Peanuts are a nutrient dense food that contains vegetable proteins and healthful fats.
Overeating peanut butter may increase the number of calories and fat in someone’s diet. If a person is eating more calories than they need, they may gain weight.
Peanut butter can be a nutritious food when people eat the right amount. In such instances, peanut butter may help a person with weight loss.
In this article, we discuss the effect of peanut butter on weight.
Can it help with weight gain?
If a person consumes more calories than they burn off, they may gain weight.
A 32 gram (g) portion (2 tbsp) of peanut butter contains 190 calories and 16 g of fat, which is 21% of a person’s recommended daily value of fat.
Although peanut butter contains high levels of calories and fat, it may not encourage long-term weight gain when eaten as part of a balanced diet.
Although peanut butter contains high levels of fat, it contains low levels of saturated fats and significant amounts of good fats that are healthful for the body.
Peanut butter may also help people fill fuller, so they may not need to eat so much.
A studyTrusted Source published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the relation between protein-rich foods and weight.
The researchers found that peanut butter was associated with mild weight loss when individuals consumed it in place of some carbohydrates.
Can it help with bodybuilding?
As well as being high in fat, peanut butter also contains high levels of protein.
A small studyTrusted Source looked at nutritional strategies employed by 51 competitive bodybuilders and found that they consumed more protein and carbohydrates and lower amounts of fat.
According to researchersTrusted Source, the recommended dietary protein intake for bodybuilders in the off-season is 1.6–2.2g per kilogram of body weight a day.
A studyTrusted Source published in Obesity showed that a high protein diet was effective in helping male participants lose weight and body fat while preserving lean body mass.
The study lasted just 12 weeks, so researchers are unclear whether people who continue to follow the diet for more than the 3 months will maintain the muscle mass.
Since bodybuilders strive for high muscle mass and lean body mass, peanut butter, and other types of nut butter may be a beneficial food choice.
Can it help with weight loss?
Studies have demonstrated that peanut butter may help people lose weight.
According to researchers, there is an association between those who eat nuts daily, including peanuts, and a lower risk of obesity.
A large study conducted over 5 years, with participants from 10 European countries, supports this finding. The researchers concluded that those who ate the most amount of nuts, including peanuts, gained less weight and had a lower risk of having obesity over 5 years.
A small, short-term studyTrusted Source showed that resistance-trained athletes who lost weight by consuming a low calorie and high protein diet maintained lean body mass.
ResearchersTrusted Source have also demonstrated that people who eat nuts regularly may have a higher resting energy expenditure. People with higher resting energy expenditure may burn more calories during a nonactive period. This study only had 15 participants, so these findings require more research to support them.
This calorie-dense and high-fat food can help people feel fullTrusted Source. When people feel full, they are less likely to continue eating. Although peanut butter is high in calories, people may be less likely to overeat.
These findings suggest that nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter, can be a healthful food option for people who want to lose weight due to its high protein content.
When is the best time to eat it?
If a person is eating peanuts to lose weight, evidenceTrusted Source suggests they are more beneficial when people eat them as snacks throughout the day. This is because they may stop a person from overeating.
More research is required to identify the best time to eat peanut butter if a person is consuming it for its protein content to build muscle or maintain lean body mass.
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming protein 30 minutes before sleeping may also aid in building muscle. However, this research focused on casein protein, not protein from nuts.
The researchers state eating protein after exercising is also beneficial.
The following table, adapted from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), outlines the nutritional profile of peanut butter.
We compare the nutritional content of 2 tbsp of peanut butter with added sugar and a natural peanut butter in kilocalories (kcal), grams (g), and milligrams (mg).
|Peanut butter with added sugar||Natural peanut butter|
|Calories||200 kcal||190 kcal|
|Protein||8 g||8 g|
|Total fat||16 g||16 g|
|Carbohydrate||7 g||7 g|
|Fiber||1.98 g||3.01 g|
|Sugars||3 g||2 g|
|Calcium||0 mg||18.9 mg|
|Iron||0.72 mg||0.998 mg|
|Sodium||150 mg||0 mg|
Some brands with added sugar may contain as much as 6 g of sugar per 2 tbsp.
Natural peanut butter is a more healthful option because it contains less sugar. Processed peanut butter may have additional ingredients, including:
- hydrogenated vegetable oil
How to consume
Many people eat peanut butter at breakfast, on toast, a bagel, or in a smoothie. Some people use peanut butter in cooking, for example, to make sauces for vegetables. It is also great as a snack.
Here are some recipes to try:
- three ingredient peanut butter no bake energy bites
- homemade peanut butter
- healthful peanut butter granola
Nut butters are a great way to avoid or reduce the use of traditional dairy butter. Today, people can choose from a variety of nut buttersTrusted Source, including almond, cashew, and hazelnut.
Seed butters are also popular. Seed butters, such as sesame butter, sunflower seed butter, and pumpkin seed butter.
However, people can also make nut butters at home.
Learn how to make nut butters at home:
- nut butter
- super seed nut butter
If a person has an allergy to peanuts, they should avoid peanut butter and try alternative nut or seed butters.
People who need to gain weight but are having difficulty should speak with a doctor. They may want to do a full physical examination to find out why a person cannot gain weight.
A nutritionist or dietitian may be able to help people gain weight safely.
There is not much evidence to show that consuming peanut butter will help people gain weight. However, it may be beneficial when consumed as a part of a balanced diet for those who want to lose weight, maintain their current weight, or preserve lean body mass.
Although peanuts are high in calories and fat, they may help people feel full and prevent overeating.