Is Peanut Butter Bad for You?

Peanut butter is made from ground, roasted, and skinned peanuts. Manufacturers often add sugar, palm oil and salt for commercially made peanut butter you find in the grocery store. Peanut butter is an important part of the US cuisine since the early 20th century. Just about every household has some in their cupboards. It can be eaten along with jelly and bread or made into peanut butter cookies. But is peanut butter bad for you?

Is Peanut Butter Bad for You?

If you happen to be allergic to peanuts, then the answer is definitely yes. In most cases, however, it is equivocal as to whether or not peanut butter is bad for you.

Peanut butter is much like other types of nut butter. It is high in calories and fat, containing about 190 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving size (2 tbsp.). There is, however, a lot of excellent nutrition to be found in peanut butter. Peanut butter and other butters containing nuts have a lot of fiber, protein, minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins in them.

Peanuts are not actually nuts but are legumes. They are mainly grown in South America. Peanuts are similar to nuts, however. They have about 50% of their weight in fat and the other half is carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Half of the fat is monounsaturated, which is the healthy kind of fats to consume as they lower lipid levels in the blood stream. About 1/3 of the total fat is polyunsaturated, primarily omega 6 fatty acids. A total of 14% of the fat in peanut is of the saturated kind.

So is peanut butter bad for you? Not necessarily. Like all things, you should not overconsume it. Because it contains a lot of fat, you should eat it in moderation and only eat natural peanut butter. If you gain fat from eating peanut butter, it doesn’t matter that it also contains healthy things. Try organic peanut butter, which is generally made only from peanuts and added salt. Eat only 2 tbsp. at a time so that you aren’t taking in too many calories or fat.

How Much Peanut Butter Should I Eat?

Peanut butter should be a part of a healthy diet. It can be included as part of the oil or protein food group. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 5.5 ounces of the protein group and 6 teaspoons of oil group every day in a 2,000 calories meal plan. A tablespoon of peanut butter equals 1 ounce of protein from the protein food group, and 1½ teaspoons is the same as a teaspoon of protein from the oil group.

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has several health benefits you should know about:

  • It is high in protein. You should take in about 2 tbsp. of peanut butter daily in order to get an optimum amount of protein. There are about 7 grams of protein in a 2 tbsp. serving of peanut butter. It is a good breakfast choice. Besides, the protein helps to build strong muscles as well.
  • It contains healthy fats. Is peanut butter bad for you? It seems to be good for your heart. It is high in unsaturated fats like avocados and olive oil, and when consumed in moderate amount, can improve your heart health.
  • It is high in potassium. Too much sodium is bad for your blood pressure and your heart. Peanut butter has some sodium in it but it is otherwise high in potassium, which counteracts the sodium in your diet.
  • It boosts energy. Peanut butter has a high content of energy-boosting protein and fat. The calories alone will give you the energy you need in order to exercise or do any other type of activity.
  • It is high in fiber. When you eat two tbsp.of peanut butter, you take in about 2 grams of fiber. This type of fiber can help keep your bowels moving well and supplement other fiber sources you are eating.
  • It helps weight loss. Is peanut butter bad for you? Not really. Because peanut butter keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, it actually helps you lose weight. It keeps you from craving unhealthy snacks and junk food so you can better control your shape.
  • It is high in nutrients. There are healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, magnesium and potassium in peanut butter. A single serving will give you plenty of vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant. You will also get a lot of magnesium, which is good for building bones and muscles. Vitamin B6 in peanut butter will help your immune system. Peanut butter also contains some healthful zinc.

How to Choose Your Peanut Butter

There are several types of peanut butter to choose from. Is peanut butter bad for you? It depends on the type you select.

Different Types

  1. Natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter usually contains nothing other than peanuts and salt. Read the labels andif it says it contains sugar, molasses, or palm oil, it probably isn’t natural enough. Pure peanut butter is better for you than those you buy in a store.
  2. Regular peanut butter. They contain peanuts along with molasses, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, sugar, fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt and diglycerides. In particular, hydrogenated oils are the same as trans fats, which has been found to be associated with heart disease. So if it’s listed as one of the ingredients, buy it.
  3. Peanut butter with less fat. In this type of peanut butter, the manufacturer has replaced fat with excess sugar. The calorie count is the same so you really shouldn’t buy such products.

What to Look For

You should look for peanut butter that doesn’t have a lot of sodium in it. The sodium content can be as little as 40 mg or as high as 250 mg per serving.

You should also look for peanut butter with less sugar in it. The natural kinds of peanut butter contain only 1-2 grams of sugar per serving, which is 50% less than regular peanut butter. Choose natural peanut butter if you are making a savory dish.

 
 
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