Is Peanut Butter Healthy?

Is Peanut Butter Healthy?

Peanut butter is a household staple in the typical American diet. It is most commonly used on bread, fruit, vegetables, and crackers as a convenient and “healthy” spread. However, is peanut butter actually healthy? The short answer is yes, with shades of grey.

Important Things to Consider

1. NEVER buy peanut butter with fully or partially hydrogenated oils. This “ingredient” is in about 90% of commonly consumed peanut butters and is an immediate red flag that should be avoided.

2. There should never be more than 2 ingredients in your product. Peanuts and salt (preferably no salt added is the best option). Look for products with one ingredient, peanuts.  If no products have just one ingredient than opt for the product with 2 ingredients, peanuts and salt.

3. Always buy natural peanut butter with the oil on top. Yes, it is a little bit inconvenient to stir, but this is peanut butter in its natural/unprocessed state.

4. Dont be duped by marketing slogans such as “reduced fat” or “smart balance”. The only thing you should be looking at is the ingredient list.

5. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.

6. Peanut butter is full of vitamins, minerals, and potassium and a great source of protein and calories. With that being said, if you are watching your total calorie intake keep in mind 1 serving of peanut butter (2 tbsp) has ~200 calories.

7. According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, people who eat a diet high in foods like olive oil, avocados, and peanut butter are more likely to lose weight and keep it off than people following a more regimented, lower-fat diet.

Which Products To Avoid

Any peanut butter with more than 2 ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.

What To Choose

Natural Peanut Butters With Oil On Top And Contains Less Than 2 Ingredients

Notice the ingredients.  Peanuts… That’s it!

or

Natural, Raw, Almond Butter

  • The same principle applies to almond butter. Look for products where the ingredients listed are just almonds. Any unnecessary oils, sugars, or salts, should tell you to avoid that particular product which has gone through more processing with artificial additives to increase taste and shelf life.

Conclusion

Yes peanut butter is healthy. I use natural peanut and almond butter on broccoli, celery, half an apple, or half a banana.  Peanut butter paired with a fruit or vegetable can make for a great snack or side dish. Where people start to run into trouble is when they start mixing peanut butter with sugary jams and processed bread. 99% of Jam is fake/artificial sugar and when you couple that with 25-45 grams of processed carbohydrates from bread the once “healthy” peanut butter it can be transformed into a sugar and carb loaded nightmare. But to answer the question of the article,YES, 1 serving of natural peanut butter or almond butter is healthy as long as you are mixing it with the right foods.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

The Truth About Fruit

The Truth About Fruit

Fruits are a summer staple and excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whether it’s the antioxidants from berries, the cold preventing properties of citrus fruits, or the hydration benefits of water based fruits like watermelon, each fruit has a unique set of benefits. The recommended daily amount of fruit  is dependent on total calorie intake but can lie anywhere between 3 and 7 servings. Here is an example of what you would be looking at to meet these requirements.

  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz.) 100% fruit juice
  • 1 medium fruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
Now Comes The Point Of This Article
With summer right around the corner, people start to become more concerned with their body image and composition. Being cognizant of  foods you are putting in your body is essential to a lean physique. Fruits are no exception. Believe it or not, too much fruit or the wrong fruits can lead to increased body fat due to an excess amount of sugar ( in the form of fructose and glucose). Especially for those that aren’t as active as they should be, (you know who you are) limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake is important to keeping body fat off.
What To Eat

Choose 3-4 low carb fruit servings
  • Berries– Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are a staple in my diet. They are loaded with antioxidants, provide a great source of fiber, have a low glycemic value, and taste great. Add 1/2 cup to your oatmeal or breakfast in the morning (1/2 cup)
  1. Calories- 42
  2. Carbs- 12 g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sugar-8g
  • Grapefruit– Grapefruits  have high amounts of water content which helps boost metabolism as well as containing numerous antioxidants. Grapefruits have a low glycemic value and contain soluble fiber which will help fill you up while being low in calories. (1/2 medium grapefruit)
  1. Calories- 40
  2. Carbs- 9g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sugar-5g
  • Watermelon– One of the main health benefits of watermelon is its status as a powerful antioxidant, found in vitamins A and C. Watermelons are moderately high in sugar with a glycemic value of 72, but small amounts, especially after a workout can be part of a healthy diet.  (1 wedge- approximately 1/16 of the watermelon)
  1. Calories- 86
  2. Carbs- 22g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 2 g
  5. Sugar-18g
  • Kiwi– Kiwifruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, as one large kiwifruit contains about as much vitamin C as 6 oz of orange juice. They are also a very good source of vitamin K, and a good source of potassium and copper. (1 medium sized fruit)
  1. Calories- 46
  2. Carbs- 11 g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sugar-7 g
When To Eat Fruit
  • In the mornings-A low glycemic fruit in the morning before breakfast will kick-start your day with powerful antioxidants and soluble fiber that will keep you feeling full. The sugar in the fruit will be burned off throughout your daily activities and workout as well. NOT AT NIGHT.  A midnight snack is OK but don’t reach for the fruit and think it’s a healthy choice. Fruit digests out of the stomach in 20-30 minutes. If fruit is consumed at night, it will sit on top of the slower digesting foods and cause indigestion/excess fat storage.
  • Before a workout– A simple carb (fruit) 30-60 minutes before a workout  will be converted into glucose and used by the body as energy during your workout.
  • After a workout– A simple carbohydrate within  30 minutes after your workout will help restore glycogen levels and raise insulin levels which will help  muscle growth. This is the only time of the day when a high glycemic fruit is acceptable such as a ripe banana or a dried apricot. Make sure you don’t overdo it on portion size and try to pair the simple carb with a protein source for an optimal recovery source.
Have an orange. Not orange juice

Fruits are essential to a well-balanced diet. Like all food, moderation is key. Whenever possible, stay away from fruit juices as most contain artificial sweeteners and loads of added sugars. Fruits like apples, bananas, and dried fruits have high amounts of sugars and carbohydrates and should be timed appropriately around your workout. Eat fruits that you will give you the most bang for your buck. Things like berries, which are loaded with antioxidants but relatively low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars will help contribute to an optimal diet and ideal body composition.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin