Peanut oil is one of the healthiest oils. It is a vegetable oil that is naturally trans fat-free, cholesterol free, and low in saturated fats. Peanut oil is high in unsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated fat, like olive oil. It is also a source of the antioxidant, vitamin E and phytosterols, which benefit heart-health.
Peanut Oil Nutrition Studies
The health benefits of peanut oil on blood lipids and heart health were looked at in a controlled human study conducted at Penn State University, which assigned subjects to one of four diets:
1. Moderate fat – 1/2 fat from peanut oil (PO),
2. Moderate fat – 1/2 fat from olive oil (OO),
3. Moderate fat – 1/2 fat from peanuts and peanut butter (PPB)
4. Low-fat Step II diet (American Heart Association/National Cholesterol Education Program),
5. Average American diet (AAD).
The PO and PPB diets significantly improved total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels similar to olive oil when compared to an AAD. Cardiovascular disease risk was also significantly reduced by the PO and PPB diets similar to the OO diet.
In another human study, weight loss was measured in those on a moderate fat diet versus a low-fat diet. Peanut oil was substituted for half of the fat in the moderate fat diet. Subjects on the diet including peanut oil lost weight and also had improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Additional emerging data is showing the benefits of healthy fats in regards to type 2 diabetes. Data shows that insulin sensitivity can be improved when saturated fat is replaced with unsaturated fats, like those found in peanut oil.
UNDERSTANDING PEANUT OIL:
Main Types, Multiple Benefits
Refined Peanut Oil
Refined peanut oil, like all processed vegetable oil, has been refined, bleached and deodorized. This process removes the allergic protein component of the oil, making it non-allergenic. Refined peanut oil is the main type utilized in major US fast-food chains.
Gourmet Peanut Oil
Gourmet roasted peanut oils are not refined and are considered specialty oils. They provide significant levels of vitamin E and phytosterols and are available in many retail outlets.
100% Peanut Oil
Packaging can be confusing at times. Sometimes oils are blended. To receive all of the benefits of peanut oil for your turkey fry, look for peanut oil as the only ingredient, or for “100% peanut oil” on the packaging.
Who Recommends Peanut Oil?
The 2005 US Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping “total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils,” like peanut oil.
The American Heart Association says “Most of the fats you eat should be the “better” fats – monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.” Vegetable oils (canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil), avocados, nuts and seeds, and seafood are recommended sources of these fats.
Peanut Oil and Allergy
Research shows that highly refined peanut oil, which has had all of the allergic proteins removed, does not cause an allergic response in severely allergic individuals. A controlled human study published in the British Medical Journal that tested refined peanut oil in 60 severely allergic individuals, found that “refined peanut oil did not pose a risk in any of the subjects” who were allergic to peanuts.
The FDA Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act also state, “highly refined oils and ingredients derived from highly refined oils are excluded from the definition of ‘major food allergen’.”