I love peanut butterbut I rarely eat it, lamented my client, a weight conscious runner who deemed peanut butter as being as fattening. She, like many of my clients, was complaining about her efforts to stay away from peanut butter. When I told her I consider peanut butter to be one of the best sports foods around, a great big smile appeared on her face.
Indeed, peanut butter can beneficially fit into your sports diet and is a good way to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. In fact, the more often you eat peanut butter (and nuts), the lower your risk of heart disease. (Hu, J Am College Nutr 20(1):5, 2001) Enjoy peanut butter (instead of butter) on toast, and PB & banana for a "decadent" snack in place of ice cream. Trade that burger (saturated fat) for a peanut butter sandwich!
Even the commercial peanut butters (like Jif or Skippy) are health-promting. They have a very small amount of bad (hydrogenated/saturated) fat. To minimize your intake of even this small amount of unhealthful fat, you can buy all-natural peanut butter. Don't like the way the oil in this type of peanut butter separates to the top of the jar? Simply store the jar upside down. That way, the oil rises to what becomes the bottom of the jar when you turn it over to open it. And if you eat peanut butter daily, you won't have to refrigerate it, thereby making the all-natural peanut butter easier to spread.
Despite popular fear, peanut butter eaters are not fatter than abstainers. Sure, if you mindlessly overeat spoonfuls of peanut butter at 10:00 pm, it can be fattening (as can be any food). But incorporating a few tablespoons into your daily meals is an investment in both a happy tummy and good health.
Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
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