Is Eating Peanut Butter Actually Good for You?
Peanut butter is among an elite group of foods that is loved by both adult and child alike. If you are feeding your kid peanut butter, chances are you are going to grab some for yourself too. I’m guilty of always licking the knife clean after I spread a good portion on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Eating peanut butter is something anyone without a peanut butter allergy can enjoy. Is eating peanut butter good for you though? Should you actually be feeding peanut butter to your kids? There are a lot of factors to consider, so let’s dig in.
What Is Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food. Rather, it can be a very unprocessed food if you are a careful buyer. The best peanut butters contain only natural, (often roasted) peanuts and salt. Those simple ingredients comprise peanut butter. If you buy some brands, however, you will be getting a whole bunch of added sugar, oils, and trans fats. If you are eating peanut butter with all the added junk, please just stop. Eating added sugars and trans fat is so bad for your heart and has been linked to heart disease. Choose to eat peanut butter that is natural or organic. For all purposes, eating a natural peanut butter will give you all the added benefits of just eating peanuts. It is, after all, mostly just ground up peanuts.
Benefits of Eating Peanut Butter
Eating peanut butter, while tasting delicious, also adds a good amount of health benefits to your diet that you may not be aware of. Much of the composition of a peanut is protein (15%) and carbohydrates (13%). The rest is made up of fat. But don’t let that 72% of fat deter you from eating peanut butter, because not all fat is the same. Some of the benefits of the fats really outweigh the negative aspects of it. Here is why.
You Will Not Be As Hungry
It is proven that the monounsaturated fats and proteins in peanut butter really curb appetite. Putting a healthy serving of peanut butter on your toast or some fruit in the morning can really help you stave off the munchies till lunch. I like to put peanut butter into a smoothie for a quick morning meal. Just don’t put too much or you may unbalance your breakfast. Check the serving size on your peanut butter jar to see if you are eating peanut butter in proper amounts.
Low Rise in Blood Sugar
Because the carbohydrate content of peanut butter is so low, it only causes a very low rise in your blood sugar levels. Because of this, eating peanut butter can be great for those with type 2 diabetes. It can also be a great food for those who are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Some of these benefits are attributed to the antioxidants and healthy acids and fats in the peanut butter.
It Will Boost Your Energy
Protein, fiber, and fat are all decently high in peanut butter. Because your blood sugar doesn’t raise that much either, it helps prevent the crash that overly sugary products, (such as energy drinks) give you. Eating peanut butter is a great way to get a little pick me up when you start to drag. I like to take peanut butter with me on the go, then when I start to hit that afternoon lull, I eat it. It tastes great and serves as a great energy boost that doesn’t burn me out.
Great for Losing Weight
Okay, so peanut butter isn’t the lowest calorie food. However, eating peanut butter on your diet isn’t a bad thing. There is a lot of protein in peanut butter, and it often contains less sugar and calories than a protein shake. Peanut butter also keeps you fuller longer. That means less urges that you might give in to and fewer calories throughout the day. Also, eating a healthy amount of natural and organic foods that nourish you lets your body know that you are healthy. Your metabolism can rise, and your body can feel comfortable burning off some of your fat stores. Eating peanut butter is one of the ways to send that signal to your body.
Prevent a Peanut Allergy
If you are a pregnant mom, eating peanut butter may prevent a peanut allergy. There is no chance that eating these allergic foods are going to damage your fetus. But exposing him or her to these foods may help them not develop that allergy. A recent study actually showed that eating peanut butter and other nuts reduced the risk of having a baby with a nut allergy significantly. Along with all the other benefits outlined, eating peanut butter while pregnant seems like the ideal snack.
Downsides to Eating Peanut Butter
Not everything about peanut butter is great. I really wish it was because it is a staple snack time food in my house. There are actually some downsides to peanut butter, (just like any other food) if you don’t do it right. Hopefully outlining some of the negatives of peanut butter will help you avoid the things you should not do when eating peanut butter.
You Can Gain Weight
I know I said peanut butter is a good diet food. The key to making it a good diet food is making sure you watch how much you eat, and what you eat it with. When you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how much peanut butter do you spread onto the bread? Likely, it is multiple servings. It is usually paired with an extremely sugary jam or jelly as well. To top it off, it’s on a high carb piece of white bread. Eating peanut butter on foods that are already not good for you just make them worse, and it can negate some of the best benefits peanut butter can give.
Buying the wrong type of peanut butter can cause weight gain. Many of the processed peanut butters contain unhealthy additions such as partially hydrogenated oils, which are really just trans fats. These clog your arteries and are extremely unhealthy. Reduced fat peanut butters will often add more sugar, which is worse for you than the natural fats.
Risk of Inflammation
Eating peanut butter adds omega 6 fats, which is a fat that adds to the amount of inflammation in the body. Usually, omega 3 fats are there to counteract the inflammation, but peanut butter doesn’t have any. This can be easily counteracted with an omega 3 supplement or by eating fish in your diet.
If you are not eating an organically certified peanut product, you may be at a risk of consuming pesticides. Peanuts have a really thin shell. If a farmer applies a gross amount of pesticide, it could get onto your peanuts. Pesticides are not a joke and can cause serious issues to your health. Especially in men, it has been linked to infertility and birth defects. Switching to an organic certified peanut butter will eliminate that risk altogether.
When it comes to eating peanut butter, I would say do it. There are so many benefits to eating peanut butter that you can take advantage of. Just keep in mind the limitations it has. Don’t consume too much. Try to eat peanut butter with other healthy foods. Apples, celery, and healthy shakes are great ways to get peanut butter into your diet. Make sure to eat organic or all-natural peanut butters. Do not settle for processed peanut butter with added sugar. If you follow those basic steps, eating peanut butter can be a great thing for you and your family.
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