Why I love peanut butter (and you should too!)
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? I do! So much so that years ago my mom doctored up this Baby Blues cartoon and sent it to me. She used to hide it when I went to visit. (Honestly? I think she still does but claims she just ran out of it.) Yes, I love it that much.
Peanut butter. It’s so, so good. And so good for you! In fact, it has a whole day devoted to it—there is a National Peanut Butter Day celebrated every January.
Shunned for years by people trying to manage weight, peanut butter can actually help in a weight management program. Unlike carbohydrates that are digested quickly, the fat and protein in it slow digestion giving the sense of fullness.
Have you ever eaten a plain bagel (pure refined carbs) yet start looking for something to eat an hour later? If instead, you ate just half the bagel with a nice smear of peanut butter, the sensation of hunger would not have returned nearly so quickly.
Look at the nutrition facts of creamy peanut butter…
Per 2-tablespoon serving:
- Calories: 190
- Protein: 7g
- Fat: 16g (sat fat 3g)
- Cholesterol: 0g (like all plant products, peanut butter is naturally cholesterol-free)
- Carbohydrates: 7g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugar: 3g
Similar to other nut butters, peanut butter has a high percentage of fat. However, nearly 75 percent are the heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats— and over 50 percent mono. Nice!
High-fat foods often come with high calories. However, those calories in peanut butter are paired with many nutrients—protein, magnesium, niacin, phosphorous, vitamin E, and fiber. And the best part is you will feel fuller longer because of the protein and fat.
So, is this nut butter healthy to eat? Yes, it is! However caution—too much of a healthy food can be unhealthy. Just remember that serving size matters, especially when it comes to food with heavy amounts of fats. (Check out this blog post Yes, you can overeat ‘good for you’ foods)
Buying peanut butter
Shopping tip: When buying peanut butter, there are a few things you should be careful of. Make sure the brand you buy does not have added sugar, partially hydrogenated oils or a high level of sodium. Natural peanut butter is the best way to go because it’s simply peanuts and a little bit of salt.
Watch the video and/or read the transcription on the importance of controlling portion sizes. Again, remember, too much of a healthy thing is not healthy.
I wanted to do this video because I wrote a blog about portions of foods that we might eat a little bit too much of, for example, peanut butter. And I wanted to show an example of what one tablespoon looked like versus two.
When eating peanut butter, it’s important to know when you eat a tablespoon, you should have a level tablespoon. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is about 190 calories. So this is an example of what one tablespoon of peanut butter looks like, smeared on a slice of bread. It’s a very very thin smear, as you can see. If you put it on a little bit thicker, that’s about two tablespoons.
So consider how much you put on a piece of bread and the difference between these is going to be nearly 100 calories. Think about how much you’re portioning onto the foods you’re eating, and consider your weight management program. If however, weight is not an issue, nothing to worry about.
Special thanks to Caitlin Marek for assistance with this blog including content and video transcription!
Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach
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