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3 Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Peanuts

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1 oz of peanuts has 166 Cal and can lead to weight gain if you eat too much. While peanuts have healthy fats, there's still some saturated fat in them. Plus, overconsumption increases your blood phosphorus levels, causing bones to grow in the wrong places. If you have a peanut allergy, eating peanuts will cause side effects like hives and facial swelling.

Peanuts, or groundnuts, are a staple in the United States. They are present in almost every food item ranging from ice cream to granola bars. Even peanut butter and peanut oil are much loved. After all, nothing beats a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Yet, like all good things, peanuts should be eaten in moderation. Having too much can have harmful side effects. So before you grab another bag of peanuts, check out these three side effects of overconsumption.

3 Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Peanuts

1. Weight Gain

Weight Gain

Peanuts are known for their healthy unsaturated fats, which help control cholesterol levels. This doesn’t mean you should go crazy, though. While most of the fats are healthy, there’s still a small amount of saturated fat. For example, 2 Tbsp of smooth peanut butter give you 3 grams, or 24 percent, of your daily requirement.1

You get 166 Cal from 1 oz of peanuts, or 28 to 30 peanuts. In a well-balanced diet, these numbers aren’t bad. But if you eat too many or have a high-caloric diet, peanuts will pack on the calories, leading to weight gain.2

The best way to enjoy peanuts is to keep things diverse. Pair them with low-calorie foods like fruits and salads. Opt for peanuts that don’t have added flavor or salt.

2. High Contamination Risk

peanuts

Peanuts could get easily contaminated. A fungus known as aspergillus flavus could develop in peanuts, making them toxic. The fungus produces aflatoxin, a carcinogenic, and this could lead to liver cancer. Look out for any discoloration in peanuts, if they are sort of green or yellow, don’t eat them. And that’s not all.

Peanuts are also susceptible to salmonella poisoning. Even if they are grown organically and not loaded with pesticides, peanuts have a high contamination risk. So, make sure to eat them fresh. A healthier option is to do partial roasting and blanching. This eliminates the fungus and aflatoxin production.3

3. Poor Bone Health

Poor Bone Health

Did you know that peanuts can help your bones? Just 1 oz has 100 mg of phosphorus, a mineral that helps calcium in bones.4 But if you eat too much, phosphorus and calcium will start forming bones in places where they shouldn’t, like the muscles and liver. This will spark weakness, itchiness, and pain in the joints and bones. Symptoms may also include red eyes.5

While this is rare, it can certainly happen if you already have a high phosphorus intake. Foods like beef liver, instant pudding, and boxed macaroni and cheese are rich sources.6 People with existing kidney problems are subject to the greatest risk of phosphorus accumulation.

Adults (males and females) and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers over the age of 18 should aim for more than 700 mg of phosphorus daily. However, 9- to 18-year-olds should get 1,250 mg of phosphorus daily.7

Allergies

For some, side effects of overconsumption of peanuts include allergic reactions. This is so common that peanuts are actually one of the top eight food allergens according to the Food and Drug Administration.

In fact, the rate of peanut allergy in children alone had tripled between 1997 and 2010. And only about 20% of children outgrow the allergy.8 There are multiple possibilities for such a rise. Early studies claimed children, who already had allergic tendencies, developed a peanut allergy because they were exposed to peanuts very early in life, much before their digestive systems were fully developed.9 But recent studies suggest that pregnant women who avoided peanuts could increase a risk of peanut allergy in their newborns.10

Severity can range from mild to deadly, so it’s important to be careful. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, rashes, coughing, swelling, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and breathing difficulty. A combination of these symptoms can occur at once.

If you experience these effects of a peanut allergy, take an antihistamine immediately. Drinking cold water may help relieve mouth swelling. The symptoms should eventually subside.

And if they get worse? Consult a doctor immediately. Mild symptoms can easily progress to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.11

It’s possible to enjoy peanuts without dealing with unpleasant side effects. Eat them in moderation, just like everything else! But if you’re allergic, play it safe and always check food packaging. Don’t hesitate to double check at restaurants, too.

References   [ + ]

1. Peanut Butter, Smooth. United States Department of Agriculture.
2. Basic Report: 16090, Peanuts, all types, dry-roasted, with salt. United States Department of Agriculture.
3. Darko, Clara Bernice. “Effects of Storage Conditions of Aspergillus Growth and Aflatoxin Production in Peanuts. A Study in Ghana.” PhD diss., Virginia Tech, 2017
4. Phosphorus: the where and why. DPC Education Center.
5, 6. Phosphorus. Department of Veterans Affairs.
7. Phosphorus in diet. MedlinePlus.
8. Sicherer, Scott H., Anne Muñoz-Furlong, James H. Godbold, and Hugh A. Sampson. “US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy: 11-year follow-up.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 125, no. 6 (2010): 1322-1326
9. Petitto, Jennifer E., and Tamara T. Perry. “Maternal Consumption of Peanut During Pregnancy Is Associated With Peanut Sensitization in Atopic Infants.” Pediatrics 128, no. Supplement 3 (2011): S107-S107
10. Frazier, A. Lindsay, Carlos A. Camargo, Susan Malspeis, Walter C. Willett, and Michael C. Young. “Prospective study of peripregnancy consumption of peanuts or tree nuts by mothers and the risk of peanut or tree nut allergy in their offspring.” JAMA pediatrics 168, no. 2 (2014): 156-162
11. Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. Food & Drug Administration.