Peanut butter: to eat or not to eat

By | June 16, 2012


Peanut butter is healthy adn good for you“I like peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter. Chunky peanut butter too.” I am reminded of the these words to a commercial jingle as I think about eating peanut butter and wondering if peanut butter really is healthy. Initially, I thought maybe not, because there seems to be a lot of oil in peanut butter; plus, it is so good, it can’t be good for you. Then I thought, it is made from peanuts, so it has to be good for you, right? Well, in the end I realized I didn’t know and need to do some research and  find out.

What about vitamins and minerals in peanut butter

A serving of peanut butter has the following needed vitamins and minerals:

  • 3 mg of the vitamin E
  • 49 mg of magnesium
  • 208 mg of potassium
  • 0.17 mg of vitamin B6

Research has shown that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that eating 1 ounce of nuts or peanut butter (about 2 tablespoons) at least 5 days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30%.

What about all the fat?

Peanut butter is full of good monounsaturated fat. A recent study found that insulin-resistant adults who ate a diet high in monounsaturated fats had less belly fat than people who ate more carbohydrates or saturated fat.


Calories, protein, and fiber in peanut butter

Peanut butter has 180 to 210 calories per serving, which might sound like a lot but there are some really good things in these calories. This goodness includes a combination of fiber (2 g per serving) and protein (8 g per serving) that not only fills you up but keeps you feeling full longer, so you eat less overall.

By the way, if you are thinking about buying reduced-fat peanut butter because you think it’s has fewer calories, hold on and read the label. The calories are often very close. This is because the reduced fat is replaced by extra ingredients, such as sugar.

How do I choose the healthy peanut butter?

The fat and calorie counts of most brands of peanut butter are similar, but there are other ingredients to consider:

  • Sodium: Amounts can range from 40 to 250 mg per 2-tablespoon serving. (Organic versions tend to have less.)
  • Sugar: Natural brands have 1 to 2 g, which is about half as much as commercial brands.

Conclusion

Yeah! It appears peanut butter is good for you. I say appears because maybe tomorrow they will find something in peanut butter that they didn’t realize is bad for you. For now, it is on the cool foods list.

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