Is Peanut Butter Bad For You?

Peanut butter. It’s a popular and convenient food for toddlers. In fact, most kids in the U.S. will eat around 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they reach college! But is it good for us? That’s what we’ll unpack in this post.

First, why we like it…

It tastes good. Toddlers usually love this stuff and so do adults. It almost has an addictive quality as I know many who struggle with not eating the whole jar.

It does have nutrients. High in niacin, folate and vitamin E. It’s also high in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and polyphenols. In fact, in one study, those that ate peanuts 4 times a week, may lower there risk for coronary heart disease. It also shows promise against Type II Diabetes in women. But, let’s keep in mind, there are many other sources of antioxidants and polyphenols.

Why we don’t like it…

It contains aflatoxins or naturally occurring fungal toxins. These are metabolized by the liver but in high doses is a carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer. Early exposure and high levels of these are associated with stunted growth in children.

It contains peanut lectin. In isolated colon cancer cells, it promoted growth.

Furthermore, the oil in peanuts appears to promote artery clogging. In fact, scientists have used it to induce atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rats, rabbits and primates.

Lastly, it can be deadly for some people. Peanuts are one of the top allergens and usually it’s a serious allergy that can lead to death. Don’t like having those kinds of foods in my house.

Final Word…

So, based on all of this, I stay away from peanut butter and don’t give it to Griffin often. He has had it a few times as I don’t want him to live in a bubble. But here’s the deal, there’s so many other delicious, healthier nut butter alternatives. Almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia nut butter. Delicious! (And we haven’t even tackle the seed butters out there.) Yes, they’re more expensive, but hopefully we’re rotating our diets enough that we’re not eating daily.

How about YOU? Do you eat peanut butter? Do your kids? Have you found a tasty alternative?

Sources:

  • http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-bad-is-peanut-butter-really/#axzz2RE0SVpt0
  • http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20041215/peanut-butter-packs-healthy-punch

About Genevieve

After battling weight, digestive, and immune system issues for years, I know firsthand the harmful effects of conventional life. Through a long road of detox, I discovered the healing power of natural living. This transformation spread into every area of my life - physical, emotional & spiritual. Now I'm on a mission to help other mamas live happier, healthier lives.

Please note: Many links on this site, especially those to Amazon, are affiliate links. Should you click on these links and purchase something, the price is no different for you and I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Mama Natural!

Disclaimer: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

28 Comments

  1. Bethany February 12 at 12:26 pm

    What brand of almond butter do you buy?

  2. Visit This Link January 24 at 9:33 am

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  3. rose tanner December 15 at 7:11 pm

    actually i love peanut butter. i love it on toast big time and when im in the mood i can eat right out of the jar. and yes i grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches and when i have kids yes i will probably give to my kids every now and then

  4. Ashley Cox September 19 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve made a bunch of lifestyle changes over the past three years of my life. My most recent endeavor is going raw vegan. I was very close before while I was still at home and I was working and buying my own groceries, but now that I am a freshman in college in a very tiny dorm room and no car, my options are for the most part limited to what is on campus. I’ve always had a hard time kicking out PB almost as if it’s an addiction. In our cafeteria a huge daunting bowl of it sits out by the bread. It’s not even the good kind, it’s a generic, non-organic, trans fat stuffed regular peanut butter and it’s so difficult to kick! Any suggestions?

    • Genevieve September 28 at 4:24 pm

      Prayer! Or get an accountability partner and just try not having it one day at a time. Also, try cashew butter as it tastes sorta similar :)

  5. Candi May 17 at 9:58 pm

    We have a “trail mix” bar in the morning occasionally which has mixed nuts and seeds. I want to strive to soak our nuts, but we don’t. We have not had peanutbutter sandwiches all year, though I have made a raw chocolate dessert with it. I have replaced our nut butters with goat chèvre and Jelly.

  6. Kaleigh May 3 at 12:20 pm

    We’ve been into healthy foods for years and remember hearing long ago (from non-affiliated legitimate sources) that the Arrowhead Mills brand of peanut butter used peanuts free of fungal contamination, most likely due to their growing location. With this information we’ve always used the AM brand only. Has anyone heard of this, and if so can it still be confirmed today? If any info on this, please post!

  7. Aruni April 25 at 3:34 pm

    I have no problem with advocating for natural living but you should be careful with what you say and imply. For example, peanuts can be contaminated with aflatoxin (less so in the highly processed brands that I don’t like, as it turns out), but a quick google search reveals that almonds can be similarly contaminated. I personally am not worried about aflatoxicosis or even the theoretical risk of cancer (we’re a long way from proof), but if you want to avoid aflatoxins you should inform yourself about all potential sources (also pecans, pistachios, wheat, corn, milk of animals who eat the above).
    Similarly, peanuts contain lectins, but so do almonds and cashews (at similar or higher levels). Do we know that peanut lectins are worse than almond or cashew? or that peanut oil is worse than almond?
    I apologize if I come across as nitpicking, but if you want to be a resource and advocate for certain choices I think you should inform people about these things. It isn’t clear to me from your post that peanuts are worse than other nuts, although that is the conclusion we are encouraged to draw. There are I’m sure many other arguments against peanuts and in favor of other nuts, but i think a slightly more comprehensive summary of them would greatly strengthen your post.

    • Emily A. August 29 at 8:11 am

      Thank you for presenting these points. Great comment.

    • Phil November 26 at 3:52 pm

      Well said. You make some very good points

      I remember reading that if you use blanched almonds you are one step better off given removal of the skin.

