Friday, June 25, 2010

What's Really In Your Peanut Butter

Who doesn't love peanut butter? Peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter cookies, and even peanut butter M & Ms... and just quietly, there is a Peanut Butter Pie at Billy's Bakery in New York City that if you are lucky enough to try is like sex on a plate... But of course you wouldn't eat those fattening things would you? Eating them would result in diet suicide and see your waistline balloon to epic proportions. They contain nothing more than bucket loads of sugar, tubs of saturated and trans fat, and enough artificial ingredients and preservatives to see your insides mummified and classified as national treasures next to Joan River's face. But what if I told you that those "healthy" tubs of peanut that you buy in the supermarket to put on your toast and throw in your protein shakes are just as bad as these peanut butter junk foods? Yes, that's right. Healthy Boy is here to show you they too contain those terrible ingredients that will not only cause you to pile on the pounds, but are detrimental to your health also.

We all think that peanut butter is healthy. Countless health and diet gurus and websites recommend a spoonful of it here and there as healthy low calorie snack in between meals, because peanuts are healthy and contain natural healthy fats. Well it would be healthy, if the peanuts were all that the food manufacturers put in their peanut butter. You see most people never turn the container over to actually see what the ingredients are, and if you did, you would be surprised what gets thrown in there. Lets take a look at the two popular supermarket brands available here in the United States and what is actually in them...







Recognize some of those ingredients? Yep, they also appeared the other day in my post about What's Really In A McDonalds Chicken Nugget. Here is what they are, why the food manufacturers put them in your peanut butter, and what they mean to you to you from a health perspective:

Sugar: Bet you thought the last thing you would find as the second ingredient in your favorite peanut butter is sugar. Yes the second largest component that makes up that container of peanut goodness is sugar and both Skippy and Jif have 3 grams of sugar per serving. That's close to a teaspoon. So for every two tablespoons of peanut butter you are ingesting, you are also throwing back close to a teaspoon of sugar. Why? Because our taste buds like sweetness and the food manufacturers want you coming back for more. Yes, I am the sugar nazi and rightfully so - it causes blood sugar and insulin spikes in your body once ingested which leads to countless health problems and increased weight gain. Sure, 3 grams isn't going to kill you, but it's the hidden sugars in foods like these that may be the reason why you are finding it hard to shed the pounds.

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils: Both companies include these nasty oils to make their peanut butters more solid and to stop the natural oils from separating. If you have ever bought natural peanut butter you will see that there is a small layer of oil on top which gets blended in once you give it a good stir. Consumers don't like the look of oil, even if it is natural, so Skippy and Jif add chemically altered cheap oil products to make sure it sticks all together. What's another name for hydrogenated oil? TRANS FAT! yes, even though their label says it contains no trans fat, it actually does, as the FDA allows small amounts in these products. It may be a small amount per serving, but a few servings and you could be eating a few grams of trans fat. Why are they bad for you? They cause heart disease and raise cholesterol levels, not to mention ensure you are not going to be fitting into your swimsuit by summer.

Mono and Diglycerides: Are another form of bad fat that Jiff throws into the mix specifically used as emulsifiers. Meaning they make the peanut a pleasant texture, for all those people who don't like the natural crunchy texture made when you mash up a tub of peanuts. They also increase the product's shelf life. Another synthetic oil added to your favorite brands that make them a completely unhealthy snack.

Salt: Too much salt is bad for you. Period. It coarses through your veins and arterial walls and basically shreds them to pieces leading to an array of degenerative diseases. From a fat loss perspective, salt causes your body to hold onto water, leaving you puffy and bloated and unable to shed those last few pounds from around your mid section. Truth is these products don't contain all that much, around 150mg per serving, but just like sugar, it could be these hidden milligrams in your foods that are causing you problems.

So what's a healthy peanut butter lover to do? Well thankfully there are some companies out there that care about your health and wellbeing and would never put those nasty ingredients into their peanut butter. They believe the best things in life are natural and should remain so, including our food. Here are a few brands that I believe are the best for you:

There are just two ingredients in Smucker's natural peanut butter. Peanuts and Salt. Perfection.

Laura Scudder's. Once again nothing added by peanuts and salt.

So if you are like me and cannot live without your peanut butter, but are trying to live a healthier life and shed a few pounds, take a minute to turn over the label of your favorite peanut butter and take a look at what's actually inside. Choose natural varieties that contain no sugars or artificial oils. Sure the layer of oil on top may seem unappealing, but it is natural oil from the peanuts and a good quick stir will leave you with healthy alternative to those processed varieties like Skippy and Jif.


Healthy Boy x


  1. Great post; this is why I only eat almond butter that I get at WholeFoods and grind it there. It's 100% almonds. They have peanuts as well but I prefer the almonds. I also like the fact that it's fresh and I keep it in the fridge and it doesn't go bad.

    Love your blog by the way!!

  2. Adam, you scared me with this peanut butter post. I ♥LOVE♥ peanut butter - Especially with a banana. I was glad to learn that you approve of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. It's been my choice for years. ~Marilyn

  3. With natural peanut butter I will sometimes pour out the oil instead of mixing it in. Its a good way to cut out some of the calories and although it makes the peanut butter a bit dryer it is still peanuty goodness.

  4. Great article - I don't eat much peanut butter, but my family does. I make my own. All you need is raw unsalted peanuts and a Vitamix.

  5. Awesome Post! I'm glad someone finally spoke on the peanut butter. I love peanut butter but try to avoid the regular brands. I now buy my own whole roasted peanuts and make my own peanut butter at home :).

  6. There's yet another way of keeping away from peanut butter: price it at about $5 per 250g, as is done in Germany!

    But -- relax! People here have ample opportunity for other questionable fats and sweeteners!

  7. I make my own. 1 1/4 cups of unsalted peanuts or salted roasted peanuts (but you really do not have to add salt if already salted) and to my taste I add sprinkles of sea salt or preferably none at all. Organic price about 2.00 for a pound. Cheaper than buying a container of peanut butter and safer than thinking it's real peanut butter you are eating. Never trust big brands like Smucker's too much money they'll never care what you're eating.

  8. Even natural peanut butter is not healthy. Its an allergen, contains traces of myotoxin, and has to much omega-6 fat.

  9. After moving back to Kentucky from Florida (miss my Publix terribly!), I found fresh-ground peanut butter hard to find. Am now ordering it from Kaufmann's Fruit Farm in Pennsylvania, and it is delicious, nothing in it but peanuts, to which I add a little salt. Highly recommend this very friendly site.

  10. glad u approve of smuckers natural. just peanuts & salt, all goodness. :)


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