Is Peanut Butter Good for You?

Find out if peanut butter is good for your healthy diet

is peanut butter good for you
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Is peanut butter good for you if you're trying to lose weight 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.

Peanut Butter for Heart Health

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

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 nuts when you eat peanut butter, you’re also adding foods to your diet that aren’t necessarily good for you. 

Peanut Butter Calories and Fat

In addition to the concern over added sugar and oils, healthy eaters should be aware of the high fat and calorie content of peanut butter. Dieters should be especially careful.

Peanut butter is one of the highest calorie spreads you can put on a sandwich. Although there is some variation between brands, peanut butter contains about 190 calories and 16 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving.

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.

Peanut Butter Benefits

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.

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