  8. Emily DeKorte April 25 at 3:23 pm

    I love your wisdom, Genevieve!

  9. Melody April 25 at 3:02 pm

    What about natural peanut butter, made from organic peanuts and oils–the kind you have to stir and keep in the fridge? Is that as dangerous as the regular peanut butter?

  10. Viv Sluys April 25 at 2:23 pm

    I made walnut butter in the fall since walnuts fall freely in our lawn (neighbours tree). So delicious. I’m a big peanut butter fan too though

  11. Sara April 25 at 12:35 pm

    We give our twins homemade almond butter. I think it tastes better. I tried peanut butter actually, but one of my sons had a reaction – got red blotches all over his face from it, so we called that off and just do almond butter instead. I was kind of bummed they couldn’t eat PB&J but I guess now that this news is coming out it’s maybe a good thing!

  12. MamaCassi April 25 at 12:25 pm

    we do use peanut butter as a treat. the kids love it, and though my husband and i don’t eat it (neither of us feel good on it) it’s not something we keep out of the house completely. that said, we usually use almond butter, and if i could find more truly gluten-free nuts, would make my own nut butters. i love macadamia, cashew and brazil nuts in butters, but they’re expensive, and i used to make them until i found i was reacting to the cross-contamination in many nuts. especially macadamias and cashews. someday i’ll find a good source of clean nuts and make more nut butters! meanwhile, hummus is our go-to creamy dip, or organic full-fat greek yogurt. as for sandwiches, we don’t do those often and peanut butter and jelly always repulsed me as a child so i’ve not made it a staple in our house at all! jelly is also a treat b/c it’s concentrated sugars. banana and peanut butter- yeah, we’ve done that.

  13. Larissa April 25 at 12:12 pm

    Our family loves almond butter, cashew butter, and peanut butter. But we will only buy organic peanut butter in order to avoid the GMO’s that have become common in peanut crops, and are linked to the increase in allergens.

    • Laura August 9 at 9:46 pm

      peanut butter is gmo?

  14. Tawnee April 25 at 3:03 am

    We eat peanut butter at home, when i was a kid i hated peanut butter but when i started living with my papa natural and he loves peanut butter. i do give my son some peanut butter but he doesnt like it as much as he love vegimite. i really dont eat it any more because i am breastfeeding the newest addition to the family our 3 month old baby girl and i dont want to eat peanut butter just in case she develops a peanut allergy.

  15. Cait April 24 at 11:07 am

    I LOVE peanut butter but I asked to know, so I am thankful! The cost definitely does throw us off, but it’s true that if we just consume less, almond or seed butters are totally doable.

  16. Cynthia April 24 at 10:35 am

    Aww Mama Natural this post breaks my heart. I LOVE peanut butter. However, this is good information to have. I truly believe knowledge is power. Why are almonds okay but not peanuts?

  17. Daniell Powell April 24 at 7:48 am

    I grew up eating PBJ very frequently. I thought peanut butter was its own food group I ate so much of the stuff. If I didn’t like what was for dinner, I had a sandwich. I probably had 1,500 just while I was in elementary school. I think it will be hard to give up the gooey goodness. Almond butter just isn’t the same. I hope to find an alternative that both the kids and I will enjoy.

    • Jessie January 24 at 3:07 pm

      I have tried just about everything you can imagine and my kids just won’t give up on the real deal

  18. Sophie April 23 at 8:21 pm

    Well, i’m not from the US, but i’m one of those Australian children who are anaphylactic. If i ingest even the slightest amount, i will go into anaphylactic shock, and i could potentially die.

    So glad you did this video. Maybe the word will spread, and peanut butter will cease being as common as it is.

    It’s so hard being allergic.. there as so many points of accidental ingestion. You have to avoid traces as well! So when my friends make food to share, i can’t have any. :( It’s hard to feel safe!

    But yeah, so glad that it’s actually not good for you!
    I’m 14, 15 in September, and i first found out i was allergic when i was 3.

    I was told by my doctor at RPA Hospital, Sydney (Major Hospital), that according to studies, there is a link between a Vitamin D deficiency and peanut allergy.
    In 2011 i was tested for a deficiency, and it was discovered that i am deficient. I’m hoping that by taking supplements for the vitamin, i might outgrow my allergies. :)

    Anyway, great, informative post! :)

  19. Sabrina April 23 at 5:01 pm

    I used to love peanut butter! Had ‘em on waffles all the time for breakfast. Then found out it’s not that good for you…. so what’s a nut butter lovin’ gal to do? Bought some pecans in bulk, dried in our excaliber dehydrator and now we make pecan butter!! oh so yummy!!!! I’ve also made macadamia nut butter when our mac nut tree produced and have made almond butter too. sometimes we mix nuts and make pecan pistachio nut butter. Mmmm…

  20. Sara April 23 at 3:54 pm

    I absolutely love peanut butter, but I also have mostly given it up. On very rare occasion I will still have a little, but otherwise I avoid it. My son is allergic. We like nut butters as a substitute.

  21. Madelyn Warkentin April 23 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for bring awareness about Peanut Butter! Because of the reasons you stated we eat almond butter (raw and roasted kinds) and avoid peanut butter and products that use peanut butter or peanut oil. We’ve tried sunflower butter and cashew as well. We’ve made wonderfully delicious healthy desserts and snacks using almond butter when peanut butter is called for. It’s delicious and worth the cost in my opinion.

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