Peanut butter packed with nutrients and other health benefits

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today I’d like to share with you some facts about a food that’s more healthful than you might think: peanut butter.
The origin of peanut butter can be traced way back to the Aztecs, who crushed peanuts into a paste. It was first patented by Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884. Did you know it takes 540 peanuts to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter? The largest peanut butter factory (J.M. Smucker) churns out 250,000 jars of this full-flavored treat each day.

Americans spend $800 million on peanut butter a year. The average American eats between six and seven pounds of peanut butter a year. Two former American presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter, were peanut farmers who contributed to peanut butter production.

The phobia of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is called “arachibutyrophobia.”

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By law, in America, peanut butter must contain 90% peanuts. The peanut butter Americans consume in the course of a year is enough to coat the floor of the entire Grand Canyon. There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches. There’s a jar of peanut butter in 75 percent of American homes.

Wisconsin is the largest producer of peanut butter. More people on the East Coast seem to prefer creamy peanut butter, while more on the West Coast select crunchy peanut butter.

Now let’s turn our attention to some healthful peanut butter facts.

Peanut butter is packed with nutrients. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming one ounce (about two tablespoons) of nuts or peanut butter at least five days a week can lower risk of developing diabetes by 30 percent.

It’s good for your heart. It appears that eating peanut butter is twice as good for your heart as a very low fat diet. A study at Pennsylvania State University showed that a diet high in peanuts and monounsaturated (good) fats was just as good at lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as very low fat diets. Here’s an added bonus: very low fat diets actually raised damaging triglycerides (fat in the blood) by 11 percent, while diets high in peanuts and peanut butter lowered triglycerides by 13 percent.

Peanut butter can actually help you lose weight. That’s right. In a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston researchers divided folks into two groups. One group limited dietary fat to a very low 20 percent of calories. The other group ate monounsaturated fats like peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, and avocados, which raised their fat intake to 35 percent. Both groups ate the same amount of calories: 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. Both groups lost around 11 pounds in the first six weeks. Here’s the thing: twice as many of those who ate the peanut butter sustained their weight loss for 18 months.

Peanut butter provides fiber. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter has two grams of dietary fiber. Also the type of fiber from peanut butter fights heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It also satisfies hunger.

Peanut butter provides protein. There are seven grams of protein in two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 28 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.