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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 17, 2012

How Bad is Peanut Butter, Really?

By Mark Sisson
428 Comments

Man, you guys really love your peanut butter.

I get at least one email a week from a devoted reader of the blog who just can’t shake the desire (that feels like a need) to eat peanut butter on a regular basis. They’re on board with everything else. They’ve ditched grains and vegetable oils. They’re walking more and getting better sleep. They’re getting sun and eating more vegetables than ever before. They’ve switched to grass-fed beef (sometimes liver, too!) and wild-caught fish. They’ve even happily dumped all the other legumes, except for that persistent, palatable peanut. The more dedicated among them may be soaking, sprouting, roasting, and grinding their own peanuts into peanut butter, but they’re still eating peanut butter – a “forbidden” food on the Primal eating plan.

I’m talking questions like this:

Dear Mark,

I have been following MDA for about a year now and last I week I finally went primal.  So far I have not had any issues with giving up grains (no cravings), except I cannot shake my peanut butter addiction! I eat a small bowl full of peanut butter with banana slices for a snack and I know it is awful for me! I eat very healthy foods for the rest of the day (eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, meat and veggies for dinner) but the peanut butter is probably preventing progress! Help!

Lucy

I don’t want people to feel deprived, nor do I enjoy stripping from them the ability to enjoy their favorite foods, but I also want people to make the best and healthiest food choices possible. To do that, we need to examine the evidence. We need to give peanut butter the rice and oat treatment. We need to figure out whether or not peanut butter is really all that bad. Let’s go, shall we?

First, The Good.

What’s good about peanut butter? Why would we ever want to eat it?

It’s tasty.

I’ll admit it: peanut butter is quite delicious. I’ve never much cared for actual peanuts – they were okay, but not something I sought out – but I’d always grab a spoon or dip a finger for some peanut butter.

It contains nutrients.

It’s food, so of course it has something to it. But what?

Peanut butter is a decent source of thiamin, niacin, folate, and magnesium. It’s actually fairly rich in polyphenols, particularly when roasted (which increases the coumaric acid content considerably). Peanuts also contain small amounts of CoQ10 and resveratrol, though I’d much rather get those from beef heart, sardines, and red wine, personally.

Now, The Bad.

Why should we avoid it? What’s not to like about peanut butter? I’m not even going to discuss the soybean oil and sugar-laden garbage that passes for peanut butter, because my readers definitely aren’t asking about that stuff. They’re doing natural butter with peanuts (and salt) as likely the only ingredient.

It generally contains aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring fungal toxins, or mycotoxins, produced by certain members of Aspergillus, a type of fungus found pretty much everywhere throughout the world. Aspergillus tends to colonize any monosaccharide and polysaccharide it comes across, as long as the conditions are right, but peanuts are particularly susceptible. Most crops are colonized after harvest and during storage, but since Aspergillus is found in the soil (among other places) and peanuts grow underground, peanut colonization often occurs well before harvest. The result is that peanuts are among the most contaminated crops, along with corn and cottonseed.

I wrote about the negative effects in a previous post, which I’ll sum up for you:

Aflatoxin, being a toxin, is metabolized by the liver. Large enough doses of aflatoxin are a liver carcinogen in high doses (it’s actually what T. Colin Campbell used to induce liver cancer in mice during his China Study crusade to indict animal protein). Early exposure and elevated bloods level of aflatoxin are associated with stunted growth in children.

Interestingly, it seems that the peanut butter-making process dramatically reduces the aflatoxin content of the initial peanuts, by around 89% (PDF). In the study, roasting at 160 degrees C reduced aflatoxin by 51%. Blanching, or skin removal, reduced it by 27%. Finally, grinding the peanuts into butter removed another 11% of the aflatoxin, probably because of the heat (not the actual grinding). So if you’re going to eat peanuts, stick with a good butter.

It contains peanut agglutinin.

As of now, the harmful effects of peanut agglutinin, a peanut lectin, are mostly speculative, but still compelling:

  • In isolated human colon cancer cells, peanut lectin is a mitogen, or growth-promoter. You generally don’t want cancer cells to divide and increase in number.
  • Altered glycosylation may be at the heart of inflammatory bowel disease-related cancers, like colon cancer.
  • Peanut agglutinin causes colon cancer cell proliferation via altered glycosylation, in an in vitro study.

That said, those are just in vitro studies. They don’t tell us what happens when peanuts are eaten. However, in real live human subjects who ate real peanuts, peanut agglutinin has been shown to make it through the gut lining to end up in the blood stream. That’s a little worrisome, don’t you think?

I want to reiterate, though: eating peanut butter has never been causally linked to the development of colon cancer. In fact, one epidemiological study found that frequent intake of peanuts and peanut products was linked to a lowered incidence of colorectal cancer in Taiwanese women.

It might contain a uniquely atherogenic oil. 

