At college my go to snack is is peanut butter. On my sandwich, in my oatmeal, or just a plain spoonful of peanut butter, it makes an appearance in at least 2 out of 3 of my meals a day. As a matter of fact, I am eating peanut butter and apples as I type this. Realizing what a large role peanut butter played in my diet, I began to question is this much peanut butter good for you?
Peanut butter has many benefits. Considered a “healthy fat,” peanut butter contains a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. One serving of peanut butter is considered 2 tablespoons adding up to 188 calories. This one serving of peanut butter is “heart-healthy,” containing about 8 grams of a monounsaturated fat that can decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health diseases. Selenium and vitamin B-3, also found in significant amounts in peanut butter, are good for energy production and fat metabolism.
Peanut butter contains around 8 grams of protein. It is a quick and tasty source of protein and when paired with milk or bread, the amount of amino acids are increased bumping up the protein intake to around 28 grams. The higher amounts of fiber and protein in peanut butter fill you up faster and keep you feeling full for longer. This is good for dieting when restricting your food intake because it won’t leave you hungry and looking for something else to eat.
All these benefits are convincing me that I should keep eating peanut butter all day every day. But the amount of calories raised a concern. Peanut butter has a pretty high calorie count. Two tablespoons equaling around 200 calories can easily take up about 10% of a persons’s daily calorie intake and begin to increase weight gain.
When I discovered the high number of calories in peanut butter, I wondered if every brand of peanut butter is the same. I found that there are so many brands that produce and sell peanut butter. Heres a fun article that I found ranking the top 36 peanut butters (my personal favorite peanut butter & co ranked at #12). Each peanut butter had around 180-200 calories, with the exceptions of a few types that had a different flavoring or an added mix of jelly in the jar. The nutrition facts vary for each brand of peanut butter. To create a different flavored peanut butter more sugars and carbohydrates are added. To make a low fat peanut butter, sugar or trans fat is added to make up for the cut out fat. And of course there are the organic peanut butter brands. Although those may have less of a particular ingredient, they have a higher susceptibility to toxic mold growth, fungus, and pesticides on their peanuts because it is less processed.
So is peanut butter good or bad for you? Based on the pros and cons that I found, I came to the conclusion that peanut butter is good for you in moderation. When choosing your peanut butter it is good to be aware of the nutrition facts and ingredients. It is each individuals choice what they decide they want to fill their body with and its important to know all the positive and negative aspects of a particular food or brand of food to make healthy choices regarding your daily diet.