Oh, the peanut butter aisle! One wonders how such a simple, delicious creation could be so complex. Really though, it’s not supposed to be. Peanut butter should simply be nuts pulverized into a delicious mash — that’s it! So, to keep you from going nuts at the grocery store, here are some helpful suggestions.
Standard peanut butter is defined as being 90% peanuts with only 10% allowed for seasoning and stabilizing oils . Peanut butter “spread” does not meet this qualification. Manufacturers have more leeway to add unnecessary ingredients. (Remember: less is more.)
In general, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter should contain about 200 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate (1 to 2 grams of sugar), and 7 grams of protein. Anything with more than 3 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons is a tip off that your peanut butter has added sugar. You don’t need it—that’s jelly’s job!
There is no specific regulation around the term “natural” . In fact, any food can carry this label as long as it doesn’t contain artificial flavors or synthetic substances. Generally, “natural” peanut butter means it is made with only 2 ingredients: peanuts and salt. But, when it comes to “natural” peanut butter, you have to watch out for the ingredients. Manufacturers can add sweeteners and partially hydrogenated oils and still call it “natural.”
Surprisingly, the ingredients list on some jars don’t start with peanuts. Be sure the one you pick up lists peanuts and salt as the first two, and avoid these sneaky ingredients:
If your goal is to choose the healthiest peanut butter possible, you’ll want to avoid labels with these confusing buzzwords.
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