Peanut butter contains saturated fat and sodium, so there’s a common misconception that all peanut butter is unhealthy. In reality, this is not true for all peanut butter. Peanut butter doesn’t naturally contain sodium, and it contains many other nutrients that are good for you such as Vitamin E, fiber, protein, as well as mono and polyunsaturated fats. If you take your time to read the label and ingredients and compare different brands, you can find a peanut butter that’s both delicious and healthy to eat.
Evaluating the Ingredients
- Brands like Skippy, Planters, and Great Value contain added sugar and additives.
- Maltodextrin is a caloric sweetener made from rice, potatoes, or cornstarch and can raise blood glucose and insulin levels.
- Monoglycerides and diglycerides are food additives used to prevent the oil from separating out of peanut butter. This means it is natural and normal to see the oil on top of peanut butter that does not have this additive
While an all-natural peanut butter can be healthier than one that has chemical additives, different peanut butter brands have a different sodium content. Sodium is an ingredient that’s found in healthy peanut butter but should be taken into consideration, especially for those with conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Peanut butter typically ranges from 40 mg to 250 mg of sodium per serving of 2 tablespoons
3. Find a peanut butter that’s low in sugar
No sugar is required to make peanut butter, but brands typically add it to enhance its flavor. Look for natural ingredients and sweeteners like honey, cane syrup, or agave nectar. Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame. If you can’t find a peanut butter that uses natural sugars, then find one that’s low in sugar.
- Peanut butter typically contains one to four grams of sugar per serving.
- Special peanut butter like Peanut Butter & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl and Sunland Natural Peanut Butter Creamy Chocolate Spread can contain up to 9 grams of sugar
4. Avoid low-fat or reduced-fat options
While the idea of reduced saturated fat sounds like a healthy option, it’s typically coupled with a ton of unnatural chemicals and additives. Pay attention to brands that out to be low or reduced fat variations.
1. Look for organic brands
Organic peanut butter brands are typically healthier and don’t contain GMOs (although science has shown there is nothing wrong with GMOs) or other added chemicals. Peanuts that grow organically are free of pesticides. Look for brands that say organic on the front or have organic in the name of the peanut butter.
- GMO stands for a genetically modified organism and there are said to be trace amounts in peanut butter.
- Popular organic brands include Peanut Butter & Company: Smooth Operator, Everyday Value, 365 Organic Unsweetened, and Trader Joe’s Organic.
2. Taste test various healthy brands
To find a healthy brand of peanut butter that you can actually enjoy, you should taste test all the major brands that you’ve evaluated to be healthy. Once you determine a brand that you enjoy, you’ll have an idea of what kind of healthy peanut butter you like best. Determine whether you like chunky or smooth peanut butter and seek healthy variations that suit your tastes