There are so many brands of peanut butters and so much marketing hogwash, that it has become harder than ever before to know whether or not what you're buying is healthy. So we've made it simple for you.
What is 100% Natural Peanut Butter?
In India, the FSSAI is the food safety authority that develops the standards that brands like us follow to define what is natural and what is not.
100% Natural means the product is made of only one single ingredient. It has not been chemically processed and nothing has been added to it.
Different food safety authorities define 'natural' differently and have their own permissible levels of additives. In the USA, a 'natural' peanut butter can have up to 10% of it's contents coming from sugar, hydrogenated fats and oils. So not very 'natural' at all.
What is the difference between Natural and Organic Peanut Butter?
Many of us confuse natural and organic, but the words mean two different things.
'Natural' refers to the product that you're eating i.e. a 100% Natural peanut butter is one that has only peanuts as the ingredient.
'Organic' refers to the process of growing that peanut. Organic food is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
If you're looking for a 'natural' and healthy peanut butter, then you need to look at the list of ingredients on the back of the label. And by this I mean the FULL list of ingredients, including the fine print. Technically, peanuts of an organic origin, can still be mixed in with oils and sugars and be made into a peanut butter that is not 'natural'.
How do I know if a Peanut Butter is Natural?
Over the years, we have become experts at detecting natural nut butters, and here are the two easy clues you can use to check for a healthy peanut butter.
1. Very few ingredients
By law, every packaged food must declare all its ingredients, in descending order of quantity used. The more nuts there are in the peanut butter, the more protein and good stuff you get from it.
In the healthiest and 100% natural peanut butter, the list of ingredients should have only 'Peanuts' listed. There will be no salt, sugar, oils or emulsifiers.
Always check the full list of ingredients at the back of the label on your peanut butter. Look out for added oils (palm, rapeseed, sunflower, peanut), hydrogenated fats and preservatives.
Also notice how high or low on the list 'sugar' appears. If it comes first then you know it's a large proportion of the peanut butter. Try to select one that has real food ingredients that you would eat on their own rather than chemical compounds.
2. A flowing consistency
Most natural peanut butters are flowy, smooth, and not solid. Since they don't have added stabilizers and emulsifiers to bind them, they tend to remain fluid at room temperature (easy to pour and spread).
That's also why you'll often see some separated oil floating on top of your Happy Jars. This is perfectly normal and is a good sign. The oil actually has part of the nutrition your peanut butter provides you. Don't throw it away - mix it back into the jar every time.
So there it is. As simple as these two tricks. At Happy Jars we tell you absolutely everything that goes into your jar. If you read our ingredients lists you will see that we break up every part of our recipe, including telling you what goes into the dark chocolate we use!
Also Read: What to Check for On Healthy Food Labels
What is the healthiest version of peanut butter?
A good rule of thumb for choosing a healthy peanut butter is to look for one with the fewest ingredients. Unhealthier versions may contain added sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which offer extra calories and potentially adverse health effects. This points to unsweetened and all natural peanut butter as being the healthiest option in the mix. The good news is, at Happy Jars we have sweetened versions of peanut butter that are made using Jaggery instead of white sugar. So they're mildly sweet, absolutely delicious, and still very healthy.
Is it healthy to eat peanut butter everyday?
A protein-packed natural version of peanut butter is made by blending roasted peanuts into a thick paste. When there's no added sugar or hydrogenated fats, then it's the same nutritional benefit as eating peanuts! Peanuts contain various nutrients that promote good health. So it is good to eat peanut butter every day, but as with everything, eat it in moderation. 2 tablespoons a day on average is perfect.
Also read: Are you Eating Enough Protein?
Is peanut butter healthy for weight loss?
Peanut butter is a great, vegetarian source of protein that can promote the feeling of fullness and result in fat loss. It helps to reduce your appetite, help you consume limited calories whilst taking care of your cravings. This is one of the biggest keys to helping you lose weight. You may also experience better metabolism with the consumption of healthy, high protein meals.
Also read: Why You Crave Sweets and How to Deal With It
Is it okay to eat peanut butter before sleep?
Peanut butter has many nutritional benefits. Eating a small amount of peanut butter as part of a healthy snack before bed may help improve sleep quality and prevent overeating and weight gain the following day. As a tip, consider finding other healthy foods to team up with the peanut butter of your choice. You can try rice crackers, or our Afters Dessert Bites which are protein-packed and just the perfect size for a small nibble.