With 14 grams of fat per ounce, many dieters steer clear of peanut butter. Is peanut butter healthy? Eleven of those fat grams are unsaturated. This “good fat” can actually reduce cholesterol! Peanut Butter also has protein and fiber, as well as Vitamin E, Niacin and Folate.
Moderation in all things
The best way to enjoy peanut butter is in small doses. Two tablespoons (one ounce) a day is a generous helping on a piece of bread or smeared into celery stalks. More than that and the protein and fiber aren't worth the calories and fat. After two tablespoons, move on to hummus.
NOT ALL PEANUT BUTTER IS CREATED EQUAL
Is peanut butter healthy? Depends on which jar you buy! Be choosy about the peanut butter you purchase. The best peanut butter ingredient labels are strikingly simple, such as: “Contains: dry roasted peanuts”. Most shelf peanut butters have sweeteners added. We eat enough sugar without slipping it into the peanut butter. If you like a sweet taste with your nutty goodness, add your own in the form of a no sugar added fruit preserve or honey. (My dad used to layer thin slices of banana on peanut butter sandwiches. Yum!) High fructose corn syrup costs less than natural sweeteners and so manufacturers prefer it. Read labels to find an unsweetened peanut butter, then sweeten sparingly yourself with a less refined sugar.
Why do some peanut butters have added oils? They will spread more easily, and possibly be able to be kept out of the fridge… but you paid for Peanut Butter! Adding cheap palm kernel oil lowers costs. No thanks. I’ll refrigerate my peanut butter and pass on the oil. Yes. I have to stir it when I first open it. It’s a small price to pay for reduced additives and preservatives. It took me many tries to find a peanut butter that contained nothing but peanuts and would spread straight from the fridge, but it was worth the research.
You can also make your own peanut butter! I have a Magic Bullet that turns any nut into butter in seconds. Unfortunately, I have had trouble keeping nuts around to make such butters, but the option is there nonetheless.
Alton Brown educates us on the nutrition of peanut butter on Good Eats
Are Peanuts Healthy?
Peanuts are great for snacking, and can be a quick source for protein and fiber. Peanuts contain a lot of fat, so "moderation" is your mantra. Grab a handful - only a handful. As with all snacks, measure before you begin to eat. If you crave more, grab something else like baby carrots or grapes. As with peanut butter, not all nuts are manufactured equal! If you would like a healthy, natural snack, "honey roasted" does not fit the bill! Often, it is not honey at all, but corn syrup and sugar, coating your nuts.