Peanut butter is great. It can make pretty much everything taste better and is a source of protein, healthy fats and fibre. But when you’re at the supermarket and see such a range of different peanut butters, which one should you chose? Is there a difference between the $2 and the $12 jars?
You can get a good choice without needing to spend lots of money on a spread. However, not all peanut butter is created equal.
Things to consider when buying:
Added oils – peanut butter should be crushed peanuts which are full of healthy fats. There isn’t a need to have extra oils, which may be coming from less healthy sources of fats.
Added salt – having too much salt can increase risk of high blood pressure and other medical conditions. It also affects our perceptions of taste, needing foods to be a certain saltiness to be enjoyed.
Added sugar – most diets have adequate or excessive amounts of added sugar. Eating a small amount is important for energy production, having too much can increase risk of weight gain, lifestyle diseases and dental decay.
“Natural” – in a nutshell, peanut butter doesn’t need to be fancy to give you some great nutritional benefits. “Natural” is a marketing term, since there aren’t any peanut butters on the market made with some sort of synthetic peanut.
Added seeds/nuts/cacao – this is more about taste preference. These are great since they add variety (which is the spice of life) but not necessary if you don’t want to.
American style – usually made with sugar, salt, oil and molasses to give it the signature American style taste. See above.
Organic – meaning that it has been grown without the use of pesticides. There aren’t any added nutritional benefits and there is debate about which is actually better for the environment (considering how much more of an organic product needs to be grown to produce the same yield).
And the final question – crunchy or smooth? Up to you!