Yeah, peanut oil has a good amount of monounsaturated fat, about 46.8% of the total fatty acid content, which has earned it a solid reputation for heart health in the conventional health world. But it’s also got a significant amount of PUFAs, too. 33% of the total fat is omega-6 linoleic acid, with an essentially nonexistent omega-3 ALA content. You could say that about a lot of nuts, though, and I don’t think the PUFA content is the big determinant here. It doesn’t help, but it’s not a deal breaker on its own. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Peanut oil has favorable effects on standard lipid panels. LDL drops, total drops, total:HDL ratio drops. The jury is out on how much that all matters, but eating peanut oil will probably make your cardiologist happy. Awesome, right? Maybe, but peanut fat appears to be uniquely atherogenic despite the lipid effects. For decades, it’s been used by scientists to induce atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rats, rabbits, and primates. Some researchers think that peanut lectins, present in the oil, are the cause of the atherogenicity. Reduction of the lectin content of peanut oil, through “vigorous washing,” also reduces the atherosclerosis it causes (although not completely).

You know what else reduces the peanut lectin content? Not eating any peanut butter.

It’s a little too tasty.

There’s something about the combination of fat, salt, protein, and smooth scoopability of peanut butter that promotes overeating. I wasn’t able to bring up any concrete studies on the pro-bingeing effects of peanut butter in humans (though if you run a Google search for “peanut butter addiction,” you’ll get a bevy of testimonials from all sorts of people claiming to be addicted to the stuff), I believe it. And I bet obesity researchers who typically work with rodents would believe it, too, since peanut butter is often used in these studies as a high-reward, obesogenic comfort food that rats and mice will readily and consistently overeat.

Ultimately, to feverishly scoop in a ravenous frenzy or not to feverishly scoop in a ravenous frenzy is a choice you have to make. I wouldn’t recommend eating peanut butter very regularly, and I know I won’t for the reasons mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. The inclusion – or exclusion – of peanut butter (or peanuts in general) will not make or break your Primal cred. There are a lot of things you want to have under control before obsessing over peanut butter, like grains, omega-6 oils, sleep, exercise, play, daily low level activity level, quality of meat, etc. You get those under control and then start thinking about some peanut butter as a treat every now and then, if ever.

As I see it, the easy answer is to just not eat it, because I don’t see anything at which it particularly excels (besides inducing people to eat the entire jar in a single sitting). You can get your polyphenols and your minerals from fruits and vegetables, your monounsaturated fat from meat, olive oilmac nuts, and avocados, and your smooth pulverized salty nutty fix from almond butter, mac nut butter, coconut butter, or any other nut butter – without the peanut lectin, the weirdly atherogenic fat, the aflatoxin load, or the insatiable desire to eat more and more and more until it’s all gone and your forearm is sticky.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say: I don’t have a peanut butter habit.

Anyway, let’s hear from you guys. Do you eat peanut butter? Are you addicted? Are you able to stop with just a bite or two? And most importantly, has your peanut butter habit negatively affected your results? Let me know in the comment section!

TAGS:  nuts/seeds

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428 Comments on "How Bad is Peanut Butter, Really?"

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Mel
Mel
4 years 4 months ago

I used to be addicted to peanut butter but now a tablespoon of almond butter once in awhile does the trick for me!

After eating almond butter for several months peanut butter tastes horrible. It is too sweet and I can literally taste the chemicals in it.

Try almond butter!!

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

I do eat some almond butter. When I buy it, I think Hey! That’s good! Half way through the jar, I bored and eventually throw the jar away. It is not peanut butter.

pam
pam
4 years 4 months ago
thanks for such thorough breakdown of peanut butter! i used to love it on toasted bagel. as a kid i used to blend my own peanut butter smoothie (peanuts butter + milk + sometimes banana) after i switched my diet, i did try almond butter. bleh, i just dont’ care for it. not the same. so i also threw away 2/3 of the whole jar. i much prefer dry roasted almonds (or other nuts) to the butter. for peanuts, it’s the opposite. go figure! i also tried other nut butter including coconut butter. also ended up throwing away most of… Read more »
Allison
Allison
4 years 4 months ago

+1 About the ‘chemical’ taste of peanut butter. It just tastes too processed to me. I’ve finally converted my kids to almond butter, but only “Barney Butter” brand and it still tastes awfully processed to me… too smooth, too sweet, too much like a bad for you thing!

na
na
4 years 4 months ago

Almond butter often tastes rancid to me. At least the maranatha brand.
I don’t know why you think peanut butter tastes like chemicals. If you buy organic and natural peanut butter, it just tastes like peanut.
Also, if we go by your logic of excluding foods that taste too sweet, too smooth, too much like a bad think for you, then we should throw out sweet cream butter.
Butter and nut butter probably go through the same level of processing, so one is not ‘better’ because it is less processed.

