Can Peanut Butter Help You Lose Weight?

When we think of weight loss, we often think about the importance of cutting out fatty foods. However, sometimes adding things we think of as being high in fat can benefit us. Even if you aren’t a frequent peanut butter eater, you may want to add it to your menu while dieting!

It’s true that peanut butter is calorie-dense and high in fat. Two tablespoons contain 191 calories and 16 grams of fat. However, 75 percent of that fat is unsaturated — the type that may reduce “bad” cholesterol. It’s also high in protein and fiber — two words we love while losing weight! The big thing here is moderation.

Eating it out of the jar with a spoon in addition to your diet won’t help you lose weight. A few people on our team are guilty of that practice, but it’s not a great idea! But including it as part of your diet can be a boon — just don’t overdo it! In a five-year study with more than 370,000 participants, people who habitually ate nuts were five percent less likely to gain weight over the duration of the study.

Peanut butter is filling because of its high protein and fiber levels. That means that people who are dieting will have an easier time sticking to their plan. The protein helps people retain muscle mass while dieting, which is vital for healthy weight changes — people want to lose fat, not muscle. Having healthy muscles lets your metabolism stay high, making you burn calories even when you aren’t active. The fiber also helps blood sugar stay steady — without spikes upsetting your day! Peanut butter may be high in calories, but it has a low GI score.

In the past, we’ve talked about the many benefits of nuts. But in a study with blood tests, researchers saw that peanut butter was better at suppressing appetite for longer. The scientists saw that people who ate peanuts and peanut butter had higher levels of the peptide YY, which makes you feel full after a meal. The people who ate the butter had higher levels than people who ate the whole nuts. However, if you’re more of a whole-nut fan, you can use them in the place of other things. For instance, try replacing croutons with peanuts. They have a crunch but aren’t as carb-heavy! Or, add a handful to homemade popcorn for a treat!

Always be sure to read labels. Peanut butter can be high in added sugar and salt. You want to find out what’s in it. It can also have added fat to stabilize the spread. Peanut butter tends to separate, but all you need to do is give it a stir, and it will be good as new. All good peanut butter should have is peanut butter and a little salt. Go for one with low amounts of sodium and sugar on the label. Also, be sure you’re getting peanut butter and not “peanut butter spread.” Calling it a spread is a sure sign of additives.

Most supermarkets carry natural peanut butter. It used to be viewed as a specialty and was pricey. However, it’s becoming a staple, and brands are bringing out very reasonably priced versions that are selling at the same price as other jars on the shelf.

Crunchy peanut butter is higher in fiber, but smooth has more protein. You can’t lose either way — pick what you like and fits your purposes best. Hopefully, you’ll be enjoying peanut butter and staying full soon, without worrying about inches on your waist!

Banner image: PiccoloNamek, Wikimedia

November 25, 2019
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