Here's a confession to make - my life would not have been complete without peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter, for the record. Nowadays, the peanut butter industry is no longer a question of Jif vs. Skippy, but a rising trend of people (including me) in pursuit of healthier eating habits are choosing natural peanut butter over them both. So really, is natural peanut butter healthy?

What is natural peanut butter?

peanut, butter, spread, peanut butter
Mary Mattingly

First of all, contrary to what you may think, "natural" is a very vague term since there are no FDA or USDA rules for labeling a food "natural." Generally, it refers to food made without artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, irradiated ingredients, or GMOs.

In the case of peanut butter, FDA regulations state only that peanut butter should contain at least 90% peanuts. Natural peanut butter, on the other hand, is generally expected to be free of hydrogenated oils, soy protein, corn syrup, and stabilizers, and contains less salt and sugar.

Some commercial brands use palm oil as an alternative stabilizer in the natural version and are therefore able to maintain a creamy, spreadable texture. But most brands don't. Instead, they require stirring before usage due to oil separation.

And is it healthy?

nut, sweet, vegetable
Katherine Carroll

The answer to this question largely depends on whether you consider peanut butter to be healthy. Many people are kept off because of the rich calorie and fat content in just one serving. What people don't know if that the majority of fat found in peanut butter is monounsaturated, namely, the "good" fat.

Moreover, peanut butter is a fairly good supplier of dietary fiber -as well as various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These are the excuses I use to indulge in peanut butter, even though I probably shouldn't.

peanut butter, peanut, butter, chocolate
Jocelyn Hsu

Natural and conventional PB have nearly the same nutritional contents. Natural peanut butter is not necessarily healthier than conventional, except that it most definitely frees you from ingredients like corn maltodextrin, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and mono- and di-glycerides

The effects of these ingredients are controversial. There's no evidence that they're harmful to humans, but they contain trans fat - an ingredient linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. This risk means you should be consuming it in moderation. In the opinion of organic advocates, these ingredients are much condemned and best avoided altogether.

Anyway, I would say that like anything else, as long as you keep an eye on the amount you're eating, two tablespoons a day won't hurt. As for me, I should really cut down on my peanut butter intake...

peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pb&j, slice, wheat, bit, jelly, jam, bread, butter, sandwich, peanut, peanut butter
Caroline Ingalls


Is natural peanut butter healthy? Yes and no. There are two sides to this question, and it's simply up to you to weigh in the pros and cons. If I were you, I wouldn't give up PB just yet, not until you try out these delicious peanut butter cookies, chocolate PB banana pops, and PB&J cups that are simply irresistible.