How to Select a Healthy Peanut Butter
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Is peanut butter bad for you?
This is actually a common question that I get from a lot of people, and there are some misconceptions when it comes to peanut butter nutrition facts. So is peanut butter bad for you? Yes and no. It depends on how much you consume, and it depends on the variety of peanuts you get. Sometimes peanut butter can be a metabolism death food, but then again, it’s a popular ingredient in several healthy snack ideas. There really are positive and negative health effects in regard to peanut butter nutrition facts.
Why Some Peanut Butter Is Unhealthy
Let’s start off with the negatives in terms of peanut butter nutrition facts and why it can be bad for you.
1. Too Much Omega-6 Fat
For starters, most of us in America get way too many omega-6 fats in our diets and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. Remember, omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation, whereas too many omega-6 fats cause inflammation. Peanuts are high in omega-6 fats and low on omega-3 fats, so they can cause an imbalanced ratio.
According to a 2002 study conducted by the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, “Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established.” The ratio is often as high as 20:1 omega-6 fats vs. omega-3 fats, which is astounding considering an ideal healthy ratio is close to 2:1. According to the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health study:
Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.
In addition, too many omega-6 fats can lead to asthma, type 2 diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration and more.
2. Peanuts Often Contain Mold and Cause Allergies
The second issue is that most peanuts are grown on the ground. They get very moist, and a lot of them contain mycotoxins or mold — and mold also leads to other health issues.
Mold is one of the big reasons why so many kids today have food allergies or inflammatory immune reactions when they get around peanuts. In fact, a lot of schools have laws or restrictions against peanuts because so many children suffer immune reactions from foods like peanuts. Those are the two biggest issues with peanuts.
How to Healthily Consume Peanut Butter
While peanut butter is sometimes considered one of the “healthy” foods that aren’t healthy, peanut butter actually can be healthy. Here’s how to make sure the peanut butter you eat actually helps your body.
1. Buy Organic
First, when you buy peanuts, make sure you buy a certified organic brand and, ideally, a type of a peanut called Valencia peanuts or Jungle peanuts. These peanuts are typically not grown in the moisture of the ground; they’re usually grown in bushes off the ground or higher up, and that eliminates the issue with mold. In addition, Valencia peanuts contain monounsaturated fats that lower triglycerides, and they have all nine essential amino acids and the antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage produced during everyday bodily functions, such as eating and exercise.
2. Consume with Omega-3 Foods
The second thing that can actually make peanuts healthy for you is if you consume omega-3 fats with them. You can add in a little bit of beneficial flaxseed oil or take an omega-3 fish oil supplement when you eat peanut butter, and of course, you should always consume plenty of omega-3 foods. If you get plenty of omega-3 fats in your diet — and you aren’t allergic — then you really don’t need to worry about eating peanuts.
Peanuts and peanut butter actually can be food that supports and boosts metabolism and fat loss if you consume them with the other rights foods and as part of a proper diet, because peanuts are high-protein snacks that are high as well in easily burned carbohydrates; in fact, they’re one of the highest plant-based forms of protein available today. So can peanuts be healthy? Yes, they can if you buy high-quality, organic peanuts like Valencia peanuts and you get plenty of omega-3 fats in your diet — and that extends to peanut butter, of course.
But here’s the problem: 99 percent of the peanut butter and peanuts people buy in America have hydrogenated oils added, and they’re non-organic. That’s what adds to the omega-6 count and makes peanut butter unhealthy. Sadly, 99.9 percent of peanut butter out there today is absolute junk. It’s not good for you, and it can even cause weight gain, disease-causing inflammation and inflammatory reactions in the body. The good news is you don’t have to consume this unhealthy, processed form of peanut butter. Buy or make your own natural, organic peanut butter instead, and the peanut butter can actually be good for you.