Elle
Elle
4 years 4 months ago

I also think Maranatha almond butter tastes rancid. In fact, for years I thought I hated almond butter because of that. Now I make my own almond butter at home in the food processor and it’s delicious! Alittle too delicious…

David Cole
David Cole
4 years 4 months ago

try justin’s almond butter. it’s perfect.

Abbie
Abbie
4 years 4 months ago

I also like Justin’s almond butter, and it comes in little 2T packets for automatic portion control.

Brandon
Brandon
4 years 4 months ago

Yes! I recently bought my first jar of Maranatha no-stir almond butter (the one with palm oil in it) and the scent and flavor made me think it was rancid. The only other kind I’ve eaten is from Trader Joe’s. It didn’t contain palm oil, and I thought it tasted good. But I do still miss peanut butter a little.

Lance
Lance
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve had the same problem with Maranatha brand. I prefer Trader Joe’s. I must admit to being a peanut butter fan, but this has become a great substitute:

1-2 TB of almond butter.
1 TB of Kerrygold butter.
1 packet of stevia – I have also tried a small amount of honey (raw, local), which I prefer. Still deciding on this one…
Vanilla extract
Cinnamon
Lightly toasted walnuts (I buy raw and just quick toast them myself)

Blend it all together with a fork. Put it in the fridge to set up. Enjoy.

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago

Taste is a very individual thing. Cilantro tastes like heaven to some people. To others it tastes like dirty socks or underwear.

I buy organic peanut butter spread, so labeled because it has palm oil. I just tasted some. To me, it isn’t sweet. And I have thoroughly lost my sweet tooth. No chemical taste, which there should not be if it’s organic. Different strokes.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 4 months ago

I converted or organic peanutbutter a few years ago and it is in no way sweet! Just salt and peanuts!

But after going Primal I gave it up and have not missed it once.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 4 months ago

mmm… how do these people know what dirty socks and undies taste like?

Nan
Nan
4 years 4 months ago

hahahahaha oh!my side hurts!

Sheila Toomey
Sheila Toomey
3 years 3 months ago

I am one of those people who think cilantro tastes bad but it’s not a dirty socks & undies thing (have you smelled those? I imagine the taste is the same). I think it’s a soapy taste. I still use in when I’m cooking but I don’t use near as much as any recipe calls for and I’d never garnish with it.

Paleo-curious
3 years 3 months ago

Haha! I think it’s all too easy to imagine what icky things would taste like.

But the first time I tried cilantro, I thought “Yuck, soap!”
The second time, “hmmmm, maybe…”
The third (& ever after) “YUMMM!!! MORE!!!” Now I truly crave the flavor, & guacamole with no cilantro is a sad, sad thing.

I had the same reaction to chicken livers & green smoothies ( not together, mind you!). I think my body’s needs might be overriding my taste buds, but who knows… Just saying, don’t give up after one try.

h
h
3 years 3 months ago

YEAH RIGHT !

Kelle
Kelle
4 years 4 months ago

I low carb, and haven’t even thought about peanut butter in years, although I like almond butter, as long as the almonds have been roasted first. As for cilantro, it tastes like soap to me. I want to like it, but I just can’t get past that flavor. It always ruins a yummy fresh bowl of pico de gallo, IMO. 🙂

Raff
Raff
3 years 6 months ago

Why does it need palm oil? Peanuts already contain their own oil. Just because it says organic don’t think it’s automatically OK. I thought palm oil was nasty stuff.

Moses
Moses
1 year 3 months ago

Palm oil is usually added for the same reason that Hydrogenated oils are added to commercial peanut butter–to keep it from separating.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
4 years 4 months ago

I just purchased fig butter from Trader Joes without looking at the label. I rarely do that. I am not sure why I purchased fig butter, considering I own an unopened jar of almond butter that has been lounging on my lazy susan.

na
na
4 years 4 months ago

Nut butters and fruit butters are two completely different things. I should know, I do my own preserving 🙂
Nut butters are fruits cooked with sugar for a long time into a smooth puree. They taste nothing like nut butters. I would liken the taste of fruit butter to jam.

Maryanne
Maryanne
4 years 4 months ago

I did the same thing! I bought the fig butter from TJ’s thinking it would be a good substitute for my Yiayia’s delicious fig preserves. Negative. My opened, uneaten jar of the fig butter is still in the fridge. I also intensely dislike almond butter, but I could eat an entire jar of PB in one sitting, so I avoid it entirely.

tobias
4 years 4 months ago

just starting on the paleo thing for a week or three, drove my wife a little nuts until we kind of looked at each other and said we have been doing this mostly for ever, yep giving up pasta, breads etc has hurt a bit, but still confused on the whole peanut thing. We eat maybe 1-2 tablespoons unsalted blanched a few times a week and less more and more any problems?

Armen
4 years 4 months ago

If you can taste the chemicals, may I ask if you’re eating organic peanut butter?

