It was a rough start of the year for the peanut butter industry. A major recall, one of the largest in US history, sent sales of all products, even innocent ones, down. But now sales are on the rebound, according to the latest market studies. White breads and jellies across the nation are rejoicing…
In celebration, we decide to take a look at what looks like a nutritious choice – Skippy’s Natural Peanut Butter Spread.
If the label says it’s natural, it must be healthy, right?
What you need to know:
There are 4 ingredients in this version of peanut butter: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt.
And we don’t even need a dictionary to understand what they are. And yes, they are all natural. But why add sugar to a product that is going to meet tons of sugar in the jelly on the PB&J sandwich?
And why add palm oil, which is high in saturated (bad) fat? The peanuts themselves are actually quite oily, and contain healthy unsaturated fats.
Here are the nutrition facts:
A 2 tablespoon serving contains 180 calories and 16 grams of fat. 3.5 grams are saturated, and the rest are unsaturated. There’s 150 mg of sodium, which is 7% of the daily maximum. The 6 grams of carbs include 2 grams of fiber (nice) and over 3 grams of sugar (almost teaspoon). There are also 7 grams of protein, which makes sense – nuts and seeds are high in protein and can serve as meat alternatives.
While this product is better than Skippy’s regular formulation, which includes Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (read: Trans fat), why can’t the company sell us the real deal – just one ingredient – peanuts?
A truly natural product, with just peanuts, would have 50% less saturated fat and 50% less sugar. And consumer wouldn’t feel cheated by the “Natural” labeling, which many conceive as meaning “no additional ingredient other than peanuts.”
The answer you’ll hear is that consumers want a sweeter taste (hence sugar) and a creamier texture (hence the palm oil). We don’t buy it. Use fresh roasted peanuts and you’ll get a great smooth peanut butter.
What to do at the supermarket:
Look for a pure peanut butter, one that has just one ingredient – Peanuts. Add the sweet yourself.
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