*Target’s Made To Matter program brings together 20 purpose-driven brands to make natural, organic and sustainable products more accessible to consumers. The products meet at least one of these five criteria: reduced waste and packaging, reduced sugar, dietary and allergen restrictions, clean label products and closed loop systems.
†Editor’s Note: People are healthy; products are healthful.
WHY IS PEANUT BUTTER HEALTHY?
Doesn’t it have saturated fat?
Here’s an abridged response from Walter C. Willett, M.D., Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health
The presence of saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick a food into the “unhealthy” camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu [are healthy foods that] have some saturated fat. It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.
Let’s take a look at the peanut butter [fat] package. One serving (about 2 tablespoons) has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat.
(Justin’s Snack Packs have a bit less than 2 tablespoons of PB. Here’s more on the different types of fats and how good they are for you.)
Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium. That profile compares quite favorably with bologna, roast beef, and many other sandwich fixings [unsalted PB is even better].
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.
Saturated fat isn’t the deadly toxin it is sometimes made out to be. The body’s response to saturated fat in food is to increase the amounts of both harmful LDL and protective HDL in circulation. In moderation, some saturated fat is okay. Eating a lot of it, though, promotes artery-clogging atherosclerosis, the process that underlies most cardiovascular disease. In contrast, unsaturated fats, which make up the majority of the fat content in peanut butter, help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
In other words, as with most things, enjoy it in moderation.