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Peanut Butter Nutrition: What do I choose? – Pantry Doctor, LLC

Peanut Butter Nutrition: What do I choose?

This blog post was an oldie, but a goodie.  It was one of my very first, and needed a lot of tender loving care. This was from one of my very first pantry cleanses with a very good friend of mine that has a love (obviously) for all things peanut butter- in this case- JIF.

Peanut Butter Nutrition. 

Pantry Cleanses have been a great service to offer my clients and one of the most important for their overall success. As a dietitian, I have learned a lot through the many experience I have gained from working with hundreds of clients and I am happy to share with you one of my very first.

Choosy Moms Choose Jif, but which one?  Which JIF jar is the better peanut butter?

I know how confusing and frustrating it can be when grocery shopping.  Even nutrition professionals can get overwhelmed.  Recently, while on a Pantry Cleanse, I came across FOUR different JIF peanut butter jars!  I can say one thing: This person sure is brand loyal, but which one is the better option?  Let’s take a closer look.

peanut butter nutrition

There are several red flag ingredients to remember when looking at labels. I will break each of those down for you.

No. 1 Regular JIF extra crunchy | This jar contains fully-hydrogenated vegetable oils and soybean oils.  Hydrogenated oils and soybean oils alone or in combination can be found in almost every processed food.  Hydrogenated oils have been chemically modified to make them more shelf stable. Products that contained these oils became popular in the 90’s (ex. margarine) and sadly enough, were promoted as healthy. It took years for us to realize that these hydrogenated oils were contributing to heart disease and in 2006, the FDA required “trans-fats” to be listed on the labels. Since the health affects from trans-fats have been identified, in recent years, the food and agriculture industry have scrambled to come up with an alternative: soybean oil. These soybean oils do not require total hydrogenation.  So are they better?  The fat in soybean oil is Omega-6 and while some is needed, the average American diet gets more than their share in processed foods.  What healthcare professionals have come to realize is that we need more Omega-3s in our diet, which are found primarily in cold water fish.  A healthy ratio of Omega-6 to Omega 3 should be 4 to 1. As we continue to shop the aisles of the grocery store and pull through the ever-so-convenient drive-thru, the average American’s ratio is 20 to 1, or worse. The key to optimal health is to reduce the amount of Omega-6s such as soybean oil and replace them with more Omega-3s.  See more details on this below with the JIF Omega-3 creamy.

No. 2 Reduced Fat creamy | This container is filled with corn syrup solids, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, soybean oil, long list of unidentified ingredients.  This is what I would like to call a Frankenfood. By my definition a Frankenfood is a processed food with a long laundry list of ingredients, many that the average consumer cannot identify.  Why so many ingredients for the low-fat version?  Isn’t this supposed to be the better peanut butter option?! Not necessarily.  All foods make up carbohydrate, protein, and fat. When fat is taken from a product it has to be replaced with proteins or carbohydrate. It is usually the latter in the form of sugars, which is the case with this jar of peanut butter.

No. 3 Omega 3 Creamy | This jar is marketed extremely well in response to the growing popularity of Omega-3s.  But this one is more healthy right? This jar is basically Regular JIF with a more attractive label.  It still contains all of the fully hydrogenated vegetable oils. The fish oils come from anchovy and sardine oil, which are forms of EPA/DHA (good forms of Omega-3).  It also contains tilapia gelatin.  This was thrown in for it’s binding properties and gives the peanut butter a texture more like that of play dough.  I mean….really.  Do you want to go grab sushi, or have fish gel injected into your peanut butter?

No. 4. Natural |  This jar only 5 ingredients. In most cases, the fewer the ingredients the better.  Also, every ingredient could be identified and pronounced.  This jar definitely was the best option in this pantry-full-of peanut-butter!

I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this , and health questions that you have about items that might be lurking on your pantry shelves.  Leave a comment below and have an amazing Thursday!

xx, Wendie


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  1. Good article! Like this one! BTW, creamy JIF for me. And why does peanut butter taste so much better in the early mornings???

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