When you’re shopping for peanut butter, there are a few things you should look out for when you check out the label.
Nutritionists shared the following nutritional criteria they look for when selecting healthy peanut butter brands:
- Short ingredient list: “As a dietitian, I choose peanut butters that contain the fewest ingredients possible. If I can select a peanut butter that contains only peanuts
- Zero or low levels of added oils: “Oils, especially fully- or partially-hydrogenated oils, should not be in your PB. These are often added to extend shelf-life and prevent separation but can have negative impacts on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase the risk of heart disease,” says Penner.
- Zero or low added sugar: Peanut butter naturally contains sugar, so you’ll often see 1-2 grams of sugar on labels even if it isn’t listed in the ingredients. It’s the added sugar you want to look out for. “Avoid added sugars like molasses, maltodextrin, corn syrup, etc. as these add empty calories,” says Penner. While it’s best to minimize your added sugar intake, a little bit in your PB is okay, according to Mikka Knapp, RDN, CLT, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Bright BodyNutrition: “Many brands include added sugar for sweetness. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I do look for the lowest added sugar brand. I keep it under 2 grams of added sugar per serving. We get more than enough sugar from jelly.”
- No emulsifiers: “Emulsifiers are often added to prevent separation and give nut butters body and texture. Some research suggests emulsifiers may cause low-grade inflammation in the gut and have a negative impact on the microbiome,” says Penner.
- Skip the low-fat or reduced-fat versions: “Some lower-fat versions of peanut butter contain higher sugar amounts to make up for the missing flavor when fat is removed. Too much sugar is not the best choice either, and the fat found in peanut butter is a healthy addition to one’s diet. I do not choose reduced-fat peanut butter,” says Manaker.