Peanut Butter: Benefits, Types, Nutrition & Side Effects

Originating from the Legume family, peanuts are also known as Arachis hypogaea or groundnuts. They are grown for numerous reasons and amount to enormous levels of nutrition, especially protein. Increased demand for protein-rich food has led to more production and availability of peanut spreads or peanut pastes. Peanut butter help fulfil nutrition requirements and taste good.

The production of peanuts acquired a world record of about 21 million tonnes and took top place.  Director of research for The Peanut Institute, Samara Sterling, has declared peanuts to be a superfood because it provides a high nutrition density even in small servings. 

High Commercial potential and nutritional qualities have made peanut butter popular globally. The low moisture content in peanut butter makes it a product with essentially prolonged shelf life. No wonder why people love to store it in their homes! Peanut butter efficiently maintains blood sugar and pressure, and cholesterol levels. As a result, it reduces the risk of death and lowers the risk of a heart attack.

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is the creamy and ground form of peanuts made after dry roasting them. About 90% of peanut butter consists of peanuts, while the rest of the 10% incorporates vegetable oil, salts, dextrose and corn syrup to improve flavour and smoothness.

Decadent and loaded with nutrients, peanut butter is consumed worldwide. It is also a substitute for milk because of its low calorie and high protein retention. People eat it with sandwiches, salads, biscuits and many other foods. Historically, people developed peanut butter in Canada and the US in the 1880s. It has been a staple American diet since the 1940s.

Until the 1920s, people extracted peanut butter manually. In the succeeding years, mechanised cultivation to serve a high demand made the process efficient.

Types of Peanut Butter

From the land where peanut butter originated, Americans today consume 700 million pounds per year. Talking of India alone, Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and many other states have high records of consumption of peanut butter. Do you ever wonder why markets keep shelves reserved for peanut butter? The answer lies in its distinctive types:

Natural Peanut Butter

Any kind of peanut butter that is organic falls into this category. When natural peanut butter sits up on the shelf, its natural oils get separated from the solids. It is because peanut oil naturally floats on the surface. Therefore, you need to stir it before eating. Stirring becomes the only task you need to perform.

No-Stir Peanut Butter

This peanut butter variety contains one of the permitted ingredients in the FDA’s definition of peanut butter, refined palm oil. This extra ingredient addition makes peanut butter a ‘no-stir’ butter without partially hydrogenated oils. 

However, there is a growing awareness regarding the harmful effects of palm oil due to its trans fats. That makes peanut butter with palm oil labelled as peanut butter “spread.” Therefore, it is not allowed to be labelled as mere “Peanut Butter.”

Conventional Peanut Butter

Oils are heated and then exposed to hydrogen gas to solidify them at room temperature. This partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is mixed with peanut butter to prevent spilling during shipment. It also adds a smooth, creamy texture to peanut butter and makes it possible to ship worldwide, fostering commercial benefits.

Nutritional Properties of Peanut Butter

Nutritional Values

1 tbsp (16.5g) of peanut butter contains:

  • Calories- 95 kcal
  • Protein- 3.5 g
  • Carbohydrates- 4 g
  • Fats- 8 g
  • Fibre- 1 g

Nutritional Facts

  • Peanut butter is calorie-dense. However, most of the calories are a part of unsaturated fats.
  • A single serving of peanut butter provides around 7% of the daily fibre needs.
  • Carbohydrates in peanut butter are complex that the body needs for metabolism.
  • Zinc in peanut butter reduces age-related diseases and boosts the immune system.
  • Fibre content in peanut butter maintains bowel health.
  • Peanut butter contains phosphorus, promotes healthy nerve conduction and manages energy storage and usage. It helps in muscle contraction and keeps bones healthy.

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

Aids Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance

Peanut butter plays a massive role in appetite suspension. It also enhances metabolism with greater meal satisfaction. About 20% of the calorie in peanut butter comes from its protein content, which in turn promotes a feeling of fullness. It also reduces the urge to eat between meals, helping weight loss. 

Peanuts are a high-calorie, high-fat superfood but should least be associated with weight gain, if taken in moderation. Although, researchers assert that more findings are required to understand the role of peanut butter. However, a recent study shows how it can aid in maintaining weight.

Peanut Butter Preserves Muscle Mass

During weight loss efforts, what becomes essential is strength in muscles. Losing muscles can instantly reduce the rate of metabolism. Consumption of protein-rich peanut butter aids in weight loss and preserves muscle mass to ensure metabolism is not affected.