@Mark
I appreciate the analysis and breakdown, and I understand why peanut butter doesn’t fit your philosophy of eating what you call ‘primal’, but isn’t it a bit ridiculous to conclude that something is ‘too tasty’?

Admittedly, it’s my wife that’s the nutrition expert, but speaking personally, if people were replacing what they normally snack on with peanut butter, I think they’d be making progress.

As someone who enjoys peanut butter, I don’t believe it to be something that’s problematic in my diet.

Steve
4 years 4 months ago

Yup, almond butter is a great substitute. I think I’m actually addicted to it!

ed
ed
3 years 10 months ago

PB2 powdered peanut butter (amazon) is peanut butter dehydrated with all the oil pressed out.Just add water and you have peanut butter without all the oil and it’s delicious.

andrea noteboom
andrea noteboom
2 years 26 days ago

I am working on gaining weight as I have been very thin.

is eating 6 tbsp a day of peanut butter too much? I need plenty of fats. Does this sound appropriate on a 2300 calorie diet? What other fats would be good?

Claudia
Claudia
1 year 6 months ago

What chemicals do you taste? If it’s all natural organic peanut butter from valencia peanuts, there aren’t chemicals in it?

Merky
Merky
4 years 4 months ago

The way I used to devour Peanut butter is how I know eat almond butter. It takes a little getting used to but it will fill the void 😀

Howard
4 years 4 months ago

I like the taste of peanut butter, but if it’s not around, I don’t crave it. OTOH, my wife would rebel against any diet that denied her access to peanut butter.

For me, almond butter is a good substitute, but even then, I’d just as soon toss a handful into the blender to add flavor to a protein shake.

Cody
Cody
4 years 4 months ago

Used to love peanut butter and jam sandwiches, but as of going relatively primal/paleo haven’t touched the stuff – even tho’ there’s still la jar lurking around the house. So short answer: don’t have any need for the stuff.

Kesha
Kesha
4 years 4 months ago
Cody, you should definitely try this next-best thing to PB&Js! It’s paleo comfort food in a bowl. Put 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh organic blueberries in a bowl and top with 2 Tbsp of almond butter. Microwave for 45-90 seconds (depending on your microwave settings and whether or not your blueberries were frozen). Take it out when the blueberries are heated thoroughly and mash it or mix it together. Oh my gosh, it’s to die for! If you like it and want to experiment, you can also try putting stuff like shredded coconut, cacao nibs, etc. in it. I… Read more »
mars
mars
4 years 4 months ago

Kesha, this sounds awesome thank you! I’m totally trying this later when I get home.. thanks!

Kesha
Kesha
4 years 4 months ago

Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it! I don’t see how anyone couldn’t! haha

Cody
Cody
4 years 4 months ago

I’m going to try that tonite – will let you know if I develop a new addiction 🙂

Kesha
Kesha
4 years 4 months ago

Great, Cody! Please do! I have to watch myself, or else I would eat this everyday for breakfast.

Lori
Lori
4 years 4 months ago

I really could have done without this bit of advice. 🙂 Tried it last night with my homemade blueberry jam. Like I need another “crack snack”.

Harry Mossman
4 years 4 months ago
Yes, I do. Not nearly as much as I used to. Could I stop completely? Sure. Am I going to? No. Because I can restrict myself to a few tablespoons on pork rinds a couple times a week. I have seen “expert’s” opinion flip flop wildly during my 69 years. My grandfather told me that in his youth peanuts were for circus animals. Then George Washington Carver made it seem like they were the source of all life as we know it. In my youth, peanut butter was a staple food. Then the anti-fat people demonized it and the aflatoxin… Read more »
Alex
Alex
4 years 4 months ago

I like this approach. As long as you don’t overeat it, I don’t think it’s going to kill you. It doesn’t actively do harm to you like grains do, so a spoonful once in a while, oh well. You can’t eliminate everything that’s dangerous, even from your diet.

Chrissy
Chrissy
4 years 4 months ago

Exactly. I don’t really eat peanut butter anymore bc I love almond butter now, but, like you said, I don’t think a spoonful here and there is gonna cause any damage. Obviously I’m not for an “everything in moderation” diet, but peanut butter is one of those things that seems fine in minimal amounts. I’ve never been one to eat more than a spoonful at a time anyway.

