You either love it or completely avoid it.  I’ve come across websites and blogs devoted entirely to peanut butter addiction.  LOL!  Recently, there’s been a lot of debate surrounding this famous spread….


Are peanuts actually nuts?
Is it healthy for you?
Should you avoid it while trying to lose weight?

Peanut butter is smooth, salty, and highly palatable.  However, if you think you’re getting your dose of nuts for the day, think again…  Peanuts aren’t nuts – they are actually part of the legume family, along with alfalfa, peas, beans, chickpeas &  lentils, to name a few.

I collected some valuable information from several different sources.  Take a look:


They contain 18g of protein per half cup, along with 36g of fat, half of which is healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA) in the form of oleic acid.

Peanuts are chock-full of biotin, niacin, folate, vitamin E, polyphenols, and resveratrol, which act as powerful antioxidants. They also contain coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a key nutrient for heart health.

A half cup of peanuts also provides 6g of fiber, which keeps your bowels regular and supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Studies on the benefits of regular peanut consumption show peanut butter can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease risk by 20 percent. Eating peanuts more than twice weekly reduces colon cancer rates by 58 percent in women and 27 percent in men.

In addition, elderly people consuming niacin-rich foods like peanuts have a 70 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline compared to the low intake of the general population.  The researchers believe the high antioxidant content of nuts is the driving force behind these positive health outcomes.

To most people, this would sound like a pretty impressive list of benefits.  So why do some people view peanuts as bad?

Here’s what I gathered from a few different websites:


1- Aflatoxin:
Peanuts are particularly susceptible to molds and fungal attacks. One fungus in particular, Aspergillus flavus, produces a toxin called aflatoxin that has been shown to be 20x more carcinogenic than DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane – an insecticide).

However, this problem is far more widespread in raw peanuts.  The process of cooking and roasting peanuts significantly reduces aflatoxin by almost 90 percent, and nuts such as pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are all susceptible to aflatoxin, as well.

The government regulates that foods cannot contain more than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin, a level which is not harmful to humans.

2- Allergic reactions:
Today, it seems like every other child is deathly allergic to peanuts. Even one generation ago, there might have been one or two kids in a class that had a peanut allergy, while today the numbers seem to be spiking out of control.

Peanuts are classified as one of the eight major allergens, which include milk, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc.), peanuts, and soy.  Roughly 3 million people suffer from tree nut and peanut allergies. The number of children (under the age of 18) living with peanut allergies has increased by 300% since 1997.  ????  WOW!

3- Agglutinins:
Agglutinins are peanut lectins, proteins that bind sugars and help molecules stick together to avoid immune system activation.

Lectins are considered anti-nutrients because they aren’t degraded by your digestive enzymes and can bypass the gut wall and make their way into the bloodstream in as little as 1-4 hours.

Lectins can ultimately damage the lining of the gut wall and trigger immune reactions that lead to fatigue, joint pain, foggy brain, etc. Sprouting, soaking, cooking or fermenting foods with lectin dramatically reduces the negative impacts of lectins on the body.

4- Oxalates:
Oxalates are another common anti-nutrient found in grains, legumes and plants.  If levels become too concentrated, they can crystallize in the body and cause harm to your kidneys or gallbladder. Oxalates also bind to key minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium, reducing your capacity to absorb them efficiently.

5- Atherogenic — To put this in layman’s terms, it may increase the risk of atherosclerosis (constriction of the blood vessels). Peanut butter has been used to induce atherosclerosis in animals (for research purposes). It usually only works if cholesterol levels are high, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

So, we’ve looked at the good and the bad, and it’s time to answer the question: Is peanut butter healthy?  The answer:

The high nutritional value makes it a useful addition to your diet, and it can help protect your heart, reduce your risk of diabetes, and promote feelings of satiety that will prevent you from overeating.

But, if you’re not careful, it can cause you to gain weight, and there is always the risk of allergy.  Also, beware of what type you are buying.  Opt for the natural stuff – no sugar and/or unnecessary oils.

Understanding this will help you to keep peanut butter in its correct place on your menu!


  1. Marcia Diaz Says:

    Wow Rima this is sooo interesting!! You did a huge research. Thank you!!!
    I’m a peanut butter lover… that’s been running from it lol


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