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Peanut Butter: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

By Edited Nov 20, 2013 0 2

Yummy Peanut Butter

When shopping and making a decision, isn't peanut butter just that, peanut butter? No, not at all. It isn't just the taste that differs among brands, but there are many hidden problems with those nutrients and packaging labels on the jar. There are numerous myths and deceptions floating around about peanut butter. Is peanut butter really good or bad for a person? Well, some are good, some are bad and some are just down right ugly. How to tell the difference? Well, it's easy once the difference is known.

Anyone who has ever shopped around for peanut butter will notice that not all peanut butters are created equal. Some are extremely thick, almost solid like, others are just thick and creamy, some are thin, and then there are some that are just down right runny with a ton of oil on the top layer. Many people avoid buying that jar with the oil on the top. If they do buy it, they usually drain it all off before actually eating the peanut butter. Well, there is no way all that oil could be good for you, is there?

Peanut Butter with oil at the top:

Most all peanut butters with oil at the top are purely natural peanut butters. Look at the ingredients, it should read peanuts and salt. There is no purer peanut butter than this form. In fact, upon purchasing this butter, one should stir that oil up completely into the peanut butter and then store it in the refrigerator. Why? Well, that oil is full of good fats which lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. It actually taste good too. Never drain the oil off, it's a very common mistake. It should be stored in the refrigerator because it does not have any preservatives. What could be better than natural peanut butter? Not much of anything. Completely trans fat free, free of preservatives and taste great. It could take some getting used to but afterward, it really does have a better taste. Children are probably used to sugary peanut butter, if they refuse to eat the natural, simply add some sugar to theirs before using. Gradually decrease the amount of sugar added. They won't even notice the difference. There are some brands that even offer no salt added natural peanut butter, this is a bit stale tasting however.

Hint: turn the peanut butter upside down a few days before opening, then store in the fridge upside down. Helps the oil mix better.

Peanut Butter without oil on top that reads natural:

This peanut butter is the next best for the body and it does eliminate the need to stir and store it in the fridge. However, just how natural is this type of natural peanut butter? Well it's a bit better than some but it sure isn't natural. Ingredients of this type variation of peanut butter is usually something like: peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt. Palm oil and sugar are not ingredients that should be found in a natural peanut butter. It could act as a temporary solution to gradually get children to transfer to natural. It is easier to cook with than the real natural, but it is not real!

Peanut Butter that has fully hydrogenated oil:

This is next to the worst peanut butter for a person's health. Hydrogenated oil is a solid oil. As everyone should know, solid oils are harder for the body to get rid of and will raise bad cholesterol. More commonly, this type of oil is found in generic and cheaper products.

Peanut Butter with has partially hydrogenated oil:

Well folks, this is the worst, absolutely worst, peanut butter for anyone's body. Of course, it's also found in the most popular and best selling brands of peanut butters. Partially hydrogenated oil is not a natural oil. It's chemical structure has been altered and even though that label might read "trans fat free". It doesn't mean it is. The regulations will allow a product that has .05 grams of trans fat per serving to label the product at zero. So 0 doesn't always mean 0. This type of fat found in partially hydrogenated oil will lower good cholesterol and raise bad. The trans fat found in altered and processed foods is much more dangerous for the body than those that naturally occur in products, such as meats.

Beware: If a product reads "hydrogenated oil" and does not have fully or completely in front of it, more than likely it is partially hydrogenated oil, which does involve trans fat. Also avoid any peanut butter that reads shortening. Shortening usually contains trans fat as well.

Effects of eating products with trans fat:

Eating products with trans fat increases the chances of developing certain heart diseases. It also aids in increasing triglycerides, which contribute to thickening of the arteries. Trans fat also increases inflamation in the body and bad cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol is linked with increasing the risk of developing heart disease.

The good oil in peanuts:

Pure peanut oil is a monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats is considered much more healthy than those found in saturated fats. Peanut butter is a good source of essential minerals and nutrients.

Deceptions about peanut butter:

Any peanut butter labeled no added sugar, reduce sugar, reduced fat or low fat peanut butter is not healthier than pure natural peanut butter. What is lowered? The amount of good fats that are found in nuts? Check the calories per serving. Does the lower fat peanut butter have less calories than the regular? No, so it is not a diet product, nor more healthy. It's just a marketing tool to sell more peanut butter to a health cautious economy. Peanut butter shouldn't have sugar added in it anyways. If someone is watching their sugar intake but like the taste of sugar in peanut butter, they should add natural sweetener such as Stevia to their natural peanut butter.

Other items to watch for trans fat:

Anything that may contain shortening such as, pastries, cakes, cookies, frostings, breads, crackers, donuts and french fries. Meats that do have a trace of trans fat are usually not added. It is there naturally and will do less damage than those of processed foods. To see an example of how an item might have trans fat but reads 0 on the label, check out the nutrient label at a fast food restaurant that includes the different serving sizes. A small milk shake might show zero trans fat, where as a large might say 1 gram of trans fat.



Aug 11, 2009 5:22pm
"they should add natural sweetener such as splenda to their natural peanut butter."

i was with you until that statement! you really should look into these artificial chemical sweeteners - they are as bad or worse than partially hydrogenated oils.

i use STEVIA to sweeten peanut butter. stevia is a plant that is sweet right off the leaf. i know, i eat the leaves right off my stevia plant! buy it from health food stores & the liquid is way better than the powder. don't use the corporate brands (truvia, etc.). if the ingredients on corporate "stevia" have the phrase "natural flavors" listed, do not use - that's code for things like MSG and such. look it up!
Nov 6, 2011 8:02am
It's bad enough I am into coffee and experimenting with different beans, blends, etc. Now, after reading your article, I am curious to try different peanut butters!
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