GeorgeT
GeorgeT
4 years 4 months ago

Agreed. I’m not seeing many clear negatives here, compared to Mark’s takedown of other foods. If people have a problem w/ overeating it, that’s a different kinda problem. (most foods are bad if not in moderation. after all, an all “X” diet isn’t good for you, no matter what X is)

elaine!
4 years 13 days ago

This comment wins. 🙂

Meesha
Meesha
4 years 4 months ago
“…or the insatiable desire to eat more and more and more until it’s all gone and your forearm is sticky.” Ha ha! That describes me with a dark chocolate bar, except for the sticky forearm part. Although, on occasion I do stain my clothes with wayward chocolate shavings. I can only bring a piece of chocolate to work, otherwise I eat the whole bar. And I have to take a little time between chocolate purchases–it helps me to pace myself better. I find that going without it in the house for a week substantially reduces my cravings. Not buying it… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
4 years 4 months ago

I am exactly the same with chocolate! I can eat chocolate at any time of day, sometimes need it as dessert after breakfast. Definitely agree about trying not to buy it for a couple days to reduce the addiction. I try to eat 85-90% though so usually no more than 10 gs of sugar in the whole bar which I figure isn’t all that bad when I generally don’t eat any other sugar.

trackback

[…] is FISH in human diet and some tips about how chose it when you will buy it or how to cook itIs Peanut Butter Healthy?The Power Of Omega 3 FatsOmega 3 and why it should be in your dietDr. Oz on Omega 3 Fatty Acid […]

Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 4 months ago

Back in my vegan days, now happily far, far behind me, I was absolutely addicted to peanut butter and
could eat a whole jar in one sitting – I liked it on everything: bananas, carrots, celery, dates, sandwiches, a spoon, etc. My body must have gotten burnt out on it and nowadays, though I love the way it
smells, I have no desire to eat any, ever.

Carrie S.
Carrie S.
4 years 4 months ago

I feel that way about potatoes. In my dieting days I ate way too many baked potatoes (fat free) topped with salsa. I had no clue what I was doing to myself! It has been at least 10 years since I have had any desire to eat a baked white potato!

Groktimus Primal
4 years 4 months ago

It’s one of those foods that is such an addictive staple that people hope if they ask the question often enough they will get the answer they want. Just the fact that you want it that bad should be a red flag!

Jacq
4 years 4 months ago

LOL story of my life. That’s how I tell what’s not good for my body – foods that bring out the deranged monster in me, who has a black hole for a stomach. Peanut butter, dark choc topped with almond butter, in fact most fat-sugar combos -_-

pam
pam
4 years 4 months ago

how do you know if a craving is real need of your body or addiction?

i have heard that we should “listen to our bodies”

i seems i crave for texture & temperature than taste. i like peanut butter but i don’t crave it. i am also not much of chocolate) so i’m not sure what my body is telling me.

regards,

Cassie
4 years 4 months ago

In Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions she says chocolate cravings are magnesium deficiencies. At least I can tell that for me.

tess
tess
4 years 4 months ago

to my mind, peanut butter belongs in the same category as wheat, corn and soy products, in that they’re CHEAP and therefore have been super-promoted in their processed form. the same kind of people who say they can’t give up their bread — then feel better when they go without it for two weeks — then can’t stomach it when reintroduced, are probably JUST LIKE the peanut-butter addicts.

Magda
Magda
4 years 4 months ago
I make these awesome peanut butter and chocolate candies (very simple: chocolate layer is coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla and honey/stevia; PB layer is PB, vanilla, salt and honey – overall these are very mildly sweet). I have a square (maybe 2 x 2″) 3-4 times a week. I top it with coconut or cocoa nibs. I very rarely will buy the peanut cookie Lara bar – it’s my very favorite but pretty sweet so it’s a treat (only ingredients are peanuts, dates and salt). When I make my nut butter brownies, I use a combo of PB and almond… Read more »
Liz
Liz
4 years 4 months ago

Please provide amounts, I would love to make this, I love peanut butter and will not give it up, just found our recently that it helps with my insomnia, if I eat some peanut butter before bed I sleep MUCH better so there has to be something good about it.

Sally
Sally
4 years 4 months ago

I love peanut butter. Before ditching grains, one of my favorite foods was peanut butter toast with bacon. Now I sometimes eat just bacon with peanut butter spread on top, or peanut butter on carrot sticks. I like almonds but almond butter just doesn’t do it for me. Sunflower seed butter, however, is a whole other animal! At this point I eat nut butter a few times a month and don’t fret about it.

Jeffrey of Troy
4 years 4 months ago

I used to put peanut butter on bread, now I put it on 70% cocoa chocolate – six million times better than the store-bought “cups”. One serving a day of peanut butter is fine for me; the example Mark gave (the e-mailer) seems more psychological to me.

It is not necessary to completely give up all foods of agriculture, just limit them, and make sure to get enough fruit, leaves, and animal fat & protein.

natalie
natalie
4 years 4 months ago

Me Too!!! Baby steps. I switced to organic natural peanut butter and dark chocolate. Now I dip the chocolate into a tbsp or two of pb. Perhaps I will make the switch to almond butter, which I also like, but not as much as peanut butter!!

David Sullivan
David Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

That’s awesome! Bacon and peanut butter are the best! Glad someone else found it, too!

rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for this post Mark. I’m glad to hear that making it into peanut butter makes it less toxic, because my kids love it. On a side note, my four year old just asked me what the little avatars by the comments were. I said, “They’re Groks.” He said, “Oh, I want to be a Grok.” Awesome.

