Is peanut butter good or bad for a dietary point of view?
I've been eating a lot of peanut butter lately. I've been using it to help add some flavour and some protein to my fruit during my morning snack.
To me peanut butter seems really oily and fatty. So I wondered if perhaps I was doing my diet an disservice by adding it to my plate of chopped apple. Time to investigate.
First of all, let's look at the history of peanut butter.
Apparently it was first introduced by the South American Inca Indians who used to grind up peanuts into butter to create a tasty treat.
Then in about 1895 Dr Harvey Kellogg (creator of Kellogg's Cornflakes) thought his patients needed a protein substitute so created his own version of peanut butter. It was then commercially introduced to the world in 1904 at the St Louis World Fair and later became a staple dietary item for the American armed forces during World Wars I and II.
So is it good for us?
According to Prevention.com it's a healthy filling and can be a dieter's best friend. Although it has around 200 calories per serving it also has fibre and protein, both which fill you up and keep you satisfied for longer.
Apparently peanut butter is also packed with nutrition. It has the antioxidant vitamin E, as well as magnesium to build bones, potassium to nurture muscle and vitamin B6 to help boost immunity.
According to Prevention, research shows that eating peanuts can help decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
They refer to one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that two tablespoons of peanut butter at least five days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30%.
So what about that oily/fatty feeling we associate with peanut butter? Well it's a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which is one of the better fats for us (as far as fats go).
How does it compare to other nut butters?
According to Superfoodsrx.com most nut butters have a comparable calorie count. Almond butter, cashew butter, Hazelnut butter, peanut butter, soynut butter and sunflower nut butter all have between 180 and 190 calories per 2 tablespoon serve. Macadamia nut butter is much higher in calories at 230 per serve.
As far as fat content is concerned they all sit around 15-18 grams of fat (except for Macadamia which has 24 grams and sunflower nut butter which only has 12 grams).
Peanut butter comes in with a comparatively high protein count at around 8gms and the least sugar count at 1gm. Note: Soynut and Sunflower seed butters have a slightly higher protein count of 9gms but both have higher sugar at 3gms.
Peanut butter is middle of the road from a fibre point of view with 3gms and is mid-low as far as saturated fat is concerned at 2gms. If you want fibre then soynut and almond are the way to go.
When you put peanut butter next to the other nut butters we see that it stands up OK. It has a similar calorie count, a similar fat content and very little sugar compared to other nut butters. Apparently peanut butter is also high in selenium which is important to enzyme function.
The key to choosing what peanut butter to buy is to ensure it does not contain any added sugar.
And as with anything in life, moderation is key!
Do you eat peanut butter?
What special peanut butter treats do you create?
What other nut butters have you tried?