As kids, we’re pretty sure how much you loved your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We can even bet that you never wanted to leave for school without your hearty heaping of sandwich goodie in your lunch box. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we tend to get overridden with guilt as to how we were so reckless in our eating habits. Many adults have grown to consider peanut butter as essentially a weight-gain nightmare well along the lines of candy bars, cakes, and cookies. But, studies now show that peanut butter can actually help us lose weight.
Yes, you read that correctly. If included in a low calorie diet plan, the nutrient-dense peanut butter can actually make losing weight quite possible.
The Issue about Peanut Butter
It is easy to understand why many don’t consider peanut butter as a beneficial aid to a sensible weight loss diet program. Here are just two of the most common reasons why.
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter contains 94 calories and a whopping 8.06 grams of fat
- Peanut butter is sweet which also increases carbohydrates
In the world of weight loss, there are two fundamental methods for ensuring success in shaving excess pounds.
- Reduce calorie consumption
- Increase calorie expenditure
When we reduce our calorie consumption, we are essentially reducing the amount of food that we eat or we watch what we’re eating and consume only those that have significantly lower calories. At 94 calories per tablespoon, peanut butter obviously cannot be considered as a low-calorie food; hence, it cannot really be considered as a beneficial for aiding in weight loss.
Actually, the main issue is not in peanut butter itself but rather in the food that we often partner it with. For example, many of us would use white bread as a sandwich. A slice of white bread maxes out at 79 calories. We have two slices to make a sandwich, giving us a total of 158 calories. Add our favorite jelly and that’s an additional 56 calories per tablespoon. Technically, if we were to consume our peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we’d be consuming around 308 calories for a single sandwich alone. It’s not that much, we know, but add other factors and it’s easy to understand why peanut butter may not really be the best weight loss aid you can take. And we haven’t talked about the use of peanut butter in our cookies yet which may include butter or chocolate chips.
The point is that, it is easy to understand why you would consider peanut butter to be the worst type of food to eat for weight loss.
The Real Deal about Peanut Butter
But, here’s the thing. If you can really trim away all those unnecessary food items – the white bread, the jelly, the chocolate chips, and the butter – and consume only peanut butter, you might be surprised to find out that you can actually lose weight. Here’s why.
Peanut butter is an energy- and nutrient- dense food.
That’s why it has 94 calories per tablespoon. More importantly, however, is the fact that peanut butter is so dense with many important nutrients that your body needs. A tablespoon of peanut butter give you the following nutrients:
- 5 mg of Vitamin E for powerful antioxidant activity
- 5 mg of magnesium for strong bones
- 104 mg of potassium for superb muscles
- 5 mcg of Vitamin B6 for excellent immune function
- And many more
In fact, studies show that including moderate amounts of peanut butter in your diet can help you feel a lot fuller, giving you the ability to make a conscious choice not to overeat. This has been shown to be directly related to the energy- and nutrient- density of peanut butter. The studies show that snacking on peanut butter can produce greater feelings of fullness as well as provide a sense of eating satisfaction. This means that people who snack on peanut butter tend to feel full a lot faster and stay this way for several hours after consuming peanut butter. This leads to a reduction in calorie consumption during the succeeding meal.
- Peanut Butter contains Monounsaturated Fats
Should you care about the fact that peanut butter contains monounsaturated fats? Well, you should. These kinds of fats have been long considered to be very beneficial in providing a host of health benefits including a reduction in the risk for heart attacks and the development of gallstones. Some studies have also implicated the monounsaturated fat content of peanut butter to play a role in the reduction of diabetes mellitus in women.
Peanut butter truly has many health benefits. However, health experts do want to caution everyone regarding its use.
Using Peanut Butter as a Weight Loss Aid
If you think eating a whole jar of peanut butter will help you lose weight overnight, maybe you missed the point. Peanut butter is still pretty much packed with calories. The only way you can really take full advantage of all the benefits of peanut butter especially in staving off your hunger is by including it in your low-calorie diet plan.
The idea is to provide just enough fuel in your body so you are not going to feel hungry a lot faster. When you include moderate amounts of peanut butter in your diet, you are essentially depressing your appetite. Why? Well, your brain is being told that the body still has plenty of energy reserves so it doesn’t need to eat a full meal.
Studies show that, while a peanut butter diet may not actually lead to weight loss, it can nevertheless, help in preventing any additional weight gain. When you add increased physical activity to your peanut butter and low calorie diet plan, then you can begin to see the wonderful effects of peanut butter in your weight loss efforts.
The Bottom Line
You should not be afraid to use peanut butter to control your weight issues. However, like what we always say, it should always be made as part of a comprehensive weight loss program that includes sensible low calorie dieting and increased energy expenditure through exercise. Besides, with all that nutrients packed into a delicious nutty spread, losing weight just got tastier.
If you are interested in great natural sources of fat, you may wish to read our complete guide on coconut oil.