Ah, peanut butter. It’s everyone’s favourite treat.
After all, it’s 100% good for you, packed with protein, and the perfect snack for any healthy dieter…right? Well, that’s sometimes true. The reality is that not all peanut butter is created equally, and sometimes it’s simply not as healthy as you think. So let’s cut the fact from the fiction and find out exactly how you can pick the right peanut butter – and consume it in the right way. No longer shall you be lied to by shady peanut butter producers! Let’s get cracking.
A spread or a butter? Or perhaps neither?
One of the biggest smoke-and-mirror factors about peanut butter is the fact that most of the stuff you find at the supermarket isn’t really peanut butter. Seriously. Much of the time what looks to be peanut butter is actually peanut spread – which is something slightly different. Generally speaking, a spread doesn’t have any requirements in terms of peanut content, so they’re often padded with other more unhealthy things like saturated fat and sugar. A pure peanut butter will almost always be close to 100% peanut with a couple of preservatives where necessary.
Watch out for hidden sugar
As we’ve just learned, sugar can sometimes sneak its way into peanut spreads, but it can also be added to peanut butter too. A good rule of thumb is to check the label for sugar content – if it’s over 1 or 2 grams, there’s a good chance it has added sugar for taste. And if you’re trying to maximise the health benefits of this stuff, sugar is a real no-no! But how healthy is peanut butter really? Could the so-called super-food benefits be another area where health pundits are telling porkies?
The not-so-super food
When you first embark on a healthy diet or a regime of bulking up, you’ll often find peanut butter heralded as a superfood. This is usually because it contains (on average) 5 grams of protein per tablespoon serving. Sounds great, right? Time to get loaded on peanut butter! But wait… there is some other stuff too – and it’s not so good for you. Along with that 5 grams of protein, one tablespoon of peanut butter will also give you a whopping 100 calories as well as about 8 grams of fat. Total up just a few spoonfuls of peanut butter per day and you could be adding serious calorie numbers to your daily intake. Not looking so healthy now, is it?
The bottom line
The reality is that peanut butter isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be in the media. On balance however, it’s better for you than many other snack foods, especially if you get the organic and 100% peanut stuff (or as close to as possible). So if you really need to snack (and who doesn’t?), the odd peanut butter sandwich won’t hurt too much. Just don’t assume that it’ll turn you into a beefcake in just a few spoonfuls.
What do you think about peanut butter? Superfood or big fat lie? Let us know in the comments below or via Facebook and Twitter!