Peanut butter is one of the most popular spreads in the world. Spread is an oil product that is half or more vegetable fats. In this case, it is peanuts.
Many people like peanut butter for its amazing taste and soft texture, as well as for the way peanut butter originally sticks to the sky in the mouth before it melts. At least gourmets describe the taste of eating peanut butter in this way.
Peanut butter came to Russia and the CIS countries not so long ago. This product was and remains more popular in the countries of the West and the USA. Of course, not everyone can enjoy peanuts and products containing it. Peanuts are the strongest allergen for a small percentage of the population and their use can even cause a person to die.
But for the remaining 99% of people, peanut butter can be a very interesting product. So, peanut butter – good and bad? Let’s get it right.
What is Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food. Basically, it’s just peanuts, often fried, that are crushed until they turn into a paste.
However, many commercial brands of peanut butter are different from what is meant by peanut butter in the classic sense. To improve palatability and extend the shelf life of the product, manufacturers often add various added ingredients to peanut butter, such as sugar, vegetable oils, and even trans fats.
And consuming too much sugar and trans fats is associated with various health problems, such as heart disease. So instead of buying junk food, choose real peanut butter. It should contain only peanuts and maybe a little salt.
All the beneficial properties of peanut butter are similar to those of peanuts – peanuts, which are also popular all over the world.
Peanut butter is a peanut that is heavily chopped and ground into a paste. Many lower quality foods also contain added sugar and vegetable oils.
The benefits of peanut butter
We highlight the scientifically proven beneficial properties of peanut butter.
1. Peanut Butter – A Good Source of Protein
Peanut butter is a fairly balanced source of energy that supplies all three types of macronutrients.
100 g peanut butter contains:
Carbohydrates : 20 gr. (13% of calories), 6 grams of which are fiber.
Protein : 25 gr. (15% of calories), which is quite a lot compared to most other plant foods.
Fats : 50 grams, which is about 72% of calories.
Despite the fact that peanut butter is rich in protein, it has a low methionine content in amino acids.
Peanuts belong to the group of legumes, which also includes beans, peas and lentils . Plant protein contains far fewer important amino acids, methionine and cysteine, compared to animal protein. Therefore, for those who consume only peanut butter or legumes as the main source of protein, a lack of methionine can be a real health risk.
On the other hand, low methionine intake is also thought to have some health benefits. Studies in mice have shown that this can increase life expectancy, but it is unclear whether this applies to humans ( 1 ).
Peanut butter is made up of approximately 25% protein, making it an excellent plant source of protein. However, there are very few amino acids important for the body – especially the indispensable methionine.
2. Low carbohydrates
Pure peanut butter contains only 20% carbohydrates, which makes it suitable for a low carbohydrate diet.
Peanut butter also does not cause blood sugar spikes and is ideal for people with type 2 diabetes.
One study found that women who consumed peanut butter 5 times a week or more had a 21% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes ( 2 ).
These benefits are partly due to oleic acid, one of the main fats in peanuts. Antioxidants can also play a role.
Peanuts are low in carbohydrates and are suitable for people with type 2 diabetes or those who are on a low carbohydrate diet.
3. There are a lot of healthy fats in peanut butter
Since peanut butter is very rich in fats, it is accordingly very high in calories. 100 grams of peanut butter contains 588 calories. But despite being high in calories, eating moderate amounts of pure peanut butter or whole peanuts is great for weight loss diets.
Half of the fat in peanut butter is made up of oleic acid, a healthy type of monounsaturated fat that is also found in large quantities in olive oil .
Oleic acid has several health benefits, such as increased sensitivity to insulin.
Peanut butter also contains linoleic acid, the main omega-6 fatty acid found in most vegetable oils. However, some studies show that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 can increase inflammation and the risk of chronic disease ( 3 ). However, not all scientists are convinced of this. Better studies show that linoleic acid does not increase the level of inflammatory markers in the blood, casting doubt on this theory ( 4 ).
Pure peanut butter is a good source of healthy fats. While some people are worried about the omega-6 linoleic acid content, limited data refute their concerns.
4. Peanut butter is very rich in vitamins and minerals.
Peanut butter is quite nutritious.
100 grams of peanut butter contains many vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin E : 45% of the daily norm
Vitamin B3 (niacin) : 67% of the daily norm
Vitamin B6 : 27% of the daily norm
Folate : 18% of the daily norm
Magnesium : 39% of the daily norm
Copper : 24% of the daily norm
Manganese : 73% of the daily norm
It is also rich in biotin and contains a decent amount of vitamin B5, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium.
However, keep in mind that all these data are characteristic for a volume of 100 grams, which in addition to nutrients, has a total of 588 calories. Therefore, if you want to eat something as healthy, it is better to pay attention to broccoli or spinach – they contain a similar amount of nutrients and they have significantly fewer calories.
Although peanut oil is high in healthy vitamins and minerals, it also contains a significant amount of calories.
5. There are a lot of antioxidants in peanut butter
Like most plant foods, peanut butter contains more than just the essential vitamins and minerals.
It also contains many other biologically active nutrients that may be good for your health.
Peanut butter is quite rich in antioxidants, such as p-coumaric acid, which, as shown by studies on rats, can reduce arthritis ( 5 ).
It also contains some resveratrol, which lowers the risks of developing heart disease and other chronic diseases. Resveratrol has many other potential benefits, although human studies are still limited.
Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, including p-coumarin and resveratrol. These plant compounds are associated with various health benefits.
Peanut Butter Harm
Not only good, but also peanut butter can bring harm to the body.
Peanut Butter is a Potential Source of Aflatoxins
Despite the fact that peanut butter is quite nutritious, it can also contain substances that can be harmful. First of all, this applies to aflatoxins.
Peanuts grow underground, where they are usually colonized by the ubiquitous mold of Aspergillus. This form is a source of aflatoxins, which are highly carcinogenic. While people are quite resistant to the short-term effects of aflatoxins, what happens in the long term and may have delayed effects is not yet fully known.
Some human studies have found that exposure to aflatoxin causes liver cancer, developmental delay, and mental retardation in children ( 6 ). But there is good news. According to one source, treating peanuts in peanut butter reduces aflatoxins by 89% ( 7 ).
In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (most peanut butter is produced in the states) controls the amount of aflatoxins in foods and makes sure they meet recommended limits.
Peanut butter may contain various levels of aflatoxins, which are toxic compounds formed by Aspergillus mold type. They are associated with an increased risk of developing liver cancer.
Peanut butter has many benefits, but there is also some harm. Summarize:
- Peanut butter is rich in nutrients and is a decent source of protein. It also contains fiber, vitamins and minerals, although this does not seem to be such a significant advantage, given the high calorie content of this product.
- Peanut butter, on the other hand, is a potential source of aflatoxins, which are ultimately associated with harmful effects on the body.
- Nutritionists do not recommend the use of peanut butter as the dominant source of food in their diet, however, it can be consumed from time to time in small quantities.
But the main problem with peanut butter is that many people like to eat it very much and can not resist not to use too much. If you eat a small amount of peanut butter at a time, it probably does no harm. However, it is almost impossible to stop eating only a spoon.
Therefore, if you have a tendency to abuse peanut butter, it is best not to use it at all. But if you can restrain yourself and eat no more than 1 tbsp. per day, then, by all means, continue to enjoy peanut butter from time to time.
Moderate consumption of peanut butter is unlikely to have any serious negative consequences if you simultaneously exclude other not very healthy foods from your diet, such as soda , chips and burgers (trans fats) and other highly processed unhealthy foods.