06 Mar Five Ways to Eat Peanut Butter and Still Stay Slim
By Carleen Wild
“I can’t believe how much peanut butter people here eat,” a friend from South Africa recently observed. She had stopped by while I was slathering some on a piece of toast.
“It’s on and in everything,” she added.
Too true. Despite what appears to be an ever-increasing peanut ban in public places and spaces due to severe allergies to the “nut,” we Americans love our peanut butter. There’s even a day to celebrate it (March 1 is National Peanut Butter Day).
More than 290 million Americans say they regularly consume peanut butter, which adds up to more than a billion pounds consumed per year. Nearly 78 million of those folks go through at least two jars a month — and it’s not just PB&J we’re eating. We put peanut butter on everything — from our burgers and fries, to pizza, eggs, pickles, in hot sauce, with cheese, or in tomato soup. Everything goes with this sweet little delicacy, or at least we think it does. Few, if any, other nations share this love.
Which may be one of the reasons their waistlines are thinner and smaller than ours.
While it’s often touted as a healthy snack, and it can be — peanut butter is a great source of heart healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and protein that our bodies need — it can also be laden with sugar and chemicals, said Christine King, founder and CEO Your Best Fit, Inc., in Boynton Beach, Florida. “As peanuts, a legume, have an extremely permeable shell and grow underground (as opposed to real nuts that grow on trees), they are highly susceptible to permeation of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.”
Peanuts, she told LifeZette, also contain anti-nutrients known as lectins, which are sticky proteins found in many foods, including legumes.
“The structure of lectins makes them highly difficult to digest. They also bind to sugars in the body, which causes an immune response and inflammation. As a bonus, lectins mimic the body’s response to insulin, which ultimately leads to weight gain,” said King.
If you’re looking to keep weight off but unwilling to give up that daily spoonful straight out of the jar, King offered five insider tips to a healthier relationship with peanut butter.
1.) Buy the full-fat version. Low fat doesn’t make it healthy; it most often contains more sugar than the full-fat version and all of the chemicals.
2.) Watch your portion size. Two tablespoons is the recommended serving size, which may not seem like much. But “a little goes a long way and moderation is best,” said King. Even in its organic form, peanut butter is still high in sugar and fat.
3.) Consider it a condiment. Too many Americans see peanut butter as a staple, something it definitely should not be.
4.) Search for the healthier types. Look for no added oils on the list of ingredients. Regular peanut butter is a natural source of the “good” monounsaturated fats. Almond butter is also an option, as it is “every bit as satisfying without the toxicity and immune response,” said King.
5.) Tell yourself, “I can have PB.” Unless you have an allergy, you can eat anything in moderation. Don’t deny — modify, King advised.