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6 of the Healthiest Peanut Butters

Health + Wellness
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Countless options of peanut butter are available on grocery store shelves today, but not all of them are created equal when it comes to healthiness.


Certain types are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber with minimal additives, while others are also high in added sugar and ingredients that make them less healthy.

You may wonder what the healthiest choices are when it comes to peanut butter.

This article explains how to choose a healthy peanut butter and lists 6 of the healthiest options.

What Makes a Healthy Peanut Butter?

A good rule of thumb for choosing a healthy peanut butter is to look for one with the fewest ingredients.

Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food that only requires one ingredient — peanuts. They're typically roasted and ground into a paste to make the final product.

However, one-ingredient peanut butter can be difficult to find unless you grind it yourself. Most commercial peanut butters contain at least peanuts and salt — and oftentimes a slew of other ingredients.

Less healthy products often contain added sugar and highly refined vegetable oils, which offer extra calories and potentially adverse health effects. For example, eating too much added sugar or refined fats may increase your risk of heart disease.

Even some natural and organic peanut butters include these unhealthy ingredients, making it important to read the ingredient panel.

Summary

The healthiest commercial peanut butters contain minimal ingredients, starting with peanuts and sometimes salt. Less healthy varieties often contain vegetable oils and added sugar.

6 of the Healthiest Options

Below are 6 healthy traditional peanut butter brands, in no particular order.

1. Crazy Richard's 100% Peanuts All Natural Peanut Butter

This brand offers creamy and crunchy peanut butter, both of which contain only one ingredient.

Ingredients: Peanuts.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

You can buy both creamy and crunchy versions in select stores and online.

2. 365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter, Unsweetened & No Salt

Note that this brand also has a creamy, unsweetened variety that contains palm oil and sea salt.

Ingredients: Dry roasted organic peanuts.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 17 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

This product is available in select stores and online.

3. Trader Joe's Creamy No Salt Organic Peanut Butter, Valencia

Note that this brand offers several peanut butter products, including no-stir peanut butter spreads that contain powdered sugar. Some of the other Valencia peanut butters also contain added salt.

Ingredients: Organic Valencia peanuts.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 15 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

This peanut butter can be purchased at Trader Joe's or online.

4. Adams 100% Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter

Both the creamy and crunchy unsalted varieties of this product contain peanuts as the only ingredient.

Ingredients: Peanuts.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated fat: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

You can find both the unsalted creamy and crunchy versions at select stores and online.

5. MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter

When choosing this brand, look for peanut butter that has the organic label and specifically states "stir & enjoy." Several other products from this brand contain palm oil and sugar, including some labeled "natural" and "organic no-stir."

Ingredients: 100% organic dry roasted peanuts, salt.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

When you look for this brand locally or online, be sure to search for the "stir & enjoy" variety if you want to avoid palm oil and other ingredients.

6. Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter

This brand offers both dark roasted and light roasted varieties that come in creamy or crunchy versions and contain minimal ingredients. You may want to avoid "no-stir" varieties, as these contain palm oil.

Ingredients: Organic roasted peanuts, salt.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

You can purchase products from this brand in select stores or online.

Summary

6 healthy peanut butters are listed above. They contain minimal ingredients and are made without extra additives that offer no health benefits.

Peanut Butters With Palm Oil

Some peanut butters — including ones with otherwise minimal ingredients — also include palm oil as an ingredient.

Palm oil has a neutral flavor and its main purpose is to prevent the natural separation of oils in the product. Although palm oil isn't a trans fat, there may be other concerns associated with its use and consumption.

Palm oil may increase your risk of heart disease if you're sensitive to saturated fat in your diet.

There are also some indirect public health effects of palm oil. Clearing forests for palm oil production causes air pollution that increases instances of skin, eye, and respiratory disease among nearby populations. It also releases greenhouse gases and destroys the habitats of at-risk species.

Peanut butters that contain palm oil may not be quite as healthy as those that only contain peanuts and salt, but here are some healthier options if you prefer a no-stir variety.

1. Justin's Classic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Dry roasted peanuts, palm oil.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Total fat: 18 grams
  • Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 2 grams

If you want to try this brand, you can find it in certain stores or online.

2. 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Dry roasted organic peanuts, organic expeller pressed palm oil, sea salt.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Total fat: 18 grams
  • Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

This variety is available for purchase in select stores and online.

These peanut butters use a small amount of palm oil, which may be worth your consideration, but still offer many health benefits.

Summary

Palm oil is used as the second ingredient in several healthier peanut butter brands. Although research is mixed around the heart-health effects of palm oil, its production has indirect consequences that may be worth considering.

Powdered Peanut Butters

Powdered peanut butter is a newer category. It's made by removing most of the natural oils from peanuts — a process called defatting — and then grinding the peanuts into a powder. You can then rehydrate the powder with water.

This results in a peanut butter with fewer calories, fat, sugar, and carbs, despite a small amount of added sugar in some products. However, powdered peanut butter also offers less protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat than traditional peanut butter.

Here are two powdered peanut butter brands that can be a healthy part of your diet.

1. PB&Me Organic Powdered Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Organic powdered peanut butter

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (12 grams):

  • Calories: 45
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total fat: 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

If you want to give PB&Me powdered peanut butter a try, you can buy it in select stores or online.

2. Crazy Richard's 100% Pure All Natural Peanut Powder

Ingredients: Peanuts.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (12 grams):

  • Calories: 50
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total fat: 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat:0 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: less than 1 gram

This product is available in select stores and online.

Powdered peanut butter can still be a healthy option despite having a slightly different nutritional profile than traditional peanut butter.

Summary

Powdered peanut butters can be a healthy option if you're looking for a peanut butter with fewer calories. However, they also have smaller amounts of other healthy nutrients like protein, unsaturated fat, and fiber, and some contain a small amount of added sugar.

The Bottom Line

Some peanut butter varieties are healthier than others.

Look for peanut butter that contains minimal ingredients, ideally just peanuts and possibly salt. Avoid peanut butter that contains added sugar or vegetable oils.

Peanut butters that contain palm oil and powdered peanut butters can still be a part of a healthy diet, but they come with some other health considerations when choosing which peanut butter is best for you.

Be sure to look at the ingredient list and nutrition panel on the peanut butter jar to identify exactly what it contains.

Whichever peanut butter you choose, remember to eat it in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet that's full of nutritious whole foods.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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