Sometimes you feel like a nut…



Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (01 March)

The humble peanut and its products, peanut butter or peanut oil, has grown in popularity since George Washington Carver pioneered its utility. Now, billion dollar industry ranging from its raw form of a nut to more delicious concoctions of peanut butter ice cream and cakes or peanut soup – a staple in Ghana.

Peanuts are a great alternative source for animal-based protein like beef or chicken for those who try to limit their saturated fat intake or may not have access to a fresh market. The macronutrients content of peanuts are similar when compared to beef if your focus is (only) protein. Compare cholesterol of the beef steak to peanuts, 92 g and 0 g respectively. For people who are concerned with a high cholesterol diet and/or on medication to reduce cholesterol, this is a major factor to consider. Fat is always a concern for those who want to limit intake. To clarify the amount of fat found in 100 g peanuts v sirloin steak is 50 g and 14 g, respectively. At first glance, peanuts have 2.5x the amount, BUT think about the type of fat. The amount of saturated v unsaturated or even the mono-, poly- unsaturated types of fats because each type of fat (Think butter v olive oil or avocado) is processed in the body differently. The breakdown of types of fat in peanut is mostly mono-unsaturated fatty acids similarly found in olive oil. Whereas, the majority of fat in a steak is…. saturated from the animal fat aka: tallow. Don’t forget about dietary fiber… we all need it! [Men >35 g ; Women >25 g / day]



*Peanut- roasted, unsalted *Beef- sirloin steak Hamburger- McDonald’s (1 sandwich)
Energy (kCal) 587 283 251
Protein (g) 24 27 12
Carbohydrate (g) 21 0 29
Fat (g) 50 14 10
Cholesterol (mg) 0 92 26
Niacin (mg) 14 7 4
Dietary Fiber (g) 8 0 1

*per 100g (1)

With the rise in uses and popularity, there is also a rise in allergic reaction to peanuts (2). Though, good news from a recent comprehensive study led by Lack and colleagues (3) indicates that by introducing a small amount of peanut product to infants, under the supervision of a medical doctor, may lower the risk of a peanut allergen. This is counter to the medical profession’s recommendation of strict avoidance of peanuts to lactating mothers and feeding toddlers up to two years old.



2. Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, Godbold JH, Sampson HA. US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy: 11-year follow-up. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;125:1322-1326

3. Du Toit et. al. Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy. N Engl J Med. 2015 Feb 23


Littera… Litteratus… Literacy

Does all this information add up to knowledge?

Does all this information add up to knowledge?

When information is limited to 30sec soundbites or 140 characters, its difficult to accurately convey necessary knowledge en masse.  Whether it is found in social media platforms or in peer-reviewed journals, the outlet targets a specific type of reader and they are not one and the same. Therefore, the public’s general knowledge on specific topics eg. science issues, are limited. For example, are foods safe to eat when grown with pesticides? Do you need to eat a multi-vitamin supplement? A wide space of information is lacking for the public to understand the benefits or the detrimental effects of scientific topics such as fracking, world population, or prevention of non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc). A Pew Research study show 40% difference between the public’s opinion and scientists in the safety of eating foods grown with pesticides.

Despite multiple public health campaigns for smoking cessation or lowering heart disease, the sales profit in the tobacco industry still flourishes and the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables are not seen in the school canteen or the most popular ordered item on a restaurant menu. We don’t hear about the next “it” restaurant opening serving braised kohlrabi and flax. The average American only eats one fruit and one or two vegetables a day which is substantially lower than the recommended 5/day or the “at least 8” servings of fruits and vegetables touted by some current researchers. The average UK adult eats 4 portions of fruits and vegetables.

Improved behaviours are documented as a result of intervention studies -where an action is taken to improve a situation-  are dependent of varying degrees of intervention intensity  either via primary care givers or community support. Interventions by the way of primary care were more effective for smoking cessation when compared with diet and physical activities using community support group intervention methods. Information to a specific targeted group whether it is focused for pregnant women, men with gray hair or diabetic children should be clear and concise. BUT the onus of comprehending the information and taking action is upon each individual because no matter how many pictures or recipes for kohlrabi* are shown, it does not translate to a greater consumption of the vegetable. TAKE ACTION!





Leshner AI. Bridging the opinion gap. Science 30 January 2015: 459.

Taggart J, Williams A, Dennis S, Newall A, Shortus T, Zwar N, Denney-Wilson E, Harris MF. A systematic review of interventions in primary care to improve health literacy for chronic disease behavioral risk factors. BMC Fam Pract. 2012 Jun 1;13:49.