Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is probably one of the most classic childhood memories, provided you didn’t have a peanut allergy. Lately, however, there is an increasing number of reasons to avoid peanuts and peanut butter. While they may be a classic snack, peanuts may be doing more harm to your body than you know. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if future generations have fond memories of almond butter and jelly sandwiches!
The paleo community first had issues with peanuts because they aren’t nuts. They are actually legumes, which are not allowed in the paleo diet. Peanuts are as delicious as they are controversial. They produce a concerning toxic mold called aflatoxin, which is a known carcinogen that has been associated with liver cancer. It has also been linked to stunted growth in children.
Peanuts are susceptible to toxins like aflatoxin because they grow in permeable pods. Certain temperatures and moist conditions can cause mold to occur, which is why a lot of pesticides are used in the growing process.
Like most legumes, peanuts contain lectins, which are anti-nutrients that are almost impossible to digest. These proteins bind to sugars in cells and lead to inflammation. In fact, consumption of too many lectin-rich foods has been linked to inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. The high content of omega-6 fatty acids is another reason why peanuts are inflammatory. The Standard American Diet does not contain a balanced ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, which can lead to inflammation, heart disease, and other health issues.
A lot of people in the health world have decided not to eat peanuts because the negatives outweigh the positives. If you choose to eat peanuts or peanut butter, knowing the downsides, that is your choice. Don’t use the excuse of eating peanut butter for protein. There are plenty of plant-based proteins, which aren’t carb-dense, out there are not damaging to the gut lining. People eat peanut butter because it is delicious and fatty. That’s all fine and dandy, but just be aware of the foods you put in your body. Always inform yourself about your foods so you can keep your body as healthy as possible.