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Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 11:28 GMT
Complaint against peanut ad upheld
Ad claimed peanuts had same benefits as olive oil
Ad claimed peanuts had same benefits as olive oil
An advert that claimed salted peanuts had the same health benefits as for olive oil has been criticised by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint about an advert for KP Nuts.

The magazine advertisement showed a packet of KP Nuts on top of a bottle of olive oil, a tomato, fresh bread and red wine.

The slogan read: "Why stick to the Mediterranean on your Mediterranean diet?"

It claimed that "like olive oil, peanuts are high in the unsaturated fats which have been shown to lower cholesterol".

Health claim

It also claimed the roasted peanuts had the: "Same healthy whole-food qualities as the fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and pasta which have made the Mediterranean-style diet so popular."

The ASA upheld the complaint, which came from a member of the public who challenged the advert's comparison to olive oil.

It said the claim that peanuts could reduce cholesterol was not substantiated.

A spokesman said: "It was unlikely that peanuts would feature in the diet in the same way as olive oil."

He added: "There was not enough evidence from dietary studies to show that the metabolic effects of olive oil and whole peanuts were similar."

'Swap fat types'

A spokeswoman for the British Nutrition Foundation said olive oil and peanuts were both a rich source of beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids.

But she said: "People are more likely to change the oil they use."

She added people should not pick up a packet of peanuts and think they could lower their cholesterol.

She said people benefit when they replace saturated fatty acids (in foods such as butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil, fatty meats or full fat dairy products) with monounsaturated fatty acids, helping lower blood cholesterol levels.

"But in order to get the benefit people must swap the types of fat they are eating, rather than just add extra foods, such as peanuts or olive oil, into the diet.

"Nuts are also a good source of fibre, contain a range of vitamins and minerals and provide other beneficial plant chemicals and, so can be part of a healthy balanced diet."

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