Peanut butter is a healthy fat, you have been told. An appropriate snack for children, you have been told.
Not. So. Fast.
Especially if we’re talking about the mass-produced Kraft, Skippy, Squirrel -type brands. These bad boys are seriously processed, contain too much sugar -icing sugar too!-, not to mention other confusing ingredients, such as soybean oil, corn maltodextrin, hydrogenated vegetable oil, cotton seed and grapeseed oil, mono and di-glycerides. What is a di-glyceride anyway, and why are you eating it?
On top of this, peanuts aren’t even really nuts, because unlike nuts, they don’t grow on trees. They’re actually classified as legumes and can be full of lectins. That being said, the peanut part of Kraft peanut butter still sounds like the healthiest part, at lease compared to soybean oil and sugar. And diglycerides!
But what are these -glycerides you keep speaking of?
OK, so I decided to look it up: Diglycerides are hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats, which we know are harmful to your health. The reason they’re in peanut butter is that they’re great emulsifiers, which helps create that smooth texture. Not to mention why they are are SO MANY other of your goodies in your pantry.
What to do, what to do?
Find a cleaner source, of course, and move in the direction of other nut butters, such as almond, pecan or hazelnut butter. Or at the very least, buy a 'Natural' Peanut Butter, where the ONLY ingredient is guess what?! PEANUTS!
As a sidenote, a recent study showed that eating nuts as part of your regular diet helped boost sperm count in men and not peanuts. The men in the study were fed a mix of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Here are some of my favourite Nut Butter Brands
No, I'm not calling you that. It's the name of the brand. They’re a Victoria, BC company, but you can now find their jars at Askew's in Armstrong and in Save-On (Coming soon). Unlike most store-bought nut butters, FATSO (www.eatfatso.com) products are not mass produced. They’ve started out as a small-batch maker to keep quality very high!
Now the one thing that makes FATSO that much better is the ingredients that are added in. Yes, I just gave you crap for all the unnecessary ingredients in your Skippy and Jif, but I won't get upset if you tell me there is coconut oil, chia seeds, or pre-biotic tapioca fibre. Yup, that's the goodness in FATSO.
Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc.
Yet another proud Canadian company producing a huge variety of different spreads from organic peanut butter, almond and cashew butter, all the way through sunflower butter and tahini spread. You can find these bad boys at SuperStore and Save-On or pretty much any grocery store.
Of course there are more than just these two brands, even the standard grocery brands have natural peanut or almond butters. But sometimes even organic almond butters assumed to be healthy have all sorts of other ingredients added to it, like soy and sugar so make sure you take a peek on the ingredients list.
The main thing to remember when sourcing a good nut butter brand is that less is more. Nuts and nothing else is best.
What are your favourite healthier nut butter brands? Please let me know because I would love to try them out!