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Peanuts. An underdog story.

Think fast: what’s “healthier,” peanuts or almonds? 
 
The results of an informal survey I conducted with family and friends was a resounding 10 to 0 in favor of almonds. Not a single peanut vote! I had to ask why.

One heavily cited reason was that almonds are expensive, and we often equate high-cost with high-quality. So while the almond hits our wallets hard, the lowly peanut is given out for free at bars, at 5 Guys establishments, at circuses, and in my Uncle Tony’s living room (oh, Tony...). You want free almonds? Maybe in your nutty dreams, pal.

Almonds have an image: shelves of almond butter lining your local frou-frou grocer, happy trees frolicking in the California soil. Almonds are like opera singers; peanuts are like . . . the peanut gallery. 
Almonds: so hot right now.
Peanuts: they're really good with beer.
So the question is, have we been misled by marketing? And the answer is, well, probably.

We’ve been led to think that almonds are much healthier than peanuts. When you look at the main Stats (meaning the calories and macronutrients), peanuts and almonds have basically the same nutritional value. Here's a chart (this is Statfoods dammit!): 
Actually, peanuts have less calories/carbs, and more protein. But they're pretty damn close.
It’s worth noting that the two “nuts” (peanuts, rather, are legumes) vary more significantly in micronutrients – almonds have significantly more Vitamin E / Riboflavin while peanuts have more Niacin / Folate / Riboflavin. 


But if the main nutritional value of the two are nearly identical, you might guess that they’d be similar in cost, right? Wrong. Almonds are very consistently 2.5-4 times more expensive than peanuts (and almond prices have been rising). And that’s excluding any hairy environmental cost arguments with the heavy water-consumption of almonds.

It seems pretty clear: buying peanuts over almonds is a better decision for our wallets and a neutral one for our waistlines. You don’t need to spend all of your money buying nuts that will be the "magical" key for your health and weight loss. We’re not trying to start a raging nutritional rivalry here, no shell-cracking showdown for the ages. If you prefer the taste of almonds, go for it – just know you’re shelling out (sorry, pun… intended) more cash.

This doesn’t just apply to peanuts and almonds. With a stat-centered mindset, it’s possible to apply this lens to all sorts of other food decisions. Think of your target nutritional goals, consider your taste preferences, and look at the costs – you’ll be surprised by the abundance of affordable and healthy food that’s out there.

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