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Shop Smart: What is in a healthy peanut butter?

By Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D., August 21, 2013 - 3:50pm

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Find out how to pick a healthy peanut butter and why to be leary of "natural" peanut butter labels.

More than just a sandwich spread, peanut butter deserves a spot on your menu! Its healthy fats, fiber and protein may help you stave off afternoon hunger pangs, says a new study. But not all peanut butter is created equal. Here are our tips for finding the best peanut butter on the shelf.

1. Avoid Oil:
Many PBs are still made with hydrogenated oils, which improve the texture but add trans fat. Some replaced those oils with palm oil—a better choice, but high in unhealthy saturated fat. Buy PB with no added oils and stir before spreading.

2. Skip Added Sugars:
Some PBs provide 3 to 4 grams of added sugars (about 1 teaspoon per 2-tablespoon serving). Sugar may be listed as: evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey.

3. Be Wary of “Natural”:
It doesn’t mean the PB is without added ­sugars and oils. True natural PB has just peanuts and maybe a little salt (our target sodium is 125 mg or less per serving).

4. Go Full-Fat:
Sugar and starchy fillers replace healthy fats in ­reduced-fat peanut butters, with negligible calorie savings.

Peanut Butters We Love:

  • Teddie Old Fashioned All Natural
  • Smucker’s Natural
  • Trader Joe’s Organic
  • Whole Foods 365

Don't Miss: Healthy Peanut Butter Recipes

What's your favorite brand of natural peanut butter? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D., Health Blog, Health, Healthy kids, Lunch, Nutrition, Snacks

Lisa D'Agrosa, M.S., R.D.
Lisa Valente is EatingWell’s digital nutrition & news editor. She is a Registered Dietitian and completed her master’s degree in Nutrition Communication at Tufts University. She loves tasting all the recipes from the Test Kitchen and geeking out over nutrition science. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter @LisaDValente

Lisa asks: What's your favorite brand of natural peanut butter?

Tell us what you think:

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