Is Peanut Butter Fattening?

Is Peanut Butter Fattening?

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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Peanut Butter

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!

fiber in peanut butter

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.

Peanut Butter on Toast

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!

What to Look For in Peanut Butter

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.

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38 thoughts on “Is Peanut Butter Fattening?

  1. This is truly full of useful information.
    My son eats peanut butter a lot and also does a lot of workout but does not use butter. I always wondered why.
    I know peanut has a lot of fibre and fat but didn’t know the oil is comparable to olive oil.
    I like the way you also explained the salt content in relation to the quality of butter purchased.
    The calorie content is what tends to put people off but this balanced off by the goodies you also find in the nut.

  2. Hello Chris,
    Great article and information if Peanut Butter is Fattening.
    I was surprised to read that is actually good to eat peanut butter, of course in reasonable amounts.
    But it does make sense, I just never thought on the subject.
    But do you think I will be able to find peanut butter without sugar at all?

    1. Hi Ilina,
      There are numerous versions and makes of peanut butter out there but it depends where you live really. What country do you reside in? The more organic versions tend to have less salt and sugar in them ( usually! )

        1. Well that’s good to hear Ilina – I’m sure there are a couple of organic brands out there on sale 🙂
          P.S. My partner is from Sofia! ( Bulgaria! )

          1. LOL I’ll have to tell her! I haven’t been out there yet but we’ve got a ten month old son that needs to meet his Bulgarian Family…so we should be over there soon! 🙂

  3. Yum. I’m obsessed with peanut butter. I put a tablespoon into my banana breakfast smoothies for a protein boost. Peanut butter n celery sticks also tastes good. Yes I suppose it’s fattening if you eat the entire jar, but it’s not a food you need to be eating huge quantities of to gain the benefits. The organic version is best as you say, because it has little sugar. I’ve also enjoyed other no put butters such as almond and cashew.

  4. The exact article I was looking for!

    Yeah, it may sound interesting as I’m a (more than) chubby guy myself. I still can affirm that you will gain less from peanut butter thatn you would expect.

    I started to eat peanut butter two years ago. That was the time I cut sugar and sweets. Since that time I’ve lost 20 kilograms while eating peanut butter (not only that though haha :-D).

    You are right on that it gives you a feeling of being fulfilled without eating a lot. And indeed, full of all goods for your body!

    1. Hi Daniel – congratulations with the weight loss! 20 kilograms is a great result so stick at it ( and pat yourself on the back! ) 🙂

  5. Hello. You cover peanut butter which seems so popular in USA. For me it is a strange taste. I was introduced ten years ago as adult. I thought why people liked it so much?
    I think it is a habit from childhood.It is easy to prepare and it is fulfilling.
    As you provide here information, it looks a great additional type of food. It contains nutrients, which are vital to our body.
    What is about fat, I do not think so that it can be fattening. We do not consume so much, that it could make harm for us.
    I hope that your visitors would find information helpful and would be back hungry for another peanut butter sandwich.
    All the best, Nemira.

    1. Hi Nemira,
      Yeah it’s definitely a taste picked up from the childhood years I think – much like Marmite!
      Glad you enjoyed the post ( and nice to see you back here again! )

  6. I love peanut butter Chris and I’m glad you put out a post on it!

    I work in a gym and I train almost every day so I find when you’re training hard and working toward any health and fitness goals that you have then you can get stuck into peanut butter without having to worry too much about it being fattening!

    I think the problem with most is that they don’t put in the hard training in the first place so they can afford to have the likes of peanut butter, cottage cheese, Greek yogurts or honey without having to worry about the consequences but if you’re training hard as you well know a lot of the time you need this stuff!

    Thanks again for a great post and making people aware of the context within being allowed to incorporate peanut butter into their nutrition!


    1. You’re welcome Stephen!
      It’s nice to have the opinion of someone who works in a gym – thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts on the matter 🙂

  7. I am happy to hear you are pro-peanut butter! 🙂 It’s so easy to add to things like smoothies to keep you full and get some protein in.

    Thanks for the reminder about the sugar content, too. I sometimes forget and grab non-natural peanut butter, and then I get home and remember that sometimes it has icing sugar in it. Icing sugar!

    1. Hi Samantha,

      Yeah I tried a smoothie with peanut butter in it just last week – was really surprised at how good it tasted and how subtle it was!

  8. Finally somebody makes an awesome post about peanut butter! I love peanut butter and it has become a part of my everyday diet. You mentioned some good facts about peanut butter and debunked some of the myths that people think of when they hear peanut butter. Other than the sodium and sugar content peanut butter is a great way to get and maintain energy throughout the day.

    1. Hey there Kyle – nice to hear you enjoyed the article!

      I’m a big peanut butter fan myself ( as you can probably tell! ). Just keep an eye on the sodium and sugar levels of each brand – organic is usually the best choice…but also the most expensive! 🙂

  9. Hi there Chris,

    I am a die-hard fan of peanut butter, especially when they come in combo with chocolate spreads. But ever since mom is diagnosed with diabetes, we have cut down a lot of sugary stuff in the kitchen and I am consuming less too.

