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Short Answer:

No, Peanuts are not Paleo!
are peanuts paleo

Peanuts are not Nuts!

Peanuts are the seeds of legumes and they are definitely not nuts.  They have originated in South America for merely thousands of years.

Peanuts are rich in essential nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and dietary fiber. Peanuts are high in protein.

Peanuts are usually eaten raw. They are made into oil and the famous peanut butter. Other foods made from peanuts are peanut butter cookies, peanut brittle, peanut milk and salted peanuts.

The Problem with Peanuts

We have discussed on our previous posts that legumes are not Paleo and so is peanut. Below are the reasons why peanuts are not considered Paleo:

  • As legumes, peanuts are concentrated with high amounts of phytate that blocks mineral absorption making them less bioavailable. Regardless of the nutrients that peanuts contain, because of the phytate, they cannot be used by the body.
  • Lectins are antinutrients present in peanuts too. Lectins are known to cause damage in the gut lining, inflammation and auto immune diseases. Unlike other lectins found in legumes, peanut lectins even when cooked cannot be easily destroyed.
  • In addition to phytates and lectins, peanuts are considered FODMAPS too. They contain galaco-ligosaccharides, a carbohydrate that can cause digestive problems especially to those who already have existing digestive conditions.
  • Protease inhibitors found in legumes are the reason why legume proteins have lower bioavailabilty. They prevent the gut enzymes from breaking down the protein found in food into amino acids.
  • Peanuts are listed as one of the most common food allergens. Symptoms may vary from watery eyes to anaphylactic shock.
  • Aflatoxin is a carcinogen produced by molds that can cause cancer when consumed in high amounts or even small amounts in a long period of time. Peanuts acquire aflatoxin as they grow. Peanuts are known to have the highest aflatoxin content.
  • Peanuts have a very imbalanced Omega 3 to 6 ratio. They are over 22% omega 6 fats. High amounts of polyunsaturated fats are linked to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Oxalates are also present in peanuts. They are naturally occurring substances found in plants. Oxalates when concentrated in body fluids can crystallize and form gall stones.

What Experts Say About Peanuts… Is It Paleo?

“The one lectin we may want to exercise caution with is peanut lectin, since both raw peanuts and peanut oil have relatively high lectin content. Some data in animals suggest that peanut lectin may contribute to atherosclerosis by stimulating the growth of smooth muscle and pulmonary arterial cells”. – Chris Kresser

“From an evolutionary perspective, legumes are not part of the human’s diet. Prior to the agricultural revolution regular consumption of legumes was not common. As cereal grains, legumes are great sources of antinutrients, such as lectins, saponins or protease inhibitors which wreak havoc the hormonal and immune systems.” – Dr. Loren Cordain

“So, the practical point here is to stay away from both peanuts and peanut oil and all legumes”. – Dr. Loren Cordain

“We already tend to steer clear of peanuts for some obvious (to our readers) reasons: the fact that they’re legumes, rather than actual nuts; the potentially dangerous, “anti-nutrient” lectins found in them; and their prominent spot in the upper echelons of the “Most Common Food Allergens” list”. – Mark Sisson

All you ever wanted to know about Peanuts and Paleo

The Paleo Diet. Beas and Legumes: Are They Paleo?

Mark’s Daily Apple. Aflatoxins, or Another Reason to Shun Peanuts

Mark’s Daily Apple. Dear Mark: Nuts

Chris Kresser. Are legumes Paleo?

Ultimate Paleo Guide. Are Peanuts Paleo?

Paleo Leap. Beans and Legumes

Stupid Easy Paleo. Why Peanuts Make People Go Crazy

Living Superhuman. Why are Legumes Bad For You?

Paleo Flourish Magazine.  Are Peanuts Paleo?

Grass Fed Girl. Why Peanuts Are Not Paleo

The Paleo List. Are Peanuts Paleo?

Paleo Porn.  Are Peanuts Paleo?

Other Names for Peanuts

Ground nuts

Did we miss anything?

Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?

photo credit: 黑金剛花生01-s