Josh
Josh
4 years 4 months ago

I too used to inhale peanut butter, but before I stumbled upon primal blueprint, I met almond butter. It was love at first scoop. Almond butter is so divine that I now have to be careful around it. I only buy it on occasion because I know how fast I will go through it. One thing that helps slow me down is making my own. It isn’t too much work is you have a decent food processor.

PaleoDruid
4 years 4 months ago

I do love peanut butter, but to be honest, I am just as happy with the occasional almond, cashew, or (mmmmm) macadamia butter.

Primal Toad
4 years 4 months ago

I love peanut butter too. I’m not a real fan of almond butter but macadamia butter? NOM NOM NOM!!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve enjoyed peanut butter. Maybe I should take a spoonful…

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
4 years 4 months ago

“That spoon, that spoon, that spoomful” – “Spoonful” Jazz/Blues standard.

I like the version by Cream.

MamaLovey
MamaLovey
4 years 4 months ago

Howlin’ Wolf!

Paula
Paula
4 years 4 months ago

I have made all my own nut butters for years (just really discovered and switched to primal about 5 mos ago). Now I generally only make mac nut butter (maybe with some almonds) so I have cut way down on the PB. But…I may have a small bite (maybe a small teaspoon) a few times a month. I don’t eat anything else in the legume, sugar or grain categories, so I don’t sweat this little indulgence. I love other nut butters, but there is just somethin’ bout PB….

penny
penny
4 years 4 months ago

CASHEW butter… enough said!!!

mike metcalfe
mike metcalfe
4 years 4 months ago

DITTO Cashew butter a small amount of agave nector on Celery. No better snack on earth.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
4 years 4 months ago

Nuh-uh…macadamia butter! Almond butter’s the last thing my tinnitus needs.

Mike
Mike
4 years 4 months ago

I only eat too much peanut butter when there is a jar of Nutella in the house to go with it!

leida
leida
4 years 4 months ago
I grew up in Eastern Europe, so I tried peanut butter for the first time when I was in my mid-twenties and immigrated. I did not like it. The fact that the jar was rolling around my new husband’s fridge for months might have had something to do with it. Then, in my attempt to go on Anabolic diet and eat lots of fat I started eating PB and got easily addicted to fresh peanut butter and celery or GS apple combination. Now I don’t eat it. I don’t like almond butter that much, but I munch on it once… Read more »
Cody
Cody
4 years 4 months ago

I have not had a problem giving up the peanut butter, but my 6 year old son on the otherhand is a different story. Although I have found that Sunflower seed butter is a great substitute. Is is just as creamy as peanut butter and has that rich, sweet taste as well. Not sure how it racks up against almond butter, but it does come from a seed and not a legume…so I figure it has to be a better alternative. Mark what say you?

Karen
4 years 4 months ago

you may already know this, but some commercial sun-butters have a ton of white sugar, just as an FYI…if that’s something you avoid.

NIck
4 years 4 months ago

Finally a TRUTH about peanut butter from YOU, a good source. Was having a similar debate yesterday with “metabolic healer” about peanut butter. Best NOT to eat it!

Carlos Morales
4 years 4 months ago

I love peanut butter to the point that I have to abstain completely or else I’ll end up eating 3000 calories of it in 20 seconds. When I was “SAD HEALTHY” I ate instant oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter mixed in and it was my favorite meal. After realizing that the oats and peanuts were screwing me up pretty bad, I had to cut them out all together

Ben
Ben
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve got to agree with the last point…
peanut butter has always been one of my favorite foods, and I indulge in it once in a awhile… which has been a problem.

I’ve sat down to have a spoonful (with a little dark chocolate, the world’s greatest food combo), and found myself eating half the container. It’s so damned easy to over-consume… 1500 calories in a heartbeat.

Jacq
4 years 4 months ago

+1 to that! I sink deep into this dark choc + nut butter zone and when I finally become aware of my surroundings again, I have dark choc on my clothes, around my mouth.. argh#^&*

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[…] food choices possible. To do that, we need to examine the … … Read the original post: Is Peanut Butter Healthy? | Mark's Daily Apple ← Money for Nothing: The High Cost of Convenient Food | Flavor […]

Bethany
Bethany
4 years 4 months ago

I second the almond butter! I make my own in my champion juicer. It’s super fast, tasty & peanut butter just doesn’t even compare anymore 🙂

Samantha Moore
Samantha Moore
4 years 4 months ago

Never liked peanut butter- stuck in my throat and made me gag. Every time I ate it. And don’t get me started about peanut butter and honey- the way the honey would kind of get hard next to the peanut butter and the bread— yuk! A poor food over all- the lazy man’s sandwich.

christina
christina
4 years 4 months ago

Peanut butter has always made me sick too!! I could feel it go through my entire digestive system as a lump of pain.

Scott
4 years 4 months ago

Nice overview, Mark. I learn something new every time I read your posts.

