A collective childhood memory that we all share is gorging on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after returning from school. While for some of us it may be a distant memory, the habit of loving this versatile nut butter has followed into many of our adult lives too. In fact, peanut butter is such a household staple that the global peanut butter market has an estimate of over 3 billion Dollars! However, as we grew up we also became more calorie conscious and wondered just how healthy our PB eating habit could be. So whether you frequently include it in your diet or have plans to, this is everything you need to know about peanut butter and all its benefits-
Types of peanut butter
While you may reach for the jar of peanut butter in the grocery store that you are most familiar with, there are a variety of types out there-
- Crunchy peanut butter: Crunchy or chunky PB is the most common type out there and is famous for its characteristic crunchy texture as it contains larger peanut pieces. This type also requires a special kind of grinding process to make sure the peanut pieces remain whole for a much more enjoyable experience.
- Creamy peanut butter: The peanuts ground finely to create a smooth and spreadable texture. Perfect for sandwiches or having straight from the jar, creamy peanut butter is almost everyone's favourite type.
- Reduced-fat peanut butter: For the health nuts out there, this type contains almost 25% less fat than the conventional type. While this may contain less amount of fats, it makes up with much more added sugar. There are also double the number of carbs in this type along with a much different taste and texture.
- Powdered peanut butter: Typically people’s favourite low-cal and low-fat option, this type is made by squeezing the fat out of the peanuts and then grinding to give it it’s signature powdered texture. You can also use it as a spread by simply adding water to the mixture. While it is high in protein and fibre, it is missing the essential fats that come in the more typical types.
How does peanut butter influence your nutrition, calories and weight management?
While gorging on a jar of peanut butter with a spoon may seem tempting, it is important to know the nutritional values of this nut butter. It is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fibres and proteins that our body needs on a daily basis. Just 2 tablespoons of this nut butter contains protein, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, niacin and vitamin B6. Since peanuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, it has the ability to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the body which also, in turn, lowers the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and other chronic health conditions. With the nutritional value of peanut butter per serving consisting of - 3mg of vitamin E, 49 mg of magnesium(to build bones), 208mg of potassium(beneficial to muscles), and 0.17mg of vitamin B6, it is one of the healthiest nut butter out there.
In fact, this combination of nutrients makes peanut butter ideal for people’s weight management.
Is peanut butter good for weight loss?
While nuts are a portion of common diet food, one typically doesn't reach for peanut butter if they're planning to go on a diet. While rich in proteins and fibres, it is also high in fat which makes it high in calories with each tablespoon containing over 100 calories! However, if had in moderation the butter can provide satiety or a feeling of fullness to prevent overeating. A study consisting of 15 obese women saw that those who added 3 tbsps of PB in their diet during breakfast, experienced more ‘fullness’ and had a much lesser urge to eat during the day.
Even peanut butter’s high protein content helps to act as an ‘appetite suppressant’. This protein content also helps to conserve muscle mass during your weight loss effort to ensure one’s strength is preserved.
Since peanut butter is high in unsaturated fats, replacing saturated fats with this kind of ‘healthy fat’ helps to put on ‘good calories’ which gives your body the required metabolism to exercise.
While peanut butter has a plethora of benefits to help you keep the weight off, it is high in calories and hence should be consumed in moderation to be able to consume it to help you lose weight. Adding 2 tablespoons of this nut butter into your diet a few times a week is recommended by various dieticians.
Using peanut butter in your diet
These are some ways that you could include peanut butter into your diet-
- You could add 2 tbsps into your morning green smoothie to give it a more appetising taste
- Adding a drizzle of peanut butter into your salad
- You could revamp your morning toast by spreading peanut butter and honey on a whole wheat toast
- Since oatmeal or overnight oats are a must in a person’s weightless journey, adding peanut butter to this meal could help suppress a sweet craving while still remaining healthy.
While peanut butter can help you keep the kilos off, you can also use it to gain weight and muscle.
Peanut butter and weight gain
As much as adding peanut butter to your diet can help you lose weight, using it appropriately could also help you with muscle and weight gain. To effectively gain weight with the help of peanut butter, it is advised to try including it with every meal in your diet.
