Is peanut butter healthy? Or should you only eat it in moderation?
Answer to this question is here below in the article. Peanut butter is convenient, filling, high in protein and fat, and popular. In fact, the average American eats around four pounds of peanut butter every year. But just like any food, there are pros and cons to peanut butter that you should know about before you make it a staple in your diet.
Here’s a look at the positive and negative aspects of peanut butter, what to consider when you’re reading a peanut butter label, and a few good-quality peanut butter alternatives that you may want to use if you’re allergic or sensitive to peanuts.
What is Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is relatively unprocessed food.
The major source of fat in peanut butter is oleic acid and it helps to maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Its just peanuts, often roasted, that are grinded until they turn into a paste.
But, this doesn’t apply to many commercial brands of peanut butter that contain variety of added ingredients, such as sugar, vegetable oils, and even trans fat.
Eating too much added sugar and trans fat has been linked to various health issues, such as heart disease. Rather going for junk food, choose real peanut butter. It should contain nothing but peanuts and maybe a bit of salt.
Nutritional Profile of Peanut Butter-
According to the USDA, each two-tablespoon serving of creamy peanut butter has:
- Calories- 190
- Saturated Fat- 3.5g
- Monounsaturated Fat – 8.3g
- Polyunsaturated Fat- 4g
- Carbs – 7g
- Fiber- 2g
- Protein – 7g
- Peanut butter includes about 25% protein, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. However, its low in essential amino acid methionine.
- As it is low in carb, and suitable for people with type 2 diabetes or those following a low-carb diet.
- Pure peanut butter is a good source of healthy fats. While some people have been worried about its omega-6 linoleic acid content, limited evidence justifies their concerns.
- Peanut butter is high in various healthy vitamins and minerals.
- Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, including p-coumarin and resveratrol. These plant compounds provide various health benefits to animals.
Glycemic Index Of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a popular spread made from ground peanuts that are high in protein and healthy fats. It is often consumed as a snack or used as a spread on bread, crackers, or fruit.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how quickly they are absorbed and converted into glucose, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar.
Peanut butter has a glycemic index of 14, which is considered very low. This means that it has a relatively slow effect on blood sugar levels compared to other carbohydrates. Foods with a GI value of 70 or higher are considered high, while those with a GI value of 56 to 69 are considered medium, and those with a GI value of 55 or lower are considered low.
It is important to note that the glycemic index is only one factor to consider when assessing the effect of food on blood sugar levels. Other factors, such as the type and amount of carbohydrates, the presence of other nutrients, and the overall calorie content of the food, can also affect blood sugar levels.
In general, low GI foods are absorbed more slowly and may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their weight. However, it is important to remember that the glycemic index is not the only factor to consider when making food choices and that a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods is important for overall health.
In conclusion, peanut butter has a very low glycemic index and may have a slow effect on blood sugar levels. However, it is important to consider the overall nutritional value of food and to maintain a balanced diet in order to support overall health.
Is Peanut Butter Good For you?
In many ways, peanut butter is quite healthy.
One serving of peanut butter has 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of net carbs, 16 grams of fat, and about 180 calories.
The healthiest peanut butter you can make from one ingredient: ground peanuts. However, a lot of commercial brands are made from ground peanuts, oil (often hydrogenated soybean or canola oil), salt, and either sugar or corn syrup.
The added sugar and oil in most of the peanut butters take away from their health factor, so if you’re going for peanut butter, your best bet is to get the natural stuff you can make and buy with just peanuts, or peanuts and salt.
Health Benefits of Peanut Butter-
- It helps in weight loss and keeps you full for a longer period.
- Peanut butter helps in increasing your heart health.
- Peanut butter helps in bodybuilding and gaining muscle.
- It helps in managing your blood sugar levels.
- It also reduces the risk of breast cancer.
As you can see, peanut butter has a number of health benefits. However, when it comes to purchasing peanut butter for yourself, it is crucial to understand that not all the peanut butters are created equally.
Concerns about Peanut Butter
- Peanut allergies Peanuts and other nuts are common allergens, with a peanut or tree nut allergy affecting over 3 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) those who have peanut allergy should avoid peanut butter and foods containing nuts. The NIH also notes that just 20 percent of those with an allergy will eventually outgrow the allergy and stop having reactions to nuts.
- Potential Source of Aflatoxins –The biggest toxin to watch out for is aflatoxin, a carcinogen produced by Aspergillus molds. Aflatoxin usually contaminates corn, peanuts, and grains that grow in humid conditions or they are in store improperly. Peanut butter may contain varying levels of aflatoxins, which are harmful compounds in a mold shape. It can lead to an increase in levels of risk of liver cancer.
- Commercial Peanut butter often has added sugar and contains hydrogenated oils – A lot of added sugar can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Natural peanut butter separates, leaving a layer of peanut oil at the top and the ground peanut at the bottom. A lot of companies make “no-stir” peanut butter that stays together and is especially smooth and creamy. While no-stir peanut butter is delicious, it’s the result of producers adding fully or partially hydrogenated oils (aka sources of trans fat) to make the peanut butter stay homogenous at room temperature. Hydrogenated oils are bad for your health.
Which Peanut Butter is best?
When selecting a peanut butter product, look for one that contains just peanuts and very less or no other ingredients.
Some peanut butter brands will contain other ingredients, such as sugar, salt, and added oils. Avoid these if possible. Try adding a little honey to peanut butter dishes as a sweetener instead.
It is usual for pure peanut butter to separate into solid and liquid form. Stir the contents thoroughly, and the consistency will return to normal. People can buy natural peanut butter from health & supplement stores or through online mood . To stop the peanut butter going off, store it in the refrigerator.
How to add Peanut Butter in your daily diet?
Be careful of your intake to avoid eating more calories than you require in a day. Remember 2 tbsp of peanut butter is close to 200 calories. People can include peanut butter in their diets by –
- Making a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, using the whole fruit, low sugar jelly, and whole-grain bread.
- Applying peanut butter on rice cakes and top with banana slices.
- Whipping up a Thai peanut dressing for salads, using lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey.
- Adding a spoon of the peanut butter to smoothies to make them more filling.
- Dipping apple and pear slices into peanut butter for an easy snack.
- Stirring peanut butter into yogurts or warm oatmeal.
Peanut butter can be a totally healthy option—especially if you choose a brand that has low sugar, sodium, and oil; watch your portion sizes, and use it in healthy foods and recipes. However, eating too much peanut butter can increase a person’s daily intake of saturated fat, sodium, and calories. But there are a few downsides to peanut butter, too: potential GMOs, vegetable oils, and sneaky ingredients like sugar and preservatives.
Those who have a peanut allergy should avoid peanut butter as it could trigger a deadly reaction.
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