Peanut Butter Benefits

I love peanut butter. I’d love to believe that peanut butter benefits my health. It may, but it’s not all black and white. My problem is I eat too much of it. I like it on crackers, sandwiches, with jelly, or just on a spoon. As a kid I had fluffer-nutters for lunch at school. Remember the jingle? Here’s the same tune with a much updated video:

No one was happier than me to begin to hear that peanut butter benefits health in moderation. There has been a lot in the news recently that peanut butter benefits health, and I am hopeful these will override the extra 10 pounds I lug around my waist that is in part due to peanut butter over-consumption. Here are some peanut butter benefits:

-Of the fat in PB about 47% is mono-unsaturated, about 27% polyunsaturated, and only 20% saturated. (compare to olive oil which is nearly 75% monounsaturated oil)

-There is a good amount of protein in peanut butter, about 15% of the calories in PB are protein calories.

-In the “natural” brands of peanut butter, there is very little sugar, less than 1 gram per 2 tablespoon serving in many brands.

-There is very little sodium in most brands of peanut butter.

-Peanut butter is rich in magnesium.

-Peanut butter also contains Resveratrol, a potentially healthy polyphenol.

This all sounds too good to be true, and unfortunately it is. The big problem with peanut butter is that the peanut butter benefits will be more than offset if we eat too much. Peanut butter is very high in calories because 71% of the calories in peanut butter are from fat. Fat has over twice the calories per gram as either protein or carbohydrates, and so it is easy to consume excess calories with peanut butter and get fat. Like your Mom probably told you, “All things in moderation.”

3 Responses to Peanut Butter Benefits

  1. Yes, true enough about the fat in peanut butter, but the protein in it also brings some benefit. Plus if you consider that peanut butter (or any of the nut butters really) do not cause an insulin spike and can help to lower the glycemic load when smeared onto bread or crackers, then we see that perhaps it is not fat builder we usually think it is.

    After all, all calories are not alike from our metabolism’s point of view. I’m more concerned about refined carbs than I am about fats. Especially the high quality fats!

  2. Peanut Butter…yum yum and nutritious too! But also a double-edged sword if you aren’t careful!

    Let’s say you started out with measuring cups and maybe a food scale. You wrote down and planned everything that you ate. You lose weight. You are happy. THEN, fast forward about 1-3 years and one day, you have three pieces of chocolate and a spoonful of peanut butter. You DO NOT gain weight from this one snack, and so, you eat it again.

    This is where we have to be careful and be mindful of our meals and snacks and NOT overeat those ‘healthier and nutritious’ foods, ie: peanut butter. Without paying attention to it, it is a weight gainer for sure!

    Everything that goes into your mouth counts. Yes, even if you eat it fast, on a spoon. Yes, even if you do not even remember eating it. it still counts.

    A powerhouse of nutrition NOT to be over enjoyed!

    Brooke Douglas, RD

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