While 2 tbsp of this butter includes 190 calories and over 16g of fat, it's ‘healthy fats’ nature prevents a person from gaining weight in the long run. the trick is to eat more calories than you burn and since peanut butter is nutrient-dense it is the perfect food option. However, it’s high protein content make it also a suitable option for bodybuilding. Studies show that maintaining a high protein diet helps them preserve lean mass while keeping their body weight and fat down. This high and lean muscle mass can be achieved by including peanut butter in your diet.
So, how much peanut butter should you consume in a day?
Since it is high in calories, just a few extra tbsp of peanut butter could have you consuming an upwards of 300 calories a day. (This is not counting the way some of us eat it straight from the jar without paying attention to how many tbsps we are eating). However, Felicia Newell, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and personal trainer tells Global News that the amount of peanut butter you should be eating depends on what your health goals and nutrition requirements are.
“If someone’s daily calorie needs were only 1400 calories per day … four tablespoons could take a chunk out of that quickly, especially if you’re consuming a varied diet,” she said. “Again, on the other hand, an athlete may need 3000-4000 calories per day or more, so four or even six tablespoons per day wouldn’t have much of an impact on that,” she says.
So while deciding your health goals could also dictate how much PB you should be eating, most people advice consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of high-fat foods a day.
Organic VS regular peanut butter
While we all have our brand favourite PB that we have grown up with, it is best to choose our peanut butter by being a little more health-conscious. Brands that contain peanuts and just a few other ingredients should be a good choice. Avoid brands that contain ingredients like added sugar, salt and added oils as they can increase the trans-fat content in this otherwise healthy nut butter. Certain popular brands have also been known to contain hydrogenated oil which contains saturated fat that could potentially be really harmful to your body.
The best and nutritious peanut butter in India
Unlike other commercial peanut butter brands, a new brand in the peanut butter market that we came across is Maska. Maska contains no hydrogenated or vegetable oils in its products. It also contains all-natural ingredients like - peanuts, pink salt, and brown sugar only. Maska also uses organically grown peanuts that are unadulterated and make for the best peanut butter. Available in jars of 350gms, 500gms or 1000gms, your order can be customised according to your needs, making the best of this nut butter, it is available in 4 variants that would satisfy everyone’s taste buds-
Maska Smooth Peanut Butter
If you're the kind of person who loves their peanut butter to be with a smooth and creamy texture then Maska’s All Natural Peanut Butter Smooth is the best option for you. Made with all-natural ingredients, this nut butter is organic and suitable for a gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or even a Keto diet. Its basically checks all the boxes of a health freak. It is also 100% non-GMO and contains absolutely no preservatives.
Maska Crunchy Peanut Butter
If you like your peanut butter with a slight kick and few crunchy peanuts, then Maska’s Crunchy Peanut Butter is a great choice. Maska’s All-Natural Peanut Butter Crunchy is organic and suitable for a gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or even Keto diets. Containing no preservatives or hydrogenated oils and being 100% non-GMO, Maska’s crunchy peanut butter can be your next go-to snack.
Maska Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate and peanut butter make for a delicious combination if you're craving something sweet but also healthy. While you may have had to choose between these 2 ingredients before, Maska has combined them into one delicious spread to give you the Maska All-Natural Peanut Butter Chocolate Salvation. This option too is organic, 100% non-GMO and suitable for a gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or even a Keto diet. Made with Roasted Peanuts, Brown Sugar, Pink Salt and Chocolate Chips, this chocolate peanut butter could become your next favourite obsession.
Maska AWW-RIO Peanut Butter
This peanut butter is for all the Oreo and peanut butter fans out there because Maska’s All-Natural Peanut Butter Aww-Rio brings the best of both the worlds right to you. Made with natural ingredients like Roasted Peanuts, Brown Sugar, Pink Salt, Biscuits and Chocolate Chips, it brings out the signature taste of Oreo in a much healthier way. This nut butter too is organic, 100% non-GMO and suitable for a gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or even a Keto diet. You can now have your favourite dessert without feeling guilty. One of the only brands that make an Oreo flavoured peanut butter, you cannot miss this one !