Can Eating Peanut Butter Reverse This Common Medical Condition?

With the availability of such a wide variety of nut butters these days, peanut butter doesn't get as much love as it used to. Sure, almonds can help with inflammation, but peanuts and peanut butter are good for you as well. A 2022 article in Future Foods says that the nutrients and bioactive compounds in peanuts and peanut products are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The Mediterranean Diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan both suggest eating peanuts every day to improve your overall health.

The 16 grams of fat in two tablespoons of peanut butter might scare you, but about 75% of that fat comes from heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Although peanut butter is nutrient-dense, it's also calorie-dense at 188 calories. Despite the high calories in such a small serving, the combination of fat, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 7.7 grams of protein makes you feel full. That's why you could include peanut butter as part of your diet to reduce obesity. However, you might be better off eating the nuts whole.

Controlling obesity through nuts

The American Medical Association officially classified obesity as a disease in 2023 so that it can be treated like other chronic diseases without social or medical bias. Obesity can result in or increase your risk for other chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

Although research doesn't show that peanut butter specifically reduces obesity, snacking on nuts and nut products such as peanut butter can suppress your hunger hormones while stabilizing your blood sugar, according to a 2019 article in the Journal of Medicinal Food. People who snacked on pretzels felt less hungry, but their blood sugar and insulin levels spiked after their high-carb snack. Those who ate mixed nuts didn't see the same effect on their blood sugar and insulin levels, and their hunger and appetite hormones were lower. Eating more nuts, like almonds, every day might reduce your risk of obesity over time. A 2019 systematic review in Nutrition Research found that people who ate at least one to two servings of nuts per week were associated with fewer pounds gained.

Peanut butter is still high in calories

You'll have to be careful not to eat too much peanut butter, though. In a 2018 article in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, researchers had 17 healthy people who exercised eat five jars of peanut butter each over four weeks. Fourteen of the people who were able to eat that much peanut butter increased their fat mass as a result of the excessive calories.

You also won't see dramatic weight loss if you eat lots of peanut butter while dieting, but you might see some other health benefits. A 2022 article in Nutrients looked at the effect of eating 35 grams of peanuts before two of their meals every day as part of a weight loss plan. One group followed a low-fat diet, while another group ate nuts before their meals. After six months, both groups lost weight, even though there weren't significant differences between diets in terms of weight loss. Both groups of dieters also didn't differ in blood sugar levels. However, the peanut-eating group had decreased their systolic blood pressure.