Is Peanut Butter Good for You?

Find out whether or not you should... go nuts.

Let's face it: Peanut butter is delicious. And it's incredibly versatile — it's just as tasty smeared on banana slices as it is spooned on top of warm oatmeal or slathered on a piece of toast. But is it good for you?

Yes, but it depends on how much you eat and what type you buy. Some peanut butters, especially the low-fat ones, are full of filler ingredients such as added sugar. The best-for-you peanut butter is a natural nut butter with minimal ingredients —ideally, just peanuts with salt and/or oil.

Peanut butter is full of good-for-you fats. So even though a 2-tablespoon serving of the nut butter contains 191 calories and 16 grams of fat, 8 grams are monounsaturated fats and 4 grams are polyunsaturated fats, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Both of these types of fats have been found to help keep cholesterol levels in check, particularly those of "bad" LDL cholesterol.

You also get nutrients that will help to keep you fuller for longer, which may lead to less snacking throughout the day. In 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, you get 7 grams of protein, as well as almost 2 grams of fiber.

Peanut butter also supplies plenty of vitamins and minerals. It's an excellent source of the B vitamin niacin and a good source of vitamin E, as well as the mineral magnesium.

Here's a bonus: Peanut butter may help you manage your weight. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in October 2018, people who regularly ate nuts — including peanuts — had a 5% lower risk of becoming overweight than people who did not regularly eat nuts.

As for portion size, stick with no more than a tablespoon or two per serving. Even though peanut butter is full of healthy fats, you should still try to keep your total fat intake at no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calorie consumption. So if you were eating a 2,000-calorie daily diet, you would aim for no more than 56 to 67 grams of fat for the day.

Now go enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter or two! Think about incorporating it into your meals, too. Peanut butter adds its deliciousness to the following recipes:

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. She’s a regular contributor to many publications, including EverydayHealth.com, ReadersDigest.com, NBCNews.com, and more. She also pens a recipe-focused blog, Amy’s Eat List, where she shares easy, healthy recipes. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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