All Peanut Butters Are Not Equal

peanut-butterSo, peanut butter is a staple in our house. A big staple, and Aria’s daily request. However, I’ve realized (as of late especially) that all peanut butters are not equal. We’ve always been an all-natural kinda family, but after a little investigation I learned that there may be a better route to go than our standard Smucker’s All Natural (good, but not best) peanut butter choice. In fact, peanut butter is a bit of a sticky topic when it comes to which is best. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Standard: Standard peanut butters are the majority of what you see on the shelf. Big brands like Jif and Peter Pan, etc often contain added sugar, oils, etc. So incredibly unnecessary. Choosy moms do not choose Jif.

All Natural: (like Smuckers, etc) are better. All natural versions should be just peanuts and sometimes added salt. They are often not-organic unless stated. Be careful though because some brands make a “natural” peanut butter (um…Jif) but they still are only 90% peanuts and the rest salt, palm oil, sugar, etc. Not much better than the standard.

Organic: Our go-to these days. It’s worth choosing an organic because peanuts are harvested from the ground and have a porous shell which means pesticides can seep into the nut themselves.  Lately, we’ve been eating Trader Joe’s Unsalted Organic, which is just blended peanuts.  Again read your labels carefully. We were recently on the west coast and I bought an organic brand called Simply Truth, and was shocked when I got home and realized that it had added organic cane sugar, organic palm oil and salt. Note to self: Read labels carefully!

The peanut butter debate gets a bit trickier and stickier because of Aflatoxin, a fungicide sprayed on all different types of peanuts (because they are prone to mold).  To avoid it, you need to buy peanut butter that is sourced from peanuts from New Mexico (Valencia) or another region where they don’t spray it. If your child is a peanut butter addict like Aria, you may also want to think about substituting in another nut spread once in a while (safflower or almond nut butter are good alternatives).

There are a bunch of good articles with more details. It’s like everything else I reading these days, where what you thought of as “good for you” may not be the best.