Whether you loved getting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in your lunchbox, or slathering PB on top of celery sticks for an after-school snack, you probably had your first encounter with peanut butter as a kid (after all, the average American kid eats 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating high school!) But does good ol’ PB still score a spot in a healthy adult diet?
Peanut butter, when made naturally, is just peanuts that are roasted and pureed into a spread. However, many commercial PBs in the store have added sugar and oils. You can tell if you’re buying natural peanut butter because the ingredients label will only list peanuts, and maybe a little bit of salt.
Brierley Horton, MS, RD says, “Peanut butter is a healthy and delicious choice to bulk up a snack or a sandwich, but it’s also one of those foods where you want to read the ingredient list. Some peanut butters can be a sneaky source of added sugars and sodium.”
peanut butter has quite a bit of fat. However, most of the fat in peanut butter comes from monounsaturated fat (the same kind of "good" fat that’s found in olive oil.) It’s important, however, to keep portion sizes in check because there’s also a bit of saturated fat, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease if eaten in large quantities.
Horton says, “Peanut butter mostly gets recognized for the fat, protein, and fiber content. While it gets a great grade for how it ranks in those departments, you should also know that peanut butter delivers other key nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, and folate.”
So even though PB has quite a bit of fat, Horton gives it a thumbs up for snacking on in moderation. She also notes that peanut butter also has quite a bit of plant-based protein, making it a good option for vegetarians and vegans.
Bottom line peanut butter can be a totally healthy option—especially if you choose a brand that’s lower in sugar, sodium, and oil; watch your portion sizes; and use it in healthy foods and recipes
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