I’m all for a flexible diet and eating less than optimal foods in moderation. But I feel pretty strongly that peanut butter is the perfect food and doesn’t need to be messed with. I’m not telling you that any of these NEED to be avoided. But I do want to dive a bit into the ingredients…
The popular spreadable peanut butters typically contain hydrogenated vegetable oil. Oil is naturally liquid at room temperature, but hydrogenated oil is processed (hydrogen is added) to be solid & spreadable at room temperature. Using this ingredient allows the peanut butter to stay nice and smooth (getting rid of the natural oil separation) and increases the shelf life.
Now let’s look at the reduced-fat peanut butter. That ingredient list is a bit longer. Sugar gets added in the form of corn syrup because when you remove the natural fat from peanut butter, it has to be replaced with something to get the same consistency (hence the higher carbs). There’s also more added hydrogenated vegetable oil along with mono & diglycerides, which are additives that help prevent the oil separation in PB. These get tricky because they are technically also fat, but not required to be included in the nutritional info.
Natural PB can be a better choice than the previous two, but in a lot of cases, they will also contain added palm oil and sugar. Are these things bad? I suppose that depends on who you ask. But in the case of peanut butter, they are totally unnecessary.
That’s why I like to stick to peanut butter that is simply ground up peanuts and maybe some added salt. If I can grind up my own at the store, that’s the BEST.
Added sugar is completely unnecessary as peanut butter has a natural sweetness to it. The oil separation in organic PB can be a pain in the ass, but a good stir is all it takes to have delicious peanut butter with none of the unnecessary ingredients.
I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat, but I want to educate you to be able to make that decision. Eat whichever you like, but I’ll stick to my basic peanut butter!