What Does Peanut Butter Do to Your Body? The Best Secrets
Peanut butter body secrets!
Maybe the title ruins my chances of stumping you with this riddle.
I’ll give it a shot anyway.
What tastes great with chocolate, but is just as tasty with celery?
It’s not salad dressing, jam, or caramel - it’s peanut butter.
I know… duh!
People ask me if peanut butter is healthy. Sometimes, they want to know if a different nut butter is healthier.
Today, I’m delivering my verdict up front: peanut butter body secrets can be totally healthy.
...there are always some secrets to doing things right.
Namely, making sure your peanut butter is actually peanut butter.
Peanut Butter: A Fat to Stay Fit with?
There’s a word.
As far as macronutrients are concerned, peanut butter is a fat.
...surely you’ve heard a warning or two that eating peanut butter, a fat, will make you fat.
This is, at the same time, true and false.
Let me explain with an example.
On one hand, we have this jar of peanut butter - click for price.
A serving size is two tablespoons, which offers 190 calories, 130 of which are from fat. It has16 grams of total fat, including 2.5 grams of saturated fat.
On the other, we have this peanut butter - click for price.
A serving size is two tablespoons, which offers 190 calories, 140 of which are from fat. It has 16 grams of total fat, including 2 grams of saturated fat.
Pretty much the same, right?
The second one is slightly higher in calories from fat, so maybe that’s the bad one?
Actually, the first one is much less healthy than the second.
You might be wondering:
That is just crazy?
But here’s the kicker:
It’s not part of a diet which supports weight loss, and can have negative impacts on the body when eaten regularly.
How is that possible with a similar nutrition breakdown?
It’s all in the ingredients.
Ingredients in the first peanut butter are as follows. Peanuts, sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, salt.
Next, we have the second peanut butter. The ingredients are: peanuts.
There’s the catch.
Hydrogenated oils literally take up the space we want to reserve for healthy, natural fats.
When we fill that space with processed fat, we aren’t accomplishing what healthy fats can do.
We’ll look at what the benefits of healthy fats from real peanut butter are in just a minute.
So, stay with me.
But for now...
...just bear in mind that all-natural peanut butter is what’s healthy.
Any peanut butter featuring sugar, processed oils, and other garbage doesn’t apply.
There’s another reason some people associate peanut butter with weight gain.
As it turns out, peanut butter often takes the fall for what we eat it with.
It’s time to ask...
...how do you enjoy your peanut butter?
If the answer involves crackers, bread, or packages of candy, you’re not doing your body any favors.
For example, a peanut butter sandwich on store-bought bread, with plenty of jelly, is a classic.
Unfortunately, indulging in this classic combo daily can make you gain weight.
If your peanut butter is free of additives, then it’s the least of your worries.
High quantities of sugar in jellies and jams, in combination with refined flours, are huge factors in weight gain.
And this is the case with all junk foods touting PB (peanut butter) as an ingredient.
True, peanuts are a fat, but it’s the other stuff added in that actually packs on pounds.
In reality, you can enjoy reasonable amounts of natural PB daily without gaining an ounce.
6 Secret Body Benefits for Peanut Butter Lovers
1. A Healthier Brain
Did you know that 20% of the calories we eat are used by the brain?
Therefore, you can consider peanut butter one of the best brain foods there is.
Ultimately, it provides the calories and essential, natural fats the brain needs to function properly long-term.
Also, peanuts, as well as many other nuts, are a good source of vitamin E.
In fact, you can get 20% of your RDV of vitamin E in a serving.
That’s really impressive, especially when you consider that low vitamin E levels have a connection to Alzheimer’s.
2. Build Muscle
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.
Losing weight will not make you look toned.
Building up some muscle as you lose fat is the way to get to the look so many want.
Minerals like magnesium can be found in peanuts.
I have talked extensively about magnesium here.
Minerals are crucial for maintaining healthy muscle function and preventing post-workout aches.
In addition, peanuts are protein-rich, which is a must for muscle protein synthesis.
To benefit from a workout, the proper nutrition must be in place. Peanut butter is one food that can support repair, recovery, and energy levels.
Speaking of protein, isn’t it great how peanut butter sticks to the ribs?
Sure, there are those among us who have trouble limiting the amount of PB we eat.
Still, if you stick to one serving (typically two tablespoons) you can avoid overeating.
A Purdue-led study of obese women backs this up.
After having PB at breakfast, they weren’t as hungry as usual eight hours later. Investigators find that the peanut butter helps produce appetite-suppressing hormones.
As it happens, PB contains fiber as well as filling protein.
Overall, people who get enough fiber are thinner and more satisfied with their meals and weight.
4. More Energy
A busy woman cannot operate on apple slices alone. That’s why adding some peanut butter makes for a more energizing, strength-building snack.
The combination of fat and protein, in natural plant form, is the perfect recipe for energy.
Actually, the fat is what’s so necessary for extra vigor.
From there, protein is in place to make sure your body can recover from the day.
If you don’t have it, you’ll crash.
5. Reduce Allergy Risk
Lately, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the prevalence of nut allergies.
Certainly, many of us have been privy to such stories.
These allergies can be so deadly that entire schools are designated nut-free zones.
Some experts believe the cause for this rise is due to mold.
Again, the trick here is to avoid additives and get a whole, organic variety. This is because they tend to provide more info regarding origin and testing.
You could also stick to PB made from peanuts grown in bushes.
Specifically, Valencia and Jungle peanuts are known to contain little to no mold.
