Peanut butter has lots of controversy surrounding it. Some people say it's bad for you, some people say it's good. What do you think? Here's the scientific lowdown on peanut butter.
Peanut Butter: The Good
- Great source of protein
100g of peanut butter contains 25g of protein, which meets 16% of your daily needs
- High in monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids are the good fats which help to lower your risk of contracting heart diseases
- Rich in vitamins
A 100g serving of peanut butter gives you quite a large percentage of vitamins E, B3 (Niacin), B6, folate, magnesium, copper and manganese, as well as B5, iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium.
- High in plant sterol and phytochemicals like antioxidants
These help to protect your heart. Experts recommend 3g of plant sterol/day to reduce cholesterol levels.
Peanut Butter: The Bad
- High in fats
2.5tbsp of peanut butter has the same fat content as one Snickers bar. 100g serving of peanut butter gives you a whopping 588 calories, and 50g of fat (of which 50% are monounsaturated – good, 30% polyunsaturated – also good, and 20% are saturated – bad), so be careful about consuming too much of it, else it would lead to weight gain.
- Your peanut butter is not real peanut butter
Traditionally, peanut butter should be made from just ground peanuts. That’s it. But take a look at the ingredients on your peanut butter label, what else is in there? Salt, corn syrup, dextrose, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and other nasty stuff that’s not good for your body.
- Could be a source of aflatoxins
Mould grows easily in nuts, especially when exposed to moist environments (which Malaysia happens to be). The aflatoxins formed in peanut butter are highly toxic and carcinogenic, and studies have linked it to liver cancer. However, there is still little known about the level of dietary exposure to aflatoxins necessary to affect health, especially in humans.
- Common allergen
Peanuts are one of the top 10 allergens that can induce rash in some people, and even death in some others.
How Much to Eat
Now that we’ve dealt with the pros and the cons of peanut butter, you’ll realise that the sticky brown stuff seems to dish out quite a lot of the good stuff, which is counteracted by the high calories and fat percentage.
In cases like these, moderation comes in handy. You can have your peanut butter, but be sure to measure your servings. A little now and then is definitely okay and probably even great for you, as long as you lick on only two tablespoons at a time (and not the entire jar).
Make Your Own
Also, maybe you should skip the highly processed peanut butters in the supermarket and go for some all natural homemade ones. Here’s a recipe if you’re feeling particularly adventurous in the kitchen today.
For the less culinary inclined? Fear not, there’s Nutty Lab, which makes their own all-natural nut butters (and delivers too!) Try the almond butter, it’s lower in fat than peanut butter and contains zero cholesterol but more calcium and fibre! Yay all around!
Can you live without peanut butter? Why and why not? Give us your reasons in the comments below or on our Facebook page!