What’s Really in Your Peanut Butter?

There might be something hiding in the ingredients list.

By: Emma Henzes, Syracuse University – June 14, 2017

Peanut butter. One of the best things that was ever created on this Earth. It’s texture, salty taste, and affordability has made peanut butter a staple in most American diets. So ,what is in peanut butter? How is it made? Well, it sounds simple, just peanuts and some butter. It’s not quite as simple, but your peanut butter shouldn’t contain more than a few ingredients, if anything, besides peanuts.Peanut butter, in its simplest form, can be created by throwing roasted peanuts into a food processor and blending until it turns into a thick, creamy texture. So in reality, it would be quite easy to make your own peanut butter and adding your own amounts of salt or flavors ,if you wanted. If it’s that simple, then your peanut butter shouldn’t have anything bad in it.That’s not the case with some brands of peanut butter. Some brands add oils, salt, and sugars. While that may not seem too terrible, some brands add hydrogenated oils to their peanut butter. Partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fat. The FDA requires food companies to label the amount of trans fat if it is more than 0.5 grams. If a company adds hydrogenated oils that amounts to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, it doesn’t have to show on the label. But, you are still consuming small quantities of trans fat, which is still bad for you. Who really sticks to the serving size anyways, amounting to a larger quantity of trans fat?Recently, the FDA has required ingredients list to explicitly say if the oils are partially or fully hydrogenated. According to Berkeley Wellness, partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fat, are bad for you because they raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol plus other harmful effects. However, fully hydrogenated oils turn into saturated fats.With simple ingredients, peanut butter is a treat that can act as a healthy snack or topping. So what’s in your peanut butter?

JIF

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts and sugar. Contains 2% or less of: molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, and salt.

Crazy Richards

Ingredient(s): Peanuts

Skippy

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil (Cottonseed, Soybean and Rapeseed Oil) to prevent separation, salt.

Nut Butter Nation

Ingredients: Peanuts and salt

Justin’s

Ingredients: Dry roasted peanuts and palm oil

Peter Pan

Ingredients: Rroasted peanuts, corn syrup solids*, soy protein concentrate*, sugar, less than 2% of: hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed and rapeseed), salt, minerals (magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, iron phosphate, copper sulfate) and vitamins(niacin, vitamin b6, folic acid)

Trader Joe’s

Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, Powdered Sugar (Cane Sugar, Cornstarch), Sustainable Palm Oil, Sea Salt

So, all in all, it’s best to look at the ingredients before choosing your peanut butter. Don’t be fooled by the labels that boast about being all natural. Decide for yourself, and look at the label. If you couldn’t create it in your own kitchen, would you really want it in your body?

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5 Healthier Spreads to Slather on Your Toast — With No Added Sugar, Salt or Chemicals

Your toast toppings just got a healthy makeover.

By: Weichen Yan, New York University – June 27, 2017

Toasts, waffles, pancakes, and French toast are some of our favorite breakfast foods. And of course, we love to slather all kinds of yummy spreads on top of them: nut butters, jams and syrups to name a few. However, many of the spreads we’ve been eating since childhood contain sugar, salt, and lots of other dubious additives. So, we have found 5 healthy breakfast spreads that contain no sugar or salt, and are packed with natural plants to give your favorite childhood indulgences a healthy upgrade.

Fruit Spread

Fruit jams/spreads are traditionally thickened with pectin (a compound naturally occurring in fruit). However, most jams contain lots of added sugar. Brands like Smucker’s use sugar as well as corn syrup, while some others are slightly better, using less or organic sugar. However, if you can achieve the same, if not better taste, without adding any sugar, why not? Rigoni di Asiago‘s fruit spreads contain only organic fruits and pectin.

Almond Butter

Many almond butters contain added sugar, salt, and various flavors like vanilla, blueberry, “cake batter”, and more. Almonds actually have a naturally sweet taste, so we are a big fan of brands that make almond butter from 100% almonds, like Woodstock Foods.

Peanut Butter

Many of us grew up eating Jif peanut butter which contains both sugar and salt, amongst other additives like diglycerides and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Many newer brands now make more natural peanut butter with no added oil by using — you guessed it — ground peanuts. Some of them still contain salt, however. But brands like Crazy Richard’s has one single ingredient: peanuts. And we dig it.

Coconut Butter

Many of us are going (coco)nuts over this delicious spread, but some coconut butters sold in store contain ingredients like sugar (or coconut sugar), salt, vanilla extract, and more. While things like coconut sugar are not necessarily bad for us, why add these when coconuts, like almonds, have a naturally sweet taste? Brands like Essentially Coconut make their coconut butter using only, well, coconuts, as they should.

“Syrup”

Like dousing your French toasts with maple syrup? Try using Rigoni di Asiago‘s Dolcedi – a low GI sweetener made with only one single ingredient: organic apples. It has a syrupy consistency and comes in a squeeze bottle perfect for drizzling, but it is made entirely from concentrated apple juice and contains no traditional sugar or other additives.

Achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle takes time, and we can start from swapping out spreads that contain unnecessary ingredients for these healthy and great-tasting ones: one spoonful at a time.

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