Is Peanut Butter Good For You?

What would we do without peanut butter?

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Ever since it was first introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Americans have had a love affair with peanut butter. And why not? It’s delicious, affordable and versatile. But is it healthy? Considering the base of peanut butter is ground peanuts, you’d like to believe so. However, not all peanut butters are created equal. While certain peanut butters can be an easy way to add protein, fiber and healthy fats to a meal or snack, other varieties veer more into the category of junk food.

Here’s what you need to know about peanut butter and how to get the most out of this popular spread.

Let’s start things off by examining the most popular peanut butter brand in America—Jif. According to U.S. Census Data and the Simmons National Consumer Survey, 112.86 million Americans consumed Jif peanut butter in 2016.

With that in mind, let’s examine the nutrition facts for a serving (two tablespoons) of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter:

190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 8 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar (including 2 grams of added sugar), 7 grams of protein

The ingredients list is roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, salt.

Now, let’s compare those numbers to one of the healthiest peanut butters available—Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. One reason this brand is widely hailed as a nutritious choice is because of its simple ingredients list—it contains nothing more than ground peanuts and a pinch of salt. The nutrition facts for a serving (two tablespoons):

200 calories, 16 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 105mg sodium, 6 grams of total carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 8 grams of protein.

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