Peanut butter is an extremely popular product amongst young people, and you can find it in almost every kitchen. Not only is peanut butter extremely tasty, but it’s also a great source of many nutrients.
Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, goobers (US), or monkey nuts (UK), are the main ingredient of peanut butter. They’re also a great source of protein (the best of all the nuts) and Niacin - also known as nicotinic acid, is an organic compo... More (Vitamin B3), which is responsible for your brain function and nervous system amongst others. Peanuts are also full of fibre, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and polyphenol.
The best peanut butter should be made from 100% peanuts. Unfortunately, not all the products you’ll find on shop shelves contain just peanuts. Many peanut butters can also contain:
- Salt – Of course, we all need salt in our diet to get sodium, however there are already plenty of other sources of salt and you don’t need to consume any extra amounts unnecessarily. If you eat too much salt it can be harmful for your health. Having a small amount of salt added to peanut butter, like in Pic’s Peanut Butter Smooth, is acceptable. But if you see peanut butter with a significant amount of salt compared to the peanut content, say “thanks but no”.
- Sugar – Manufacturers add sugar to improve the taste of peanut butter for those who don’t like its salty or neutral flavour. Well, peanut butter itself is already very caloric so there’s no need to add more sugar to it, trust me.
- Oil – Most peanut butter manufacturers also add canola oil or – this is ridiculous – peanut oil. Some products, like Bega Peanut Butter Crunchy, Sanitarium Smooth Peanut Butter and Kraft Light Crunchy Peanut Butter, note vegetable oil on their labels however we don’t know the exact type of oil used. There’s a chance that they contain – and hopefully not – palm oil, which has a negative impact on our health and is known to cause heart problems and obesity.
We should also be aware that some peanut butters can contain food additives like emulsifiers and stabilisers, which are the ingredients behind those strange names and numbers on food labels:
- This is made from mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, whi... More/Vegetable emulsifier 471 – This is made from mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, which are typically sourced from vegetable oils (coconut, soy, canola) or animal fats (lauric acid, oleic acid). Manufacturers add this to peanut butter to make it more spreadable and less sticky. Stabiliser 471 isn’t harmful to our health, but from looking at other products you’ll find there’s no need to add it at all.
- This is made from butylated hydroxyanisole, which has a nega... More – This is made from butylated hydroxyanisole, which has a negative impact on our health. It can cause dysfunctionality of the liver and kidneys as well as allergies like itching, redness or suffocation. It’s likely that a small amount added to peanut butter won’t be harmful, but it’s better to stay away from it.
- Maltodextrin - mostly used in ‘light’ or ‘diet’ food... More – This ingredient has already been explained in our Glossary.
If you want to buy peanut butter, choose a product that contains 100% peanuts or at least 98 – 99% of peanuts plus the addition of salt (as a last resort).
We recommend our readers use 100% Australian Roasted Peanuts and 100% Australian Roasted Peanut Butters which are made of Australian peanuts. In doing so we will not only be choosing healthier products but also supporting local manufacturers.Peanut Butter Comparison checklabels.com.au
The peanut butter that we have looked at:
- Woolworths Smooth Peanut Butter 500g
- Bega Peanut Butter Crunchy 780g
- Mayver’s Crunchy Peanut Butter 375g
- Sanitarium Smooth Peanut Butter 500g
- Pic’s Peanut Butter Smooth 380g
- Kraft Light Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Coles Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Purely Nutz Natural Smooth Peanut Butter
- Wellness Road Skin On Peanut Butter
- Bega Simply Nuts No Added Salt 325g