How Healthy is Peanut Butter?

All About Peanut Butter
In this article we’re going to look at peanut butter, and clue ourselves up on pros and cons to assess whether or not it is in fact a food that is good for our health.
Our first step to forming an informed evaluation is to start with the facts. Here are the macronutrient contents in a standard serving of peanut butter. For this example, I have chosen an organic, smooth peanut butter that contains no additional sugars or trans fats in order to present the ‘cleanest’ and unaltered statistics of the humble peanut, per 100g:

Energy

2470 kJ/596 kcals

Fat

46.0g

of which saturates

8.2g

monounsaturates

21.1g

polyunsaturates

14.3g

Carbohydrates

11.6g

of which sugars

5.9g

Fibre

8.5g

Protein

29.6g

Salt

0.0g

So let’s discuss some conclusions we can draw from the given information:
One serving at 2 tbsp (32g) produces approximately 190 kcals, making peanut butter a calorie dense food
If your current fitness goals require you to lose weight - and therefore adhere to a calorie restrictive diet - then relatively speaking, there are other very low calorie food options to consider when pitted up against peanut butter. So this simply may not be the best option, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is ruled out of the equation. The key here is moderation; sticking to a single serving makes peanut butter a very manageable food option, that offers diet satisfaction (man, it’s delicious) along with it’s array of health boosting properties. Furthermore, because of the fat content in peanut butter, this makes it a food that increases satiety (the feeling of fullness), so you’ll probably feel satisfied from a single serving.
Of course, the problems arise when you find yourself overdoing the quantities, which in the case of someone who actually desires to gain weight, suddenly shifts the cards in favour of the high calorie profile of peanut butter, making effective for those on a bulking diet. A useful application for peanut butter in this respect would be to add a serving of peanut butter into a into a mass gainer like PNI’s Pure Mass Advanced to ramp up the calories to approximately 540 kcals per shake, to maintain a high quality source of carbohydrates and fats, with a very low refined sugars. Perfect for a clean bulk.
Of those calories, fats comprise the largest quantity, then protein, and then naturally occuring sugars and carbohydrates respectively
Despite it’s reputation for being a go-to protein food, it is not the most dominant macronutrient source. Since there is a high protein content in peanut butter though, this will contribute towards feelings of satiety along with fats, and is a tasty food favoured by trainers as a protein source for gains and recovery purposes.
So it seems fats are the real strong suit of peanut butter, and especially since it’s significantly low in carbohydrates, that is all the more reason to point to peanut butter as a quality source of fat and protein. For those who follow a diet centred around low carbohydrate consumption, this makes peanut butter a spot on food choice to include in your diet.
Of those fats, monounsaturates and polyunsaturates form the highest quantity, with saturates being the lowest quantity
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats make up the highest portion of the fat content, and this is a key health benefit to peanut butter; these kinds of fats lower cholesterol due to their high density lipoproteins (HDLs), and by consuming more of these kinds of fats our risk of developing cardiovascular disease reduces; heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and peripheral vascular disease are at risk if someone suffers from high cholesterol. As a general rule of thumb, always go for poly and mono unsaturated fats.
We’ve done the macros. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of micronutrients in peanut butter and how we can benefit from them:
 
. B vitamins (B1, B3, B5, B6, B9) - for natural energy production, red blood cell production, metabolizing energy sources, lowering cholesterol and supporting a healthy thyroid function.
. Potassium: most important electrolyte, essential for managing fluid levels in the body, nerve function, and regular heartbeat.
. Phosphorus: Formation of bones, teeth, and the growth and management of cells.
. Vitamin E: antioxidant, healthy skin, and immune system defence.
. Choline: enhances cognitive function, and supports normal membrane structure.
Trace minerals
  • Copper: produces essential proteins in the body that transport oxygen.
  • Iron: transports oxygen in the blood and for forming protein.
  • Manganese: enzyme production.
  • Magnesium: normal muscle and nerve function, immune defence, blood pressure and regulating blood sugar.
  • Zinc: building protein from amino acids, immune system defence and wound healing.
 
Let’s summarise:
 
Pros
. An excellent source of good fats and protein, to help reduce bad cholesterol and shield us from CVD
. Suitable for non-animal plant based diets, and low carbohydrate diets
. Great option for those on a clean bulking diet
. Tastes awesome - diet satisfaction
. Boasts an impressive micronutrient content
. It’s easily attainable; most shops sock even the premium brands of peanut butter
. Contains 0% sodium, which makes this a great food for someone with high blood pressure
Cons
. High in calories; there are better choices for a weight loss/restriction lifestyle, but can certainly be enjoyed in controlled amounts
. It does not contain omega 3 in its fat profile, so be sure to bridge that gap by eating oily fish and/or supplementing an omega supplement
 
So we’ll let you, based on your own personal set of circumstances and tastes, be the judge of whether you can utilize peanut butter to be the healthy food it has the potential to be.
But if this article has inspired you to have a go at making peanut butter a tasty dietary staple, we recommend Muscle Nuts peanut butter spread by Muscle Geek Nutrition. As if the delicious taste of the white chocolate chips in their milky whey flavour wasn’t enough, it ticks some other very commendable boxes:
- No palm oil: we don’t advocate destroying our mother Earth!
- Whey protein infused: quality protein source which ups the protein content, making it a real protein packed food
- Gluten free: good news for those who don’t quite agree with gluten, you can enjoy
Why not give it a go as a delicious addition to Lean Shake Plus protein pancakes for a superb post gym sweet treat, or take a look at this page for peanut butter snacks and marvel at the possibilities

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