Paolo
Paolo
4 years 4 months ago
I agree. Very good info. I like my PB, but when I REALLY think about it, it’s only cause I have read all over that it’s very good for you!Since reading about Paleo, I have been dreading the day that some1 would say that as it’s made from a legume,it’s a NO-NO. Damn! Will finish the 3 large jars I have in cupboard over the next few months and try not to buy it any longer(I’m sure I wont be longing for it, if it’s not in the house.)Here in South Africa there aren’t any commercial alternate nut butter distributors,… Read more »
Nic.A
Nic.A
4 years 4 months ago
I questioned the peanut butter and paleo lifestyle, but plead ignornace. I can’t now. Thanks for the imformative post, Mark. i love a cocoa powder and peanut butter whey protein shake after doing my sprints saturday morning! My wife and I also like a small spoon of PB to help satisfying cravings when wanting something sweet/salty. def. not addicted, pretty easy to stop after a scoop…or sometimes two. don’t think it at all had a negative effect on us in way…that we can note. Might be time to kick the PB just like we did w/ milk and select other… Read more »
cTo
4 years 4 months ago

I dont miss peanut butter as much as I miss nutella 😉

mike from chicago
mike from chicago
4 years 4 months ago

http://justinsnutbutter.com/products.php

Sampled it at whole foods. Delicious and close enough to primal for a cheat.

Betty
Betty
4 years 4 months ago

Agreeeeeeeed!

GeorgeT
GeorgeT
4 years 4 months ago
I love MDA, and trust Mark a lot. But this sounds like confirmation bias. He’s starting from “peanuts are bad” and then there’s some maybes to “prove” it. even the toxin is reduced if roasted. I think the usual MDA advice on a food like this (with little clearly negative) would be “it’s OK in moderation.” Seems to me organic, well roasted, “just peanut” peanutbutter, as an occasional snack, is gonna be fine. As Mark reminds us, there’s no perfect food. There are plenty that are clearly worse. gotta say, this sounds like doesn’t sound that bad, if in moderation.
Jay
Jay
4 years 4 months ago

I think it may have been Protein Power by Drs. Eades that said that organic PB is actually worse, because the non-organic stuff typically kills more of the aflatoxins.
Given those concerns, as well as the lectin, I simply choose the occasional almond butter/celery stick combo instead.

na
na
4 years 4 months ago

Come to think of it, you do make a good point.

Rebecca
4 years 4 months ago

Could not agree more. Glad somebody pointed that out.

pam
pam
4 years 4 months ago

i also have a problem that peanut butter is bad simply it taste “a little too good”.

this sounds ascetic to me.

by the same token, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, chocolate & many “approved paleo snacks/desserts” all taste “a little too good”

i just refuse to believe that one must eat bland food to be healthy. (food reward hypothesis)

regards,

jen
jen
3 years 15 days ago

agreed.

zack
zack
4 years 4 months ago

Almond butter tastes bland compared to peanut butter…. AT FIRST. I found that I can’t even stand the flavor of peanut butter anymore now that I’m used to almond butter.

Andrew Murphy
Andrew Murphy
4 years 4 months ago

Almond butter is better but you also have to be careful. I have noticed, much like everything else, not all almond butter is the same. Some of them are made with canola oil.

Mark addressed the problems with canola oil here.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dear-mark-canola-oil/#axzz1v8vJT0wo

Therese T.
Therese T.
4 years 4 months ago

I used to, and I miss it, not to mention the price. I eat cashew butter and almond butter now!

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 4 months ago

I use peanut butter to make a spicy peanut sauce to top our thai turkey burgers a couple of times a month. I also use it to make flourless peanut butter cookies if we are sharing dessert with non primal eaters. Other than that, it’s almond butter all the way!

Reid
Reid
4 years 4 months ago
I’m really thankful that you wrote about this! I’ve been peanut butter free since I started the Paleo diet 6 months ago and it was a major help to my body to get off of it. I would eat it for dinner consistently and would turn up healthier meals for my pb and apples. (I am underweight and trying to gain muscle.) I’ve got a long way to go, but the peanut butter addiction is insidious and I would confirm that there is something to your argument. Like sugar- I just have to avoid it. Thanks for writing about the… Read more »
Shannon
4 years 4 months ago

I used to eat a few peanut butter sandwiches a week, but after going Primal I don’t really care for it anymore. I still lick the knife after I make a sandwich for my son (habit) but it’s not very tasty. Too sugary and weird. I actually prefer almond butter now. Amazing how your tastes change when you change the way you eat.

