America’s favorite nut has a new descriptor, healthy. Peanuts are now classified as healthy due to their high levels of unsaturated fats that provide a source of plant-based protein and overall beneficial nutrient profile, according to new guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new guidelines have removed “calories from fat” and focuses on the type of fat in foods rather than the amount of fat.
“For decades, research studies have recognized the health benefits of peanuts as a superfood that is nutrient dense with more than 30 essential vitamins and nutrients containing good fats,” says Bob Parker, president and CEO of the National Peanut Board. “The new FDA guidelines allow us to better educate Americans on the benefits of incorporating peanut and peanut products into their lifestyle to maintain a healthy diet.”
“In the 1980’s we were convinced that only low-fat choices were healthy choices. Now we know that food and nutrition are more complex than that, and our marketing efforts can also align with what consumers need to hear to make better choices,” adds Sherry Coleman Collins, registered dietitian nutritionist and consultant for the National Peanut Board. “Peanuts are the total package of protein, good fats, and more than two dozen vitamins and phytonutrients, making them indeed healthy.”
FDA has begun its public process to redefine the “healthy” nutrient content claim for food labeling and is seeking public input. Redefining “healthy” is part of an overall plan for FDA to provide consumers with information and tools to enable Americans to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry.