) roasted in oil – the amount of PUFA from the oil is negligible compared to that in the nut itself- according the ingredient label- when comparing dry roasted (or raw) vs. oil roasted. Assuming~ 1/4 cup serving/day, oil roasted nuts could also be considered a health snack.

  35. Yay!!! I’m now back to a bag of all sorts of roasted nuts!

  36. Peanuts are the only thing I have ever eaten that makes me constipated, I have a very healthy gut. Haven’t figures out why. I don’t know anyone else that has this problem.

  37. Hi, I have a severe form of arthritis which I treat with high doses of vitamin D. I seem to be sensitive to gluten as it causes the arthritis to flare. I normally avoid peanut but I really like it! Would the agglutinin in peanut have a similar effect to the gluten in wheat, barley, rye and oats for the ones of us with auto-immune diseases?

    1. Each of us reacts differently to different food sensitivities. The only way to answer this for certain is to test it on yourself. Basically, be strict and avoid any other dietary changes for a period of time. Pick a time when you are not experiencing any flares from other triggers. Then add just the one new food (peanuts) to your diet slowly, and see if you develop any symptoms. Some foods may cause quick reactions (a few hours or a few days), others may need to accumulate for several days or even weeks before the effects become obvious. This should tell you whether or not the peanuts are something you can tolerate.

  38. Deep-fried nuts hardly absorb any oil, 2% of their weight at most while peanuts already contain 15% linoleic acid.

    So it’s not terribly important to get dry roasted nuts, unless you prefer them.

  39. Perhaps we should just eat real food, consume lots of vegetables, moderate our carb intake based in our tolerance and activity level, and stop eschewing entire food groups?

  40. What a great post! So much information. More than a serving of dry roasted peanuts upsets my stomach (IBS) but I’m able to have two tablespoons in my smoothie. Wondering if that’s because they’re “broken” down so much it’s easier for my stomach to handle or it’s coupled with MCT, coconut oil, collagen, a few berries & hemp milk.

    1. I’d like to know too. I’m from the south and boiled peanuts are a must each summer when they are in season!

  41. The fact that peanut agglutinin seems to be causing atherosclerosis is enough to be wary of consuming peanuts on a regular basis. Other legumes such as lentils are fine.

  42. I was told that eating peanuts was bad for you because they are always grown after a crop of cotton which is grown in fields where they are sterilized with Methyl Bromide. The peanuts being a legume are grown after that to resupply the ground with nitrogen. Unless the peanut is an organic nut, don’t eat it!

  43. Peanut Butter: I really like this one – Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

  44. Any info on consuming boiled green peanuts? I grew up growing and eating them. Really miss them since going primal 3+ years ago.

  45. I think that if you aren’t sensitive to foods, then you might eat peanuts. But why bother when there are real nuts available? I love macadamia nut butter! It’s quick and easy to prepare and tastes great on bananas.

    I remember peanuts gave me boils when I was a preteen. I have ulcerative colitis and am very sensitive to foods, especially starch sugars. I’m on both the Paleo Diet and Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I have to be really careful. So no peanuts for me.

    I’ll be Racing in Orange for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Please support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This organization spends 82% of its donations on supporting research and helping those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is also looking into diet as a means of managing IBD.

  46. Always fun when Mark changes his opinion about a food right around the time he has a few affiliate links to drop into a post! See also his flip flop on wine right around the time he signed an endorsement deal with Dry Farm Wines.

  47. Well well well: right from the outset the Mark differentiated Primal from Paleo by acknowledging the benefits of dairy. Then a couple of years ago we have an acceptance of legumes (finally implying an acceptance of Tim Ferriss’s ‘Slow Carb’ diet). Leading on from that we have the logical next step: an acceptance of peanuts (another legume). So what’s up next? My money is on fermented organic soya products (yet another legume) – Mark has already acknowledged that Kimchi is beneficial – but I have been eating Provamel Organic Fermented Unsweetened Soya Yogurt for years now. The almond or coconut flavours taste surprisingly good.. The time will surely come when Mark has to admit the benefits of consuming products like this (ie fermented, organic soya) outweigh the potential downsides. And then of course we have the other elephant in the room: oats (particularly those guaranteed to not be cross-cotaminated with gluten).. Mark did a post on oats a few years ago: but seemed very slanted in his negative view against oats: not recognising the many positive benefits of the soluble fibre, especially the positive effects of beta-glucans on our gut bacteria, and also it’s worth as a good low GI carb – for those of us no longer scared by carbs and able to take on a more holistic view of our daily/ weekly macro intake.. Now he has finally retracted how bad phytates are (in fact they can often have an ‘anti-tumor’ effect) and the avenin issue only seems to affect a small minority of people, surely now is the time to eat your words with some oats Mark and redeem the mighty oat!

  48. Thanks for the comprehensive analysis Mark! Wondering how peanuts compare to other nuts, like macadamias, almonds, etc. in the same terms, i.e. lectins, mycotoxins, micronutrients, and other long term benefits/risks.

    Also, I always eat all nuts raw to avoid damaged PUFAs; is that over-cautious?