    When you mention the sugar content, how does more sugar makes a peanut butter cheaper? Don’t you pay more when you use more of an ingredient?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      The cheaper brands which include a lot of sugar are usually aiming on providing more taste than the organic alternatives! You’ll always find their sodium and sugar levels much higher!

  10. Great review on peanut butter when I used to do early morning training I would have peanut butter on a bagel and post sick for convenience I shredded up quick with the fullness and energy I would get from the p butter there’s also almond butter out there which is really nice

  11. Well it seems that if you stay away from the cheaper peanut butters with all the sugar and don’t eat a jar for a snack the fattening factor of PB is pretty slim. Taking into consideration the healthy monounsaturated fats I would say that peanut butter is one of the best bang for your buck.

  12. Ahhhhh peanut butter! My father was a daily user of peanut butter for his lunch pail for 35 years! As a kid we ate tons of the stuff for snacks, for questionable sandwiches such as sweet pickles and peanut butter or peanut butter and ketchup (?) etc.

    Yes this is indeed a healthy snack in a lot of ways compared to the other sugary, instant high and crash, supposadly good for you but not really snack thingys you will find out there…

    I still use it today (over 50 years later) and although it is not a food I eat on a regular or daily basis anymore, believe there are so many other worse alternatives out there…

    There are a lot of recipes I use it for in asian style cooking, it seems to have taken on popularity in places such as the Philippines, China and elsewhere even more than in USA from what I have seen…

    Thanks for reminding us all that the bad rap that peanut butter gets is unwarranted, and due to the mono-unsaturated oils is actually better than the suchrose or corn syrup fatty snacks we get pushed on us!

    1. Hey Dave,

      Sweet pickles and peanut butter or peanut butter and ketchup – WOW that’s pretty inventive mate! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your mad recipes with us 🙂

  13. Very informative article. I’m surprised that many people don’t know that peanut butter is very healthy not only for your heart, but also to build muscle. It’s also very easy to metabolized. Anything, no mater how good it is, if you don’t use it properly, it will be bad for you. Meat and chocolate were made to be enjoyed, the problem start when people over eat and then blame it on the foods. Anyway, great article, nice to see you do some justice for the peanut butter =)

    1. Another fan of peanut butter are we Vhuynh? Great to hear – it really is a hidden gem ( as long as it is eaten in moderation as you’e pointed out! ).

  14. Hi Chris,

    As usual your article is just amazing!
    I eat a lot of peanuts better, but without sugar added and organic. My children love peanuts better as well. We eat it with crackers and jam without sugar on it. I am persuaded that it is very healthy and not fattening, but I have heard that it is not so good for the Cholesterol. Is this right? What do you think?
    Thank you

    1. Organic peanut butter will be fine Daniella – it contains the ‘good fat’ which is actually heart healthy. Remember though – everything in moderation ( don’t go eating it 10 times a day! )

  15. I can still remember the days when I used to mix peanut butter with my protein shakes to gain weight. They are very high in calories and if you eat just one table of it, it will feel like you have eaten a whole bunny chow.

    It is a very nutrient dense food that plays a vital role in nutrition.

  16. I’ve been dealing with high cholesterol problem recently…possbily due to genetic. So I’ve trying to watch what I eat and I heard nuts are great when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol level. Then I’m not a big fan of just eating nuts lol. So I used to just munch on peanut butter when I’m hungry. But now I’m having a second thought if this will be good for my cholesterol problem or not.

  17. Oh how I love peanut butter and it is gratifying to learn that it is in fact not as bad for you as some may think.
    This post has a lot of information about the benefits of peanut butter including all the nutrients it contains.
    As my subject is Magnesium, knowing this product has Mg within it as well as the other nutrients makes it a great snack which has many health benefits which definitely outway the calories issue.
    As with everything, taken in moderation I think peanut butter has its place in a healthy nutritious diet as long as it is of the best quality and as you say, you get what you pay for. By the way, do you happen to know how much Mg is in peanut butter? Thanks for the post. Ches

  18. What a greatly written article on whether peanut butter is fattening. I must admit that all peanut butter products and snacks which I use have a lot of sugar in, but as you say in the artcle, you get what you pay for. As someone who is looking to lose weight i will definitely look at the sugar content next

  19. Thank you for your article answering the question “is peanut butter fattening?” You cover a lot of ground and make some very good points about enjoying peanut butter and fitting it into a healthy lifestyle. My wife and I both enjoy peanut butter. We have this week started Phase 2 of the South Beach diet and are doing very well. We are allowed natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons, which is not a very large portion. We do have it as you suggested on celery since we are very limited on carbs at this point. The recipe you shared for peanut butter popsicles is one we are going to try. We are at a point where we can have one fruit a day and this would make an excellent snack. You are right when you say that little bit of peanut butter goes a long way in achieving that full feeling…Dennis

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