Kids love it – and adults do too. Who can resist the creamy taste of peanut butter? Whether it’s spread on crackers, toast, or enjoyed on a sandwich – peanut butter satisfies. Unfortunately, that satisfaction usually comes with too many calories and too much fat. In the quest for a no fat peanut butter, many people end up buying a jar of lower fat peanut butter from their grocery store. Is low fat peanut butter healthy?
Lower Fat Peanut Butter May Have Unhealthy Fats
Low fat peanut butter has less fat than regular peanut butter, but the difference isn’t huge. An average serving of regular peanut butter contains around sixteen grams of fat, while the lower fat version has about twelve grams. The problem is the type of fat in lower fat peanut butters. Some low fat peanut butter contains hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, which increase the risk of heart disease. Fortunately, the amount of trans fats in peanut butter is very small, but why get any at all?
Peanut butter is a naturally good source of monounsaturated fats – the heart healthy kind when it’s in its unprocessed state. Natural peanut butters can be purchased freshly ground at most natural food markets – or you can often grind your own right in the store. How’s that for fresh? It’s better to get a few more monounsaturated fat grams with natural peanut butter, than it is to buy lower fat peanut butter with trans fats – even if it is only a small amount.
No Fat Peanut Butter?: Out With the Fat, In With the Sugar
You might expect a lower fat peanut butter to be lower in calories. This isn’t usually the case. In fact, the calorie count is pretty similar – thanks to the added sugar. When manufacturers take out the fat, they add more sugar or corn syrup to compensate for the lack of creaminess. Trading monounsaturated fats for sugar isn’t a good trade-off. Sugar may also be hiding in low fat peanut butter – in the form of starches called maltodextrins. This starch may not be accounted for when you read the sugar content on the label.
No Fat and Low Fat Peanut Butter: The Bottom Line?
There really isn’t a no fat peanut butter – but, overall, low fat peanut butters aren’t as good for you as natural peanut butter purchased from a health food store. You’ll get more healthy fats with natural peanut butter – and a lot less sugar. As far as calories? Eat it in moderation.