These days the supermarket shelves are packed with an almost overwhelming range of peanut butters: chunky, super-chunky, creamy, sugar-free, sodium-free, natural, organic, and more. The list goes on and on. When it comes to your weight-loss goals, how do you choose the best one? Start by considering that many supermarket peanut butters may contain more added sugars and hydrogenated oil than all-natural peanut butters.
On the South Beach Diet, we recommend “natural” peanut butter, either freshly ground in the store or a national brand. Peanut butters labeled “natural” usually have peanuts as their only ingredient, although some do contain a little salt and occasionally a little sugar (look for brands with 1 gram of sugar or less). Because the natural peanut oil from the peanuts rises to the top in these products, you will have to stir it in. There are also “no-stir trans-fat-free” natural peanut butters available. There is no need to shop in health food or specialty-food stores to find natural peanut butter these days, since most supermarkets carry it.
Benefits of Peanut Butter
In addition to being a great source of protein, peanut butter is rich in monounsaturated fat and the B vitamin folate, and it also contains some resveratrol (the phytochemical also found in red wine). These nutrients are important for cardiovascular health.
Snack on It
You can enjoy up to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter a day as your nut allowance on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. Peanut butter is especially good as a satisfying midmorning or midafternoon snack or after a workout for quick energy. If you’re on Phase 1, enjoy it with celery, jícama, or fennel, or in a lettuce roll-up. On Phase 2, it’s great with sugar-free jam on whole-grain crackers, or spread on apple, pear, or banana slices.