Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts

Calories in Peanut Butter and Its Health Benefits

is peanut butter good for you
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Is peanut butter good for your diet if you're trying to slim down or improve your health? If you read the advice of some diet experts or the headlines of some trendy tabloids, you might believe that peanut butter has magical powers to whittle your waist and curb your cravings. But you should balance the benefits of peanut butter with common sense. If you eat too much peanut butter, your diet might be in trouble.

Nutrition Facts

Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 tablespoons (32 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 190 
Calories from Fat 144 
Total Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2.5g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6g 
Monounsaturated Fat 6.6g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 140mg6%
Potassium 189mg5%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Sugars 3g 
Protein 7g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% · Iron 22%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Healthy eaters should be aware of the high fat and calorie content of peanut butter. While this low carb food is high in protein and provides some fiber, dieters should be especially careful when they enjoy the creamy or crunchy treat.

Peanut butter is one of the higher calorie spreads you can put on a sandwich. Peanut butter contains about 190 calories and 16 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving. There is very little variation in the calorie count, the grams of sugar, and the fat content of different peanut butter brands.

Reduced fat peanut butter contains about the same number of calories but provides slightly less fat. And brands that are labeled "natural" aren't necessarily lower in calories.

  • Jif Peanut Butter (Creamy, Regular or Extra Crunchy): 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread (Creamy or Crunchy): 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread and Honey: 190 calories, 15 grams fat, 5 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Simply Jif Creamy Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Jif Reduced Fat Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 12 grams fat, 4 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Jif Omega-3 Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Skippy Roasted Honey Nut Peanut Butter: 200 calories, 16 grams fat, 3 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Skippy Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter: 180 calories, 12 grams fat, 4 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Natural Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 1 grams sugar, 8 grams protein
  • Justin's Classic Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 16 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 8 grams protein
  • Smuckers Natural Reduced Fat Peanut Butter: 190 calories, 12 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 8 grams protein

And speaking of serving size, when is the last time you measured the amount of peanut butter that you spread on your bread?  How often do you lick the spoon or even dip it back in the jar for an extra treat?  Peanut butter is one of those foods that we love to nibble.

 But because of the high calorie and fat content, those extra licks could total an entire meal’s worth of calories.

Calories in a PB and J

So what happens when you combine peanut butter with the most popular ingredients for a meal or a snack? The calories in peanut butter and jelly sandwich can vary depending on the type of bread and jam that you use, but if you make a typical PB &J with two slices of Wonder Bread, one tablespoon of Smucker's Grape Jelly, and two tablespoons of peanut butter, the snack would provide about 380 calories.

Other popular combinations include:

  • Peanut butter and 1/2 apple: 240 calories
  • Peanut butter and 5 saltines: 250 calories

Health Benefits

Some experts say that peanut butter is good for you because clinical studies have shown that people who eat nuts or peanuts have better heart health. Researchers have found that some people who consume nuts and peanuts in moderation have a decreased risk of heart disease. But when you eat peanut butter, you eat more than just peanuts.

Most commercial brands of peanut butter include added sugar and hydrogenated oils.  Many natural and organic varieties may add sweeteners and additional oils to get the creamy texture that most of us enjoy. So even though you consume heart-healthy peanuts when you eat peanut butter, it is possible that you’re also adding foods to your diet that aren’t necessarily good for you.

Peanut Butter and Nut Allergies

If you have certain nut allergies, choosing safe foods can be confusing. For example, if you have a tree nut allergy can you eat peanut butter? The Peanut Institute explains that peanuts are not nuts, even though "nut" is part of their name. Peanuts are legumes and they grow underground, unlike nuts that grow on trees.

People with peanut allergies should avoid peanut butter. But Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) also cautions people with nut allergies to avoid peanuts as well "because of the higher likelihood of cross-contact with tree nuts during manufacturing and processing."

Will It Help Me Lose Weight?

Eating foods that are high in fat and calories is usually not a smart weight loss option. So is eating peanut butter really bad for your diet?  If calories were the only issue, then the answer would be yes. But satiety is important too.  Satiety is fancy word for the feeling of fullness and satisfaction we get after eating food. If we feel satiated, we are less likely to overeat.  And most of us like the satiety that peanut butter provides.

But research into the benefits of satiety from peanut butter isn’t conclusive.  Some studies suggest that eating peanut butter improves satiety and helps eaters curb cravings in the hours after eating.  But many of the studies are limited in scope and don’t always include people who are trying to lose weight. 

The Bottom Line: Is Peanut Butter Good for You?

If eating a small amount of peanut butter helps you to feel full, curb cravings and eat less throughout the day, then eat it!  The protein in peanut butter will help you maintain muscle as well.  But if you are struggling to slim down and peanut butter is on your daily menu, then you may want to dump it and choose other sources of lean protein

Remember, if you want to lose weight, negative energy balance matters most in the end. There are no magical superfoods that can help you slim down without making adjustments to your calorie intake and your caloric expenditure.  Peanut butter is no exception.  If you like nuts, and you want to reap their heart-healthy benefits, eat a single serving of almonds.  The calorie count is slightly lower and won’t consume added trans fat or sugar.

Peanut Butter Recipes

Sources:

Schouten LJ, vanden Brandt PA. Relationship of tree nut, peanut and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: A cohort study and meta-analysisInternational Journal of Epidemiology. June 2015:39. doi:10.1093/ije/dyv039. 

Taliun D, Fotolia. Nuts and peanuts -- but not peanut butter -- linked to lower mortality rates, study finds. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150610190920.htm

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