News & Analysis on the Bakery and Snacks Industries
2 – Salted peanuts: The ultimate low-sodium snack?
By Elaine Watson
- Last updated on
Another area where perceptions don’t square with reality when it comes to peanuts is sodium. Contrary to popular belief, oil-roasted salted peanuts aren’t actually that salty.
Packing 119mg sodium per 1oz (28g) serving, they comfortably meet the FDA’s criteria for low sodium foods (nuts with <140mg sodium/serving). They also contain zero trans-fats and just 1.9g of saturated fat (plus a stack of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat), qualifying them for the American Heart Association heart-healthy certification scheme.
And in a big win for the industry, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recently removed the qualifier ‘unsalted’ from its advice to eat more nuts as part of a healthy diet, said Kraft Foods Group associate director of nutrition Sandy Morreale MBA, RDN, FAND.
A small amount of salt, she added, made nuts more appealing to many consumers, and the fact that the DGAC recognized that this doesn’t make them unhealthy “is truly significant”.
Weight for weight, salted peanuts contain less salt than most breads or breakfast cereals, muffins, tortilla chips, waffles and biscuits, and as some of the salt also rubs off on your hands or is left in the pack, you also typically eat less than the amount stated on the label, she said.
But why do they taste so salty? Probably because salt crystals cling to the surface of the peanuts and come into immediate contact with salt receptors on the tongue, delivering a much more intense hit than were the salt inside the peanut instead of topically applied, explained Peanut Institute program director Pat Kearney.