Why We Love Peanut Butter So Much
The mantra “to find the simple pleasures in life” can easily be expressed by peanut butter lovers by grabbing a spoon, twisting open the lid of a jar of peanut butter open and digging in. Delicious satisfaction. Peanut butter might be the only spread that a large amount of people will take “straight up”... no jelly, no chaser.
So, what makes us love peanut butter so much? And is peanut butter “good” or “bad” for us? Let’s dive into that.
What makes us crave peanut butter?
According to a healthline.com nutritionist, Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, RN, CRNA , “Peanut butter is a nutritionally-rich food, which contains phytonutrients, such as beta-sitosterol. One study on animals indicated that beta-sitosterol may have value as an antidepressant.
Anecdotal evidence also indicates that beta-sitosterol helps reduce feelings of anxiety, possibly by stabilizing cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress. Stress has also been shown in animal studies , to trigger cravings of high-fat foods. You might findyourself reaching for a jar of peanut butter if you’re feeling anxious, stressed out, ordepressed, in an attempt to reduce those feelings.”
They also state that your body may be craving peanut butter as a way to make up for some nutrients you’re low on. Peanut butter contains many nutrients including:
- unsaturated fat
- amino acids
- vitamin E
Is peanut butter “good” or “bad” for us?
This brings us to a question surrounding peanut butter: is it “good” or “bad” for us?
We reached out to Priscilla Dean, LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor), who works with clients everyday surrounding the issue of food, dieting, and eating habits. As peanut butter contains fat, and Nubu nut butter bites contain sugar, are they good or bad for a healthy diet? Ms. Dean had a interesting perspective:
“Most people think that eating a "balanced diet" means that you eat "healthy" 5 days a week, and you "cheat" on the weekends.” Dean said. “This idea promotes an unhealthy perspective, that actually tends to create a guilty relationship with food and our bodies. This is far from intuitive or any kind of real balanced diet.
Eating food that our brain registers as "pleasurable" is an important part of maintaining a balanced relationship with food. Restricting your diet to only "healthy" foods and "guilty pleasures" tells our brain that we should not experience food as a pleasure without an emotional cost-- which most often is guilt. Balance means just that--balanced. Balance is not restrictive to only "healthy" options. Humans need a little bit of both what I call "fuel" foods (vegetables and proteins) AND we need pleasurable foods that are often high in sugar and fat in order to maintain that balance.
I challenge people to think of a "balanced diet" as one including sugar and fat. Restricting your diet to eliminate all sugar and high calorie foods is not balanced--and it often leads to what people usually fear: bingeing. But people also underestimate that restricting pleasure foods also has that terrible emotional cost--guilt. A guilt-free diet, in my therapeutic opinion, means allowing yourself to buy and eat food choices that include both fuel foods AND pleasure foods. This is closer to a real balanced diet.”
These ideas sound so logical, not to mention pleasurable, but are so different from the usual “good/bad” categories we’re used to placing our foods in.
In conclusion, it seems like the body is pretty good at telling us what it wants and needs. So enjoy the simple pleasure of peanut butter snacking. And for convenient, anytime spoon-less snacking, discover Nubu Nut Butter Bites. Made with 100% natural peanut butter, Nubu offers no-mess snacking for whenever you need a little “PB” boost.