When I first took on a serious running regime I was coaxed into certain kinds of ‘sports product foods’ to aid my endurance and performance. Various energy bars, protein powders and weight gain shakes – you name it and I wasted money on it!
I was led down a sticky path by fellow athletes and dieters who were full to the brim with misinformation. I was consuming manufactured sports food when I could so easily of been concentrating on real food.
I was surprised to find that one of these foods was a childhood favorite of mine – peanut butter!
But I had heard so many conflicting views on this gooey substance – “Oh it’s so fattening” and “You’ll never lose weight eating that mate!”. Surely this calorie-dense loveliness couldn’t fit into a REAL sports diet?
So…is peanut butter fattening?
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Hunger is a problem that will never go away, no matter how hard you try, it will always come out victorious. Your best bet is to eat foods that keep you feeling full for as long as possible.
So you want to be concentrating on foods that contain high levels of protein and fiber, like nuts! ( see where I’m going with this? ).
As an example let’s take a slice of pure white bread – not exactly perfect for a diet but we’ll use it anyway!
If you toast that bread, cut it in half, and then smother it will peanut butter it will fill you for twice as long as if you’d just consumed the WHOLE piece with standard butter.
The protein and fiber in peanut butter manages to attach itself to your ribs and is not that fattening by itself. The problem arises when you then overeat on your calorie count for that day…
You’ve Gotta Have Heart!
Peanut butter can act as a vital ingredient in a heart-healthy meal because it contains mono and polyunsaturated oil.
Most popular snacks contain saturated fats which tend to work the opposite way at the end of the day – switch that bag of chips or snack burger for a couple of slices of peanut butter on brown grained bread.
As well as heart disease, peanut butter can also decrease your risk of diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
The Peanut Energy Boost
This was the main selling point for me – the energy boost I would receive when completing my run each day. Peanut butter contains sound amounts of healthy fats and protein which produce calories which are perfect for a energy hit.
The Nutrient Boost
Peanut butter just so happens to be a wicked source of Vitamin E, B-6, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
What to Look For in Peanut Butter
If you visit a local store you will see several brands of peanut butter at varying prices. As with most things in life – you get what you pay for!
Sodium – Organic versions of peanut butter ( always the most expensive choice! ) will always have less sodium content. Most ‘regular’ versions of peanut butter have 40 mg to 250 mg per 2-tablespoon serving.
Sugar Content – Again, if you skimp on the price you are going to end up with an unhealthier choice of product. More expensive natural and organic choices will usually have about 1 to 2 g of sugar content. The cheaper options will have at least twice this amount in them.
Healthy Peanut Butter Snacks
Now, I’m not claiming to be the king of the kitchen here, but I do have a few simple tricks up my sleeve when it comes to peanut butter. After all, not everyone is keen on the plain version of the traditional spread…
#1 Peanut Butter Dips
I recently discovered that peanut butter makes an awesome dip sauce for whole grain pretzels, crackers or bread sticks. If you prefer to go a little more ‘natural’ why not try it as a dip for celery sticks or apple slices?
#2 Peanut Butter Popsicles
This is a pretty groovy way of taking on some peanut butter in a refreshing summer way! Simply half a handful of bananas and stick popsicle sticks into one end of them. Then, on the flat ‘cut side’ of the banana, simply spread a layer of smooth peanut butter.
Chuck them in the freezer for a few hours and then enjoy ( adding coconut flakes to the finished article is also a nice way to naturally sweeten the treat! ).
#3 Peanut Butter Cookies
This is a great way of cooking up some tasty cookies with low butter content. Simply add an amount of peanut butter to the cookie recipe and cut well back on the amount of traditional butter you use.
( As well as cookies, peanut butter also adds a rich flavor to breads, such as banana bread or zucchini bread ).
Conclusion – is Peanut Butter Fattening?
Well yes I’d have to say it is…but only if you are consuming it for the wrong reasons! Sure it has a lot of calories, but it’s full of the same healthy monounsaturated fats as olive oil.
By consuming foods like peanut butter, avocados and olive oil you are giving yourself the feeling of fullness resulting in less snacking between meals.