Protein increases muscle mass and fat burning. It boosts metabolism and remains beneficial for bones. It also helps to maintain weight and keeps kidneys healthy.

Peanut Butter Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases

According to research, Resveratrol, an antioxidant in peanuts, reduces cardiovascular inflammation, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation and relaxes blood vessels. It also reduces LDL oxidation responsible for the hardening of arteries and coronary artery diseases. 

Peanut Butter further improves heart health. It is because of monounsaturated fatty acids, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, peanut butter consumption also becomes a cost-effective way to improve heart health. 

Peanut Butter Best for Fitness Enthusiasts

Fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders include peanut butter in their diet to increase calorie and unsaturated fat intake. Many nutritionists recommend consuming 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight to increase muscle mass. Hence, peanut butter also becomes a source of protein, containing essential amino acids.

As per studies, amino acids enhance the muscle repair system in the body. So, peanut butter helps fulfil your daily protein requirement and helps increase muscle mass. 

Peanut Butter Manages Blood Sugar Levels

Peanut butter carries low amounts of carbohydrates but essential protein and fats. Also, it does not have any added sugar component. It has a GI value of 13 which makes it a low GI food. Low magnesium levels have always been linked to type 2 diabetes.

As per research, Peanut butter has high levels of magnesium in it, which is an essential nutrient for a person with diabetes. Eating peanut butter in the morning may help control your blood sugar throughout the day.

Peanut Butter Contains Anti-cancer Properties

Peanut butter is an excellent source of many essential antioxidants like magnesium, vitamin B and vitamin E. These nutrients prevent and repair cell damage. In addition, peanut butter reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer.

Furthermore, as per studies, coumaric acid, a powerful antioxidant in peanut butter, also has anti-cancer properties. Again, the antioxidant Resveratrol cuts the blood supply to growing cancers and inhibits cancer cell growth.

Ways to Use Peanut Butter: Healthy Recipes

From creamy to smooth, peanut butter can make dishes taste delicious. Of course, you can eat peanut butter directly with the help of a spoon. However, there are various mouth-watering recipes that you can prepare using it. 

We all love peanut butter because it is just rich, creamy and fulfilling. But, there is no harm in being a bit creative. We can easily incorporate the nutty texture of peanut butter into other food products to relish it whenever we want. So, whether it’s on our shelf or the table, it’s always peanut butter!

Here are a few creative recipes that you can prepare using peanut butter.

1. Peanut Butter Milkshake

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • Unsweetened Milk: 1 cup
  • Frozen Banana: 1 cup
  • Peanut Butter: ½ cup

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend all ingredients well until smooth
  • Pour into glasses, and it is ready to be served.

2. Peanut Butter French Toast

Benefits of Peanut Butter- HealthifyMe

Servings: 6 

Preparation time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • Multigrain Bread Slices: 12
  • Peanut Butter: ¾ cup
  • Large Eggs: 3
  • Fat-free Butter: 2 tablespoons
  • Salt: ¼ teaspoon
  • Skimmed Milk: ¾ cup

Method:

  • Spread peanut butter on one side of the bread slices.
  • Whisk milk, eggs, and salt in a bowl.
  • Now dip both the sides of the bread in egg mixture.
  • Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Grill the bread slices for 2-3 minutes on each side until it turns golden brown.
  • Tasty Peanut butter French toasts are ready to serve.

3. Peanut Butter Ice cream

Servings: 4 people

Preparation time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • Milk: 1 cup
  • Salt: pinch
  • Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon
  • Frozen banana/mango – 2 cups
  • Creamy peanut butter: 1 cup
  • Cinnamon/Cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Method

  1. Add all ingredients in a blending jar.
  2. Blend well until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate for some hours.
  4. Yummy chilled Ice cream is ready to serve.

Precautions, Side Effects & Things to Remember

Peanut butter is a portion of delicious and nutritious food. However, do we ever think about the adverse effects of peanut butter consumption? When consumed in moderation, it gives you healthy fats and helps to maintain weight. However, the peanut butter’s added oils, sugar, and salts may bring disadvantages. Therefore, it’s always better to consume natural products without the added ingredients.

