We know it is true that peanut butter can be part of a healthy diet, but is there such a thing as too much? There are many potential health benefits to incorporating peanut butter into your meals, but does that mean you should eat peanut butter every day? Before we started second-guessing this childhood staple (and all-time favorite), we went straight to the source, talking to experts in nutrition about the nuts and bolts of peanut butter. What we found might have you looking at your daily PB&Js a little differently.
Ward Off Cancer
Nut consumption is associated with a decreased risk in several cancers including lung, pancreatic, endometrial, and colorectal, explained Hollie Zammit, RD, a registered dietitian with Orlando Health. “In fact, per the American Institute for Cancer Research, a diet low in processed meat and rich in legumes, such as beans and nuts, can help lower your cancer risk,” says Zammit. “This is thanks to the great sources of various vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that nuts contain.” So, if eating great meals like this Crunchy Thai Ginger Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing recipe can be delicious and cancer-fighting.
It Can Result In Weight Gain
“Peanut butter is high in calories—two tablespoons have about 180 calories—so eating too much of it can lead to weight gain,” said New York City-based registered dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS. Don’t worry too much, though. You can combat potential weight gain by controlling your portion sizes. Stick to recipes and meal ideas that don’t go overboard on the creamy (or crunchy) stuff, and you will be just fine.
See Lower Numbers On The Scale
“If you stick to the recommended portions, eating peanut butter may increase certain hormones that promote satiety and feelings of fullness,” says Rizzo, citing research published by the National Institutes of Health. Feeling full and satisfied can lead to less snacking later in the day. Starting out the day with a healthy dose of peanut butter can get you started on the right track.
Get Hours Back In Your Day
One of the major struggles of eating healthy is the time it takes to prepare and cook full meals. Peanut butter takes the struggle out of meal prep without sacrificing any of the flavor or nutrition. “Quick, easy, and convenient is the name of the game when it comes to a healthy, consistent diet,” says Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN. “Peanut butter ranks right at the top as not only a nutritious and heart-healthy plant-based food, but in my opinion, one of the tastiest foods in existence!”
You’ll Be Happier
“If I was on a deserted island and I could only bring one food, it would be a jar of peanut butter,” says Burak. “That’s how much I love it and how versatile it is when it comes to a healthy diet.” While Rizzo cautions that if you don’t like peanut butter, there are plenty of other options out there to make sure you are getting in all of your nutrition needs in a given day. But if you enjoy peanut butter, there is no reason you shouldn’t be eating it every day in moderation.
Type Of Peanut Butter Matters
Not all peanut butter is created equal. This might be less of an issue if you are eating it as an occasional treat, but if you are eating it every day, you need to make sure you know what you are putting into your body. “No matter which brand you go for, always look at the ingredient list and choose one whose only ingredients are peanuts,” says Zammit. “Natural peanut butters are best. Avoid nut butters with additives such as added sugars and hydrogenated oils.”
Eat In A Variety Of Ways
“What is more classic and delicious than a PB&J sandwich?” Burak asked. While the classic combo is one tried-and-true way to incorporate peanut butter into your diet, if you are going to be eating it every day, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and try some new recipes. Zammit shared these ideas for new ways to enjoy peanut butter: Add a serving to whole-wheat toast and pair with sliced bananas or raspberries. Pair with 1 serving of fruit or vegetables. Apple slices or celery sticks are popular choices. Throw some into your favorite smoothie as a protein source. Enjoy 1 serving with your favorite rice cakes. Mix a serving into 1 cup of steel-cut oatmeal or cream of wheat. Spread onto a pita or pancakes and top with your favorite fruit. Have a multi-grain bagel with 1 serving of peanut butter.
You’ll Feel Fuller
Is peanut butter good for you? Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN thinks so. She shares that peanut butter’s monounsaturated fat and protein are highly satiating. How to eat peanut butter for weight loss: Have peanut butter on toast for breakfast with bananas and chia seeds
Add peanut butter to a sandwich for lunch with crushed whole raspberries, Pair peanut butter with an apple for a snack that can prevent you from overeating “But always consume it in moderation,” Schapiro adds. A good serving size is two tablespoons.
Reduce Diabetes Risk
Eating peanut butter may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Miriam Jacobson RD, CDN of foodcoachnyc.com cites a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that consuming one ounce of nuts or a half-serving of peanut butter (about one tablespoon) at least five days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes by over 20 percent.
Improve Your Skin Health
Speaking of vitamin E, in addition to the healthy fats that help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, peanut butter also happens to be high in vitamin E. The spread contains 2.9 milligrams of vitamin E per two-tablespoon serving or 15 percent of your daily value. Vitamin E is important for preventing heart disease, cancer, eye disorders, and cognitive decline. Most notably, antioxidant vitamin E can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of free radicals from UV exposure.