The Facts About Fat in Peanut Butter

Feb 4, 2000

Exciting new research shows the heart healthy benefits of monounsaturated fats found in peanuts and peanut butter. But there are still some questions about other types of fats in peanut butter. We hope to answer these questions and remedy some of the myths about the fats in peanut butter.

MYTH: Peanut Butter is not heart healthy
FACT: Peanut butter is indeed heart healthy. Over 80% of the fat in peanut butter is unsaturated, which is heart healthy and, as with all plant foods, peanut butter contains no cholesterol. A study published in the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from Penn State University showed that peanuts and peanut butter lowered blood cholesterol levels as effectively as olive oil in moderate fat diets. And the peanut butter diet was more effective than a low fat diet in maintaining levels of HDL-cholesterol and lowering triglyceride levels. Peanut butter is also a good source of niacin, folic acid, phosphorous and vitamin E.

MYTH: Peanut Butter should be avoided because it is high in trans fats
FACT: NO! Based on the newly proposed FDA regulations about trans fat labeling, peanut butter would declare ZERO (0) trans fat. Independent analyses of peanut butters by The Peanut Institute have shown extremely low levels of trans fat. Some peanut butter contains a very small amount of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to help prevent oil separation, which is preferable to most consumers. These oils contribute an insignificant amount of trans fat.

MYTH: There is a huge difference between regular peanut butter and natural peanut butter
FACT: NO! Peanut butter today is remarkably like that made 100 years ago. All peanut butter, by law, must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts. Both natural and regular peanut butters may contain some sugar and salt for flavoring. Some brands also contain a small amount of stabilizer (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) to keep the oil from separating, which most consumers prefer. This also helps maintain peanut butter freshness.

The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles.