Peanut butter is a staple for so many people whether it be on a sandwich, a celery stick, or mixed with chocolate in a dessert. But while most peanut butter tastes the same, there’s an enormous difference between how healthy they are.
Nutritionally, I actually prefer other nut butters (i.e. almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter) to peanut butter because among all the nuts, peanuts offer the least nutritionally. Also, peanut butter typically measures to have the highest rate of alpha toxins, which can lead to cancer. However, for the purposes of this video, we’ll be focusing on peanut butter, despite it’s inferiority to other nut butters, because it’s such a popular food item.
Simplicity is king
The main thing to look for when looking for a healthy peanut butter is simplicity. Is there a sweetener? Is there an oil? Cane sugar seems to be the most common sweetener found in peanut butter. My advice is if you see a sweetener of any kind on a jar of peanut butter, put it back on the shelf. If you want sweet with your peanut butter, you’re better off adding raisins or other pieces of fruit because the sugar in them isn’t processed.
Next, look at it if the peanut butter has any oil in it or not. The healthiest peanut butters in grocery stores have no oils added to them. These are easy to spot because they have a layer of oil on top of the peanut butter that has to be stirred into the product after opening it. It seems odd that the product with NO oil added has a layer of oil at the top, but that oil is actually from the peanut itself that comes out during the processing. If you see “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oil” on your peanut butter labels, I recommend not purchasing, these are the worst of the worst. These oils, also known as “trans fats” increase cholesterol, thus increasing risk of heart disease and clogged arteries.
Making your own nut butters can be fun, too. If it’s homemade, you’ll know there’s no extra additives in it and that it was made with care. Have fun experimenting with mixing different nut butters or seeing how the taste of the nut butter changes if your nuts are raw vs. roasted. Sunflower seed butter or “sun butter” is also worth checking out.
Sources: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/trans-fat; https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/aflatoxins