    Thanks all!?

  49. I’ve never really missed peanuts to be honest, but I do crave peanut butter from time to time. As a Dutchie it’s very much part of my cultural background (we’re second only to the US in peanut butter consumption, IIRC).
    I’ve discovered that a spoonfull stirred into Greek yogurt makes a very satisfying breakfast, nice and thick and more filling than the yogurt alone, and it takes care of my cravings!

  50. Great info! I usually keep away from them because I tend to overeat them. I am surprised the Jungle Peanut has not been mentioned yet (or I missed that comment), although there is not a lot of data to compare with they seem to have a slightly higher ORAC rating as well as having a bit more saturated fats. They are usually sold raw so you can do what you prefer with them and have beautiful purple stripes on that typical reddish skin. Some claim they have lower aflatoxin content but then again likely marketing playing with numbers, maybe they are just less prone to become host to the fungus that creates the toxin. The good point though is that they are an heirloom variety, not a human made hybrid and buying them supports the actual South American tribe of like 2000 people who have tended to the species for ages. As much as they stem from a form of agriculture, they are truly grown in a retired region of the jungle. With the peculiar skin color you can’t fake these so you know you get the real stuff.

    For peanut lovers like me do give a try to “blistered peanuts”, hard to find but sooo worth it, they are boiled before being fried, which creates thin bubbles on the surface and makes them xxtra cunchy!!! In my book, double cooking like this means less anti-nutrients and less frying time. If anybody find these made in decent/organic oils by all means please let me know!

  51. Mark, how do you feel about powdered peanut butter like PB2? I like to use it sometimes in yogurt and smoothies to get extra protein without the fat (I get plenty of fat elsewhere), but I wonder if the extra processing has a negative effect on nutrients.

  52. Thanks for the grounded approach to peanuts! My current favorite is organic peanut butter powder, so tasty, and low in PUFAs since most of the fat is removed! I love the creamy, proteiny goodness with slight sweetness.

  53. green apples, whole foods “365” peanut creamy PB, a drizzle of honey and some chips of 70+ % dark chocolate
    The whole foods “365” brand PB is the best Ive ever tasted.

  54. I have chronic lyme and was told to never eat peanuts or peanut butter . Its bad for your digestion, just as corn is a NONO as well.
    Can you give me your output on that?

  55. HELP!

    Currently reading the 4th edition of The Primal Blueprint (2019) which states “I advise you to eschew peanuts and peanut butter…..” whereas the above post (2016) pretty much gives peanuts a thumbs up. Consider me confused. (Did the 4th edition update just miss updating this?) Thanks.

  56. Food science and technology research, 2011. As shown in the table above, peanuts contained between 1024-2048 HAU when raw. However, after either boiling, microwaving, or roasting, between 98-100% of the lectins were destroyed. › lectins-in-pea…
    Lectins in Peanuts and Other Foods – The Peanut Institute

    Is this simply untrue then?


  57. Peanut butter is a processed food, e.g. ground so partially predigested. More natural and healthy to eat whole foods.

  58. Microbiologist friend told me this: Probiotics do not need to survive their passage through the gut, because the live microbes in the colon can utilise useful dna-pieces from dead probiotics. Oh, and they also copy them and share them with each other. =)
    I talk to my gut microbes, I think they are cute and sweet and i thank them for their good work every day. If houseplants and yoghurt react to speech, why wouldn’t they.

  59. Peanuts are okay for me, so I do eat some (mostly peanut butter). But other dried legumes are not okay……….give me indigestion and gas. Stopped eating most dried legumes years ago, and those issues stopped. I can eat fresh legumes (snap peas, green beans, etc) without problems.

  60. I appreciate you revising your stance, on peanuts in this case – the wider your stance, the wider your audience.

  61. Ground nut is a wholesome food and that you have clarified. While I accept the fact that almonds are high in nutrion, ground nut is the best considering the fact that it is very very low in price!

    I remember my childhood days in rural area of Ananthapur(AP) in South India. Poor children’s faces would glow in good health during the months of ground nut harvest season. They would accompany their parents who are involved in harvesting and mostly eat raw nuts. A dollop of jaggery with ground nuts roasted in open fire in the field would be a feast for the poor children as well as the rich land lord!

  62. Mark, thanks for all the information. However, one area not addressed was the oxalate content of peanuts. I am a peanut butter lover ( I make my own with organic dry roasted peanuts and my Vitamix) and need to limit my consumption since I have had a couple episodes with kidney stones. I don’t wish that on anyone and do not want to experience one again.

  63. There are numerous published articles regarding PNA(peanut aggultinin lectin) binding to colon mucosa and causing pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. Whether correlation vs causation, the jury is out. However, I know someone who ate a big handful of peanuts daily and is now being treated for colon cancer.

  64. Thank you for the peanut post. do you know anything about sprouting raw peanuts ? I’ve heard that sprouting can make some nuts and seeds healthier to digest, but don’t have much info. I do love peanuts, but find that too much peanut butter over several days builds up, and can make me feel ill. I would love to know if I could soak them.
    Thanks, Laura