You should always consume peanut butter in the prescribed amount. Also, the body might develop intolerance to its frequent consumption. In addition, high consumption can lead to various health-related diseases:

Peanut Allergy: 

Some people might face some allergic reactions to peanuts. These reactions can include tightening in the throat, diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps or vomiting. In addition, you may also experience shortness of breath or wheezing, tingling or itching in the mouth or throat, runny nose and skin reactions. Therefore, refrain from consuming peanut butter if you are allergic to peanuts.

Mineral Deficiency: 

Peanuts contain high amounts of phosphorus, limiting the body’s consumption of other minerals like zinc and iron. As a result, it may lead to mineral deficiency. Hence, you should consume peanut butter in moderation.

Drug Interactions:

The presence of resveratrol in peanut butter leads to blood clotting if consumed in excess. It might as well amplify the side effects of blood thinners. These side effects include abdominal pain, nosebleeds, blood in the urine, easy bruising (hematuria), and heavy menstrual bleeding. So, if you are on blood thinners, you should not consume peanut butter. 

Inflammations: 

Peanut butter contains high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6. But, according to a study, overconsumption may disrupt the balance in the body and cause inflammation.

Some Points to Remember

  • Not every form of peanut butter is healthy. Commercially prepared products are full of additives. It might contain trans fat. 
  • While buying peanut butter, ensure to look up to its label and check the ingredients. The fewer the additives, the healthier it is.
  • Keep track of your daily peanut butter consumption. It will help you know your calorie consumption. As a result, you can manage your weight and follow a healthier lifestyle.

There are healthier alternatives to peanut butter like:

  • Almond butter: It has the highest concentration of nutrients per ounce
  • Walnut butter: It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 and holds lesser calories than peanuts
  • Macadamia Nut Butter: It has the maximum healthy fats of any nut. It also protects against coronary heart diseases. 

The Bottom Line

Peanut butter is a healthy food because it is rich in nutrients. It fulfils the daily nutrition demands and has several other benefits. In addition, it contains healthy fats. However, it is essential to regulate its consumption for weight management. 

Peanut butter has decent protein and fibre, but taking it in moderate amounts is key to maintaining balance. However, it is unlikely to have adverse effects if you consume it in moderation. But, if you see any traces of peanut reaction, you should stop eating peanut butter. It will help reverse the consequences and set the balance in the body. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is eating peanut butter good for you?

A. Yes. It is nutrient-dense and has numerous benefits, such as better heart health, muscular mass preservation, weight management, and anti-cancer qualities.

Q. Does peanut butter lead to weight gain?

A. Overconsumption may lead to weight gain. But if you eat in moderation, it may help you lose weight.

Q. Is peanut butter good for weight loss?

A. Yes, peanut butter helps with weight loss. It boosts metabolism and increases meal satisfaction. Furthermore, the reduced hunger caused by peanut butter consumption may result in weight loss.

Q. Which peanut butter is best?

A. Peanut butter with no added sugar, oil or salt and additives is the best form. 

Q. What are the disadvantages of peanuts?

A. Peanuts, being calorie-dense, may lead to weight gain when you take them in excessive amounts. In addition, it can also cause inflammation and severe allergic reactions in the body.

Q. Is peanut butter good for cholesterol?

A. Yes, peanut butter is good for cholesterol maintenance as it contains healthy fats, essential for the human body.

Q. Can I eat peanut butter at night?

A. Yes. Eating peanut butter before bedtime promotes muscle growth and enhances sleep quality. However, eating too much peanut butter before going to bed can immediately increase weight due to the slower metabolism at night.

Q. Is peanut butter a Keto?

A. Yes. Peanut butter has a low carbohydrate content, with 4.3 grams in 1 tablespoon. So you can eat it on the keto diet as long as you limit your intake and plan out your other food options.

Q. How much peanut butter can I eat a day?

A. You should consult your doctor or nutritionist if you’re unsure how much peanut butter to consume every day, but a good general rule of thumb is between one and two tablespoons.

Q. Is peanut butter better than Nutella?

A. Yes. Peanut butter is a healthier option because it has less sugar, harmful fats and is high in protein. Furthermore, it tastes delicious.

Q. Does peanut butter make you fat?

A. Excessive consumption of peanut butter or eating more than the recommended amount can lead to weight gain. On the other hand, eating in moderation may result in weight loss.

Q. Does peanut butter cause belly fat?

A. There is no scientific evidence to prove the same. However, overconsumption may lead to weight gain. And weight gain may lead to fat accumulation in the body.

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