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Here Is Why I Stopped Eating Peanut Butter for Good!

Did you know that most store-bought peanut butter brands can contain hydrogenated oils, sugar, refined salt, soy, corn syrup, and stabilizers? These ingredients are often genetically modified to produce their own insecticidal toxins, meaning that along with that peanut, you are getting a whole array of products that might not be the healthiest for you.

The Downside of Most Store-Bought Peanut Butter

Peanuts are one of the most heavily pesticide-ridden crops and have been implicated in causing allergic reactions. They are often treated with herbicides and fungicides like Glyphosate, which has been linked to kidney disease, cancers, and DNA damage. In fact, the high toxic load from pesticides may explain why peanut allergies are the fastest growing food allergy in the US.

Conventional peanut butter production often differs significantly from organic or artisanal methods. The process typically starts with peanuts that may have been grown with the aid of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Once harvested, these peanuts are roasted, blanched to remove their skins, and then ground into a paste. To enhance flavor, stabilize texture, and prolong shelf life, additional ingredients like hydrogenated oils, sugar, and salt may be added. Hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, are particularly concerning, as they’ve been linked to increased heart disease risk. Additionally, conventionally grown peanuts might have higher levels of pesticides and aflatoxins (toxic compounds produced by certain molds) compared to their organic counterparts. Furthermore, the added sugars and salts can contribute to various health issues when consumed in excess. Peanuts are high in Omega-6 fats

Peanuts naturally contain a high proportion of omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 fats are essential for numerous bodily functions, including promoting brain health and encouraging growth and development, an imbalance can arise. The ideal ratio for omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is approximately 3:1. Consuming excessive omega-6 without a proportionate intake of omega-3 can lead to inflammation, a precursor to many chronic diseases.

Peanut Butter Contains Aflatoxins

A major concern with peanuts and peanut butter is their content of aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are toxic compounds produced as byproducts by fungi, notably those from the Aspergillus family. They can contaminate crops during growth, harvest, storage, or processing. Even in moderate amounts, consumption of aflatoxins can be detrimental, potentially causing conditions like cirrhosis and hepatitis B. Over the long term, high exposure can also increase the risk of liver carcinoma.

Peanuts and Peanut Butter Contain Lectins

Lectins, often referred to as antinutrients, are a group of protein compounds found in various plants, including peanuts. They serve as a natural defense mechanism for plants, essentially acting as their own pesticides. However, when consumed in large amounts, lectins can be harmful to humans. They can damage the gut lining, leading to “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability. This compromised gut barrier may facilitate the development of various health conditions, from autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis to digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.

Peanuts and Peanut Butter Contain Phytic Acid

Phytic acid, another antinutrient present in peanuts, has a tendency to bind with essential minerals. This binding can inhibit the absorption of key minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc when consumed. As a result, despite peanuts containing these minerals, the human body may not benefit from them as effectively due to the presence of phytic acid, rendering the nutritional value of peanuts somewhat diminished in this aspect.

What Should You Do?

If you still crave peanut butter, consider buying organic peanut butter made with just one ingredient – organic peanuts! By choosing organic, you can avoid the added load of fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides that are applied to conventional peanuts. Organic peanut butter also eliminates the risk of consuming high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

Below are some examples of organic peanut butter brands you can safely purchase!

  1. Justin’s – Known for their variety of nut butters, they offer both classic and honey-flavored organic peanut butter.
  2. Santa Cruz Organic – This brand produces a creamy and crunchy version of organic peanut butter.
  3. 365 Everyday Value – This is Whole Foods Market’s in-house brand, and they offer organic peanut butter in both creamy and crunchy varieties.
  4. Teddie Organics – A popular brand, particularly in the northeastern U.S., they offer both creamy and chunky organic peanut butter.
  5. MaraNatha – This brand produces a range of organic nut butters, including both creamy and crunchy peanut butter.
  6. Artisana Organics – Known for their raw nut butters, Artisana offers a raw, organic peanut butter.
  7. Spread The Love – They produce an unsalted and unsweetened organic peanut butter.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Peanut Butter?

Despite the concerns surrounding conventional peanut butter, it’s important to note that peanuts themselves do offer some health benefits. Peanuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They also contain important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.

Research has shown that consuming peanuts and peanut butter in moderation may have several health benefits:

  • Heart Health: The monounsaturated fats found in peanuts can help reduce the risk of heart disease. They also contain resveratrol, a compound that has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Weight Management: Despite being calorie-dense, peanuts can actually help with weight management. The combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
  • Diabetes Prevention: Research suggests that consuming peanuts and peanut butter may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The fiber and healthy fats in peanuts help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Antioxidant Benefits: Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals.

Exploring Other Nut and Seed Butters

If you’re looking to explore alternatives to peanut butter, there is a wide variety of nut and seed butters available on the market. Here are a few options:

  • Almond Butter: Made from roasted almonds, almond butter is rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and magnesium.
  • Cashew Butter: Creamy and slightly sweet, cashew butter is a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Sunflower Seed Butter: This nut-free alternative is made from roasted sunflower seeds. It is rich in vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.
  • Tahini: Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a good source of healthy fats, protein, and calcium.

Each of these alternatives offers a unique flavor profile and nutritional profile. Experimenting with different options can add variety to your diet and help you discover new flavors.

Tips for Choosing the Best Nut and Seed Butters

When choosing nut and seed butters, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Read the ingredient list carefully. Look for options with minimal ingredients and no added sugars or oils.
  • Choose organic options whenever possible to minimize exposure to pesticides.
  • Opt for natural varieties that don’t contain hydrogenated oils or stabilizers.
  • Consider making your own nut or seed butter at home using roasted nuts or seeds and a food processor.

A Final Word

While conventional peanut butter may come with some drawbacks, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision based on your health goals and dietary needs.

If you choose to consume peanut butter, consider opting for organic varieties made with just one ingredient – organic peanuts. Alternatively, explore other nut and seed butters for a wider range of flavors and nutritional benefits.

Remember, moderation is key. Enjoy your nut and seed butter as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods.

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