Hurray! It turns out peanut butter has been unfairly maligned as a diet buster all these years.😀
Numerous studies have shown that people who eat nuts* are less likely to develop diabetes or heart disease.
Rethinking Peanut Butter
I first learned about the benefits of peanut butter when I developed gestational diabetes. My registered dietitian told me that if I got hungry between meals “Get a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.” This was no hardship.
I followed her tips, found it pretty easy to stick to a carbohydrate-controlled meal plan and gained only the recommended amount of weight.
Revisiting Peanut Butter
I thought about peanut butter again last summer, when I was unhappy that my HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over a three month period) had crept up. I knew one step to take: Cut the carbs in nighttime snacks.
A night owl, knew I wasn’t going to quit snacking. I needed to find a snack that would be satisfying, and blood-sugar friendly.
I’d measure out a couple of tablespoons, then eat the peanut butter plain or with a small serving of low fat crackers.
My HbA1c went down – no surprise, because there are studies that suggest peanut butter is good for blood sugar. But there also was an unexpected benefit – I lost weight.😀
Peanut Butter and Weight Loss
There’s not strong research that shows peanut butter can help in weight loss. I think that my weight loss came down to simple math: By eating those two tablespoons of “fattening” peanut butter – about 190 calories – I felt filled up, and stayed away from refined carbs at night.
Unlike refined carbs, peanut butter does not cause blood sugar swings that cause hunger and cravings. The calories in refined carbs add up very quickly. Without realizing it, I was saving hundreds of calories a day.
Portion, Type of Peanut Butter Matters
Experts recommend limiting peanut butter to a tablespoon or two a day. And it’s important to buy peanut butter that has no added hydrogenated oils or sweeteners. The ingredients on the label should say “peanuts and salt” or just “peanuts.”
Plain peanut butter is becoming easier to find in supermarkets; Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter has been around for years and is less costly than some of the newer brands.
Since it contains no stabilizers, a newly opened jar of Smucker’s has a thick layer of oil on the top. It’s hard to blend in the oil, but once it’s mixed, it stays mixed. I love the unadulterated taste of the peanuts, as does most of my family (one outlier.)
Enjoy peanut butter, guilt free!
Ways to Eat Peanut Butter
With a spoon😀
With a small sliced apple
Spread on celery
With whole grain crackers
Stirred into plain oatmeal
* Peanuts are technically legumes, not nuts, but scientists include them when conducting studies on nuts.