Peanut butter is a lunch staple loved by many, however, it hasn’t gotten the best reviews over the years. So many other types of nut butter have hit the markets for healthier options, like almond, cashew, and macadamia nut butter. But where does peanut butter fit in this mix? According to the USDA, two tablespoons of peanut butter have approximately 204 calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of protein. But depending on the brand of peanut butter you buy, some may be more nutritious than others.
According to Wesley Delbridge R.D.N., a registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends looking at the ingredient list first. He says that if you are looking after your sugar and sodium intake, it may be smart to choose a natural peanut butter made of just roasted peanuts. There are several health benefits to peanut butter, Delbridge explains. It has good fats, lots of fiber, can stay on the shelf for a long time, has a high protein content, and is a great snack for kids. Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., the founder of Nutrition Starring YOU says that peanut butter is also cheaper than its competitors. She says, “People have this halo around almond butter instead of peanut butter, but it’s far more expensive and we get elitist about our food.”
Now, to get into any potential risks of peanut butter. Some people turn away from peanut butter and similar legumes is because legumes have lectins. which are the proteins that combine with carbs. However, lectins get a bad name when it comes to fad diets. Delbridge explains this is not something to be concerned about unless you are eating way more than the recommended serving size. Delbridge explains, “I am a firm believer there is no such thing as a bad food in a healthy diet, there are just unhealthy portions.” So if you do include peanut butter in your diet, just be mindful of your serving size of about two tablespoons a day.