Take a look at the nutritional facts on your jar of peanut butter. First of all, the serving size is 2 tablespoons—that’s not a whole lot. Second of all, most regular creamy peanut butter brands have about 190 calories in those 2 tablespoons. Seems like quite a bit, too. Continue reading that label and it will show you that peanut butter has 16 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 150 milligrams of sodium. So why do people consider peanut butter a healthy option? And what’s the doggone truth!?
Although peanut butter may not be the best choice for breakfast, lunch or especially dinner, it certainly isn’t the worst thing you could eat either. Peanut butter has the same ratio of unsaturated fat to saturated fat as olive oil, and that unsaturated fat isn’t the toxin that it’s often made out to be. At the same time, certain amounts of peanut butter can lead to health issues…and weight problems.
Let’s look at the jar half full…
In moderation (and we’re talking MAJOR moderation), the saturated fat found in peanut butter can actually help with protective HDL in circulation. Eighty-one percent of peanut butter is unsaturated, which actually contributes to heart health. In addition, peanut butter is a great source of fiber, vitamins and some minerals (like potassium! Whodda thought?).
…And now half empty
Peanut butter’s negatives seem to outweigh its. According to the Harvard Health Letter, peanut butter can increase harmful LDL, causes artery-clogging atherosclerosis and can make a person put on some major weight when too much is consumed. Keep in mind that reduced fat peanut butter isn’t much better. Just because there is less fat in reduced fat peanut butter simply means it’s filled with imitation fillers that could be just as bad.
What’s the alternative?
- Nuts: Go nuts on nuts! Many diets include nuts because they make you feel fuller with just a small amount. Some studies even prove that eating nuts raises metabolism—so get snacking!
- Natural peanut butter: Without all the sodium, peanut butter is even better for you. Natural peanut butter does not contain as much sugar, salt and hydrogenated fats. Many Hitch Fit clients also eat other natural nut butters such as almond butter and cashew butter. It’s delicious and nutritious!
- Eat peanut butter, but pair it healthily: Eating peanut butter on white bread certainly won’t help you lose weight. Neither will eating peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cups or loaded peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If you have to eat peanut butter, try eating it with celery, apples or mixed in with oatmeal.