Objective: To evaluate the diet quality of free-living men, women, and children choosing peanuts and peanut products.
Design: Using data reported in the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals and Diet and Health Knowledge Survey (CSFII/DHKS) from 1994-1996, food codes were used to sort respondents by use or nonuse of peanuts.
Subjects: A nationally representative sample of 4,751 men, 4,572 women, and 4,939 children (boys and girls, 2-19 yrs) who completed 2-day intake records.
Measures of outcome: The two-sample t test was used to analyze differences between peanut users and nonusers for energy, nutrient intakes, Health Eating Index (HEI) scores, and body mass index (BMI).
Results: Peanut users (24% of CSFII/DHKS) had higher intakes (p < 0.001) of protein, total fat, polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), monounsaturated fat, (MUFA) (p < 0.01), fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Percent of energy from saturated fat was not significantly different for men, women or girls and was slightly lower (p < 0.01) for boys. Dietary cholesterol of peanut users was lower for all population groups; this decrease was significant for both men (p < 0.01) and children (p < 0.001). The HEI was calculated as a measure of overall nutrient profile of the diets and was significantly greater for peanut users (men 61.4, women, 65.1, children 66.8) compared to nonusers (men 59.9, women 64.1, children 64.7) for men (p = 0.0074) and children (p < 0.001). Energy intake was significantly higher in all population groups of peanut users (p < 0.001; boys: p < 0.01); however mean BMI for peanut users was lower for all gender/age categories (women: p < 0.05; children: p < 0.001).
Conclusions: These results demonstrate improved diet quality of peanut users, indicated by the higher intake of the micronutrients vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron and dietary fiber, and by the lower intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Despite a higher energy intake over a two-day period, peanut consumption was not associated with a higher BMI.