High in calories and high in fat (good fat though, right?) are two ways to describe this smooth and creamy treat we love to put on bananas, celery and even ice cream. While peanut butter does provide your body with much-needed nutrients, it's important to remember that a little goes a long way. We've found that it's hard to eat just one serving of peanut butter, and, depending on the brand, it may actually be causing more harm than good.
Of course, peanut butter does have some good qualities that are important to recognize. For those able to control themselves and eat only one serving, peanut butter can actually help aid in weight loss. Chock full of fiber and protein, it helps keep you fuller longer so you eat less overall. By offering a hint of sweetness and richness, it fights off cravings for sugar — a dieter's nightmare. Other benefits include:
Even in moderation, peanut butter does have a few disadvantages that are important to note. Typically, extra sugar is added to many common brands causing the calorie count to be even higher. To keep peanut butter from separating, cheap oils — such as palm oil — are added. Palm oil adds significantly more saturated fat to the already high-in-fat food. It's also very hard to eat just one serving. In other words, peanut butter is just a little too tasty, if we say so ourselves. Eating three servings will put you at more than 600 calories and 45 grams of fat — that's an entire meal's worth!
Reduced-fat. Though reduced-fat peanut butter contains about 25 percent less fat than regular peanut butter, it's the good fat that's reduced. Surprisingly, it has the same amount of saturated fat (the bad kind) than regular peanut butter. Even if you're trying to lose weight, go for the full-fat peanut butter to maximize health benefits.
Natural. This is by far the best type of peanut butter for you. It has no added oils to prevent the peanut butter from separating. Because of this, natural peanut butter needs to be stirred before each use. Make sure to choose the natural peanut butters with no added sugars or salt, as well.
Enjoying natural peanut butter in moderation is our best bet. Whether trying to lose weight or simply be healthier, natural peanut butter (with veggies) can be a good choice for an afternoon snack a few times a week. If you find yourself going overboard more often than not, it's best to skip this treat altogether.
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