Possibly, we can combat peanut allergies with…peanuts.
Eating peanut butter during pregnancy is one way to reduce an infant’s chances of developing a severe allergy.
This study suggests that giving babies peanut products during their first year can help as well.
6. Prevent and Manage Diabetes
Personally, I notice that many foods marketed toward diabetics are the worst for them.
For example, low-fat peanut butter is laced with SUGAR.
On the other hand, plain, all-natural peanut butter is low-GI.
On top of that, PB can help moderate the body’s blood sugar levels.
And in addition to that, magnesium levels in peanuts may be effective at preventing diabetes.
So as usual, the verdict on peanut butter is that it is in fact healthy.
Only so long as a manufacturer doesn’t slip in extra ingredients.
I feel like I caught on to this too late. Many a jar of the sugary, oily stuff was consumed in my youth.
Fortunately, I’ve since switched to peanuts-only, and I urge you to do the same.
We’ll go further into why?
Inflammation and Omega Balance - Why All Peanut Butter Isn’t Healthy
Cell damage and inflammation.
In my book, “cell damage” is just another term for “premature aging”. Similarly, “inflammation” is synonymous with “sick” for me.
Buying peanut butter made with hydrogenated oils negates most of the health benefits you get from eating the real thing.
Specifically, it can cause cell damage and inflammation.
We already went over how hydrogenated oils can cause you to gain weight.
These hydrogenated oils added to some “peanut butters” are also a big source of omega-6 fatty acids.
They are major contributors to the imbalance of omega-3s and omega-6s we commonly see in modern diets.
To be fair, peanuts in whole form are already sources of omega-6.
That’s actually why we shouldn’t complicate matters by adding in higher quantities of processed omega-6 oils.
Excess omega-6s can lead to:
And a lot more.
Ideally, you’d get one serving of omega-3s for every two servings of omega-6.
Unfortunately, a lot of Americans get something more akin to one serving of omega-3 to 20 servings of omega-6.
In the end, the hydrogenated oils only make omega balance more complicated.
So, why are they even added to peanut butter?
As far as I can tell, it’s to make the product more uniform and creamy in texture.
You see, all-natural peanut butter with unprocessed oils will most likely have the oils at the top.
You will have to stir it.
For many, this is a reason they avoid whole peanut butters - it’s mess and a hassle.
The easy way to fix this is to store the jar upside down.
After a day or so, the oil and butter will flip positions, so when you put it right-side up again, it mixes.
To solve the omega-6 problem, I like to make my own nut butter.
In it, I drizzle a little flaxseed oil - click for price - a good source of omega-3!
Alternatively, you can add whole flax and chia in with your nuts.
Of course you can always make your own PB at home. Watch this short 4 minute video explaining how simple it is.
Healthy Ways to Eat More Peanut Butter
Fluffy white bread is off the table.
So how should we enjoy a healthy scoop of all-natural peanut butter - click for price?
I have a few ideas for you.
Frankly, this is a no-brainer.
A tablespoon of peanut butter is just the ticket for a protein smoothie - the perfect post-workout breakfast.
Frozen bananas, coconut milk, a little protein powder, and peanut butter. That’s all you need.
Also, consider stirring a spoonful into your overnight oats. It instantly makes a light breakfast much more substantial.
As the study I showed earlier suggests, PB at breakfast is the best idea for curbing hunger throughout the day.
If there are any secrets to this, it’s avoiding toast and bagels. Sorry!
2. Energy Balls and Bars
Is there a candy machine in your workplace?
Seriously, those are the worst. You come in and stride right past it, thinking, “No thanks!”
However, by two or three p.m., candy sounds like the best idea ever.
You can get ahead of that temptation by preparing a peanut buttery snack at home to bring in.
To make peanut butter energy balls, you’ll need a food processor.
Throw in some oats, flax, chia, and peanut butter, and you’re in business.
From there, you can stir in some coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, or other goodies you like.
Roll them into balls, refrigerate, and you are done.
If you want to make your own bars, you can do it with as little as three ingredients.
Blended dates, peanut butter, and oats make a sticky, sweet afternoon snack that won’t spoil a day of healthy eating.
3. Salad Dressing
Lately, I’ve been loving Asian-style salads. And nothing tops these off as well as a spicy, sweet peanut dressing.
Greek-style yogurt, peanut butter, chili sauce, and a nice hit of citrus are a welcome departure from regular vinaigrettes.
Skip the yogurt, and you can carry this sauce over to dinner.
Light and tangy, I mix this with soba noodles - click for price and veggies for a dinner that otherwise contains no fat.
4. Muffins and “Cookies”
Look, I know how hard it is to let go of that peanut butter/bread combo.
Simple peanut butter muffins made with ground oats and banana can help fill this void.
Instead of butter, add a smear of coconut oil on top. Healthy, plant-derived fats are better for brunch than bacon and French toast.
Don’t get mad...
...but we’re calling sliced apples “cookies” from now on.
Top apple rings with peanut butter, walnuts, even chocolate chips. It’s very kid-friendly, and totally flour-free.
Here is my final word on...
Peanut Butter Body Secrets
Is avocado the healthiest fat of them all?
As long as peanut butter’s around, it’ll have to share the stage.
A little bit of peanut butter can help you:
And above all, it tastes amazing.
As long as we don’t cave in to buying jars with added sugar and oil, peanut butter is a go.
I would love to know what your secrets are, too.
Do you have any healthy recipes featuring peanut butter we can try?
Or do you prefer a different kind of nut butter?
Let me know in the comments below!