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Is Peanut Butter Good or Bad For Your Health?

Peanut butter used to be the go-to nut spread to pair with jelly for a sandwich, to eat on top of fruits like banana or apple slices, or as a quick snack fatty and protein-rich snack. With the rise of other new “nut butter” spreads claiming great health benefits and mixed information on whether or not peanut butter is still the best nut butter for you, you may be wondering, is peanut butter good for you?

We looked at 10 popular peanut butter brands. We found that depending on the brand of peanut butter, the nutrition of that peanut butter varied greatly. Generally, peanut butters that contain only one ingredient, peanuts, are healthy for you. Peanut butters that had added ingredients like sugar, molasses, and honey, were higher in sugars and carbohydrates. There were even some brands of peanut butter that boasted added fats like vegetable oils (rapeseed oils, cottonseed oils, soybean oils, sunflower seed oil, roasted peanut oil), monoglycerides, and fatty ingredients like chia seeds. While these oils and “healthy fats” may sound healthy because of the recent “healthy fats” trend, generally, we want to watch out for products that have too many of these added fats. Many of these peanut butters had the same amount of fats as a peanut butter that only uses peanuts in the ingredients, so in these instances, you want to read the ingredients label. An added ingredient in peanut butter that is okay, but not necessary, is salt.

The nutrient makeup of one serving (2 tablespoons) of a 1-2 ingredient peanut butter should look like:

  • Calories: 170 – 190 calories
  • Fats: 8 – 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3-7 grams
  • Fiber: 2-3 grams
  • Sugars: 1-3 grams
  • Protein: 6 – 8 grams

Should You Include Peanut Butter in Your Diet?

Peanut butter is still a great nut butter to include in your diet! All different nuts contain different ratios of fatty acids and are good sources of protein.

Peanut butter contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and saturated fats. Saturated fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids get a bad rap. These fats are highly prevalent in the American diet and therefore have been associated with health conditions like high cholesterol and heart disease. However, like all nutrients, these are also an important part of a balanced diet. Monounsaturated fatty acids are what we generally refer to as “good fats.” Peanut butters contain all of these nutrients. To avoid taking in too many fats from peanut butter, eat peanut butter in moderation. One serving is just 2 tablespoons, which is just enough to make a PB&J sandwich or to accompany a banana as a midday snack.

Peanut butter is also a reasonable source of vegetarian protein. There are about 6-8 grams of protein in an average serving of peanut butter. The 6-8 gram amount is about the amount of protein that you should be taking in between meals as a snack or about one-third of the amount of protein that you should have at a meal.

One ingredient peanut butters are a good low-carb protein source. Eat peanut butter by itself as a high protein and low carb food or eat it with a carbohydrate-rich food like a rice cake or an apple.

The Best 1-Ingredient Peanut Butter Brands 

Trader Joe’s Organic Peanut Butter

This organic peanut butter from Trader Joe’s is a healthier alternative to your regular one. It is creamy and contains no salt, perfect to pair with anything while fully enjoying its flavor. And if you’re a fan of raw peanut flavor straight out from the shell, this is a great option for you.

365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter by Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market is trusted to produce the best natural and organic goods. This 365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter is formulated to meet all of Whole Foods Market’s stringent quality standards, ensuring that you will get a quality nut spread in your pantry.

Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter

Roasted lightly for fresh, smooth flavor, Santa Cruz Organic Light Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter is made simply with just roasted Spanish peanuts and a dash of salt. It has no hydrogenated oils, no added sugar, and no artificial ingredients.

In other words, peanut butter is good for you! Like any other food, eat peanut butter in moderation. Too much of anything can have negative consequences. Look for peanut butter brands that only have 1 ingredient: Peanuts. Peanut butters that contain additives like sugar, molasses, syrups may have carbohydrates and sugars that exceed 10 grams. You want to stay clear of peanut butters that contain filler ingredients and additives.

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