Ever since you were a kid, peanut butter has been a fundamental part of your diet. Whether it was a perfectly made PB&J with the crust neatly cut off in your brown bag lunch, or spread over crackers for a quick snack, peanut butter has been a permanent fixture in your life. But years of misinformation has vilified our beloved creamy-crunchy spread and left many people wondering if peanut butter is actually good for you. Well, we’re about to find out.
Peanut Butter Contains Healthy Fats
Peanut butter is misunderstood. The real reason is because of its calorie content. With nearly 190 calories per serving (two tablespoons), people live in fear that peanut butter will make you fat. But, fat does not make you fat. It’s how much of it you consume.
One serving of peanut butter has 16 grams of healthy monounsaturated fats and 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol, reduce heart disease, and hypertension. Healthy fats also act as an anti-inflammatory.
Sure, peanut butter may be high in calories, but its healthy fat content is actually good for you and will help control your hunger. A review published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that peanuts can help curb your appetite and keep you fuller for longer.1 Another study, conducted by Purdue University indicated that long-term nut and nut butter consumption could actually maintain weight loss.2
Peanut Butter Is A Rich Source Of Protein
At seven grams of protein per serving, peanut butter actually provides more protein than any other nut. Peanut butter is also a great source of fiber, with two grams per serving. With such high protein content, peanut butter provides a great protein source for vegans or people with plant-based diets. (READ MORE about great protein sources for plant-based diets here) But remember, even though peanut butter may contain a high amount of protein per serving, it also contains a high amount of calories, and those calories can add up quickly, leading to unwanted weight gain if you’re not mindful.
Should I Eat Peanut Butter?
Yes! It’s ok to eat peanut butter, just not too much of it. Ideally, you shouldn’t consume more than one tablespoon of peanut butter per meal. And, you should probably use a legit measuring spoon so you know exactly how much peanut butter you’re really consuming. Because if you’re anything like me, a few apple slices and an open jar of Adams Peanut Butter can quickly amount to half your daily caloric intake without you even knowing it.
When you’re shopping for peanut butter, the fewer ingredients it has, the healthier it typically is. Many kinds of peanut butter are marketed as, ‘low fat’ or contain a wide variety of food additives like refined sugar, salt, and artificial flavoring.
Peanut butter is good for you. The trifecta of healthy fats, protein, and fiber provides a rich source of nutrients and will help curb your appetite to keep you fuller for longer. Plus, peanut butter is a super-decadent food and adds excitement to your diet. Nobody wants to eat chicken and broccoli five times a week and feel deprived of the foods you love. Sure, you probably used to trade your fruit roll up, peach fruit cup, or box of goldfish when you were a kid (or as an adult) during lunch, but no way did you ever trade your PB&J. That thing was pure gold and it was by far and away the most valuable thing sitting in your brown bag lunch. Not to mention, it would have been pure lunacy.
What's your favorite brand of peanut butter?
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- Tan SY, Dhillon J, Mattes RD. A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100 Suppl 1:412S-22S.
- Mattes RD, Kris-etherton PM, Foster GD. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr. 2008;138(9):1741S-1745S.