A number of studies have shown that nuts are healthy. People with the highest intake of nuts (5x or more a week) have a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Nuts have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, respiratory disease and all-cause mortality. Peanut butter consists primarily of ground dry roasted peanuts, so it would stand to reason that peanut butter is also healthy. However, many store-bought brands contain added sodium, sugar, emulsifiers and other additives. So, is peanut butter healthy?
Is Peanut Butter Healthy?:
There aren’t as many studies on peanut butter and health as there are on nuts. However, one study found that peanut butter significantly lowered LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), triglycerides and slightly lowered HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). See below (PPB = peanut butter):
Despite this, another study found that tree nuts and pine nuts were associated with lower mortality, but peanut butter was unrelated to mortality. Another study found that peanut butter consumption did reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in women, but not nearly as much as actual nut consumption. A final study found that peanut butter consumption also reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
Peanut butter appears to be somewhat healthy, but not as healthy as consuming actual nuts. The difference may come from the added sodium, sugar and other products in most store-bought peanut butter. So if you do decide to eat peanut butter, aim for the natural brands like this one.
Bao, Ying, et al. “Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality.” New England Journal of Medicine 369.21 (2013): 2001-2011.
Hu, Frank B., et al. “Frequent nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women: prospective cohort study.” Bmj 317.7169 (1998): 1341-1345.
Jiang, Rui, et al. “Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women.” Jama 288.20 (2002): 2554-2560.
Kris-Etherton, Penny M., et al. “High–monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.6 (1999): 1009-1015.
Kris-Etherton, Penny M., et al. “The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms.” The Journal of nutrition 138.9 (2008): 1746S-1751S.
van den Brandt, Piet A., and Leo J. Schouten. “Relationship of tree nut, peanut and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: a cohort study and meta-analysis.” International journal of epidemiology 44.3 (2015): 1038-1049.