Vlasis
Vlasis
4 years 4 months ago

By the way be weary of almond consumption (or in this case butter) due to phytic acid content.Mark has a related post about nuts and phytic acid you should definitely check out

Jenn
Jenn
4 years 4 months ago
I used to be all about the peanut butter, 24/7. Breakfast, lunch, dinner… it didn’t matter what time of day it was I HAD to incorporate peanut butter in some way. My need to constantly surround myself with it has diminished slightly since going Primal, and even a little more since I have incorporated Bulletproof Executive guidelines as well. However, I am no perfect human being and need a ‘vice’ to help me feel balanced. I have rejected pizza, cupcakes, candy, and all of those other things that I enjoyed on a regular basis not one year ago. What I… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
4 years 4 months ago

Oh, and one more thing – if anything this post has made me so hungry for peanut butter right now, haha! I wish I still had my office jar around… Thank god lunch is around the corner!

Anne
4 years 4 months ago

I have to admit, I do eat peanut butter occasionally with celery sticks as a snack. I’ve cut down to doing this only about once or twice a week, but I guess I’d better cut it out even more… 🙁

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 4 months ago

One scoop of any butter – for me – leads to an empty jar in double time. It took me a long while to get off macadamia butter topped with cocoa nibs and cinnamon (and sometimes molasses thrown into the mix). Nut butters are my “gateway food”! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Chrissy
Chrissy
4 years 4 months ago

Goodness, that sounds amazing! I love cinnamon!

April
April
4 years 4 months ago

I’m 100% addicted to it. I can’t keep it in the house or I will eat far too much of it. I thought I could do fine with almond butter instead, but I’ll end up over-eating that too! All nut butters are just too delicious… I get the nut butter packets if I really want it so I can have portion control.

Bryan
Bryan
4 years 4 months ago

I like sunflower butter more than peanut butter.

Almond butter is good, too as is cashew butter.

For me Peanut Butter is not better tasting than any of these other choices.

Jack
Jack
4 years 4 months ago

I crushed the Jif (yeah… I know… Bad Jack) prior to going primal. In the 5 months I have been primal, I think I may have had a couple tablespoons full, at most. I don’t miss it at all. In fact, the taste has changed for me. It’s not as much of a crave inducing taste any longer.

cookingkaren
cookingkaren
4 years 4 months ago

Yikes! I’m now afeared of peanut butter!! Good thing I’d already switched over to almond butter.

I find the CHUNKY almond butter rocks! (Smooth can definitely be a tad bland). If you’re on the fence w/ almond butter, GO chunky. It may change your mind.

Marc
Marc
4 years 4 months ago
It’s funny… before the day I read about how horrible grains are on MDA my usual breakfast was between 2 and 4 pieces of multigrain toast with peanut butter and sometimes something even sweeter on top. That was one of the easiest things to cut out of my diet. I’ve been primal for well over a year now and honestly I still have a big Costco-sized bin of Kraft peanut butter in my pantry that is probably a year and a half old now and hasn’t been touched in over 12 months. Thankfully my non-primal girlfriend (who is slowly starting… Read more »
AndreaLynnette
AndreaLynnette
4 years 4 months ago

I eat a spoon of peanut butter with a little honey maybe twice a month. I think that it’s like any potentially-addictive substance: if you can’t keep it irregular, best to abstain. But of the things you could be addicted to, peanut butter is relatively benign.

Jenn
Jenn
4 years 4 months ago

I agree with your last sentence. What’s worse – a tablespoon of peanut butter here and there, or overindulging on red wine on a regular basis? I used to do the latter, as well used to smoke… no longer. So I replaced those wildly harmful vices with the occasional peanut butter. Lesser of the other evils, in my opinion.

Grok's Girl
Grok's Girl
4 years 3 months ago

I totally agree…I have given up almost everything quite happily and completely…grains, dairy, gluten, non-free range meat and eggs, non-organic veggies, most fruits… but three times a week I indulge in a single tablespoon of organic peanut butter. All by itself. It is like an orgasm frankly for me – I relish every bit, and eat it slowwwwly. For a cheat, I figure it is pretty minor.

ADarr
ADarr
4 years 4 months ago

A tablespoon makes it in to my twice-daily protein shakes. It’s a cheap easy way to put on a few lbs.

Sarah
4 years 4 months ago

I never really did like peanut butter. Almond butter is delicious! I may sneak a teaspoon here or there. It really is satisfying in small doses.

Kevin
4 years 4 months ago

You know, I absolutely LOVE peanut butter. And I can’t seem to get myself to throw away the 1 jar I have of it. I also have almond butter, but to me, it is not the same. BUT, after reading this, I am going to throw it in the trash right now. Darn it to heck for people making such a tasty treat. 🙂

sarah
sarah
4 years 4 months ago

We do still eat some natural peanut butter. The kids really prefer it (and they eat primal/paleo about 90% of the time) and so does the hubby so we still indulge it a bit on green apples or celery. I even let my daughter have 1 half of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (on organic, sprouted bread) once a week. I feel like this is reasonable given all the other wonderful foods they consume. Being successful @ a primal lifestyle to me means that we pick our indulgences and respect them as such. This is one for our family!

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