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Countless options of peanut butter are available on grocery store shelves today, but not all of them are created equal when it comes to healthiness.

Certain types are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber with minimal additives, while others are high in added sugar and ingredients that make them less healthy.

You may wonder what the healthiest choices are when it comes to peanut butter.

This article explains how to choose a healthy peanut butter and lists 6 of the healthiest options.

A slice of bread with peanut butterShare on Pinterest
Natural peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread

A good rule of thumb for choosing a healthy peanut butter is to look for one with the fewest ingredients.

Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food that only requires one ingredient — peanuts. They’re typically roasted and ground into a paste to make the final product.

However, one-ingredient peanut butter can be difficult to find unless you grind it yourself. Most commercial peanut butters contain at least peanuts and salt — and oftentimes a slew of other ingredients.

Less healthy products may contain added sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which offer extra calories and potentially adverse health effects. For example, eating too much added sugar or hydrogenated fats may increase your risk of heart disease (1, 2).

Even some natural and organic peanut butters include these unhealthy ingredients, making it important to read the ingredient panel.

SUMMARY

The healthiest commercial peanut butters contain minimal ingredients, starting with peanuts and sometimes salt. Less healthy varieties often contain hydrogenated vegetable oils and added sugar.

Below are 6 healthy traditional peanut butter brands, in no particular order.

Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts All Natural Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts

This brand offers creamy and crunchy peanut butter, both of which contain only one ingredient.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories180
Protein8 grams
Total fat 16 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Carbs5 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar2 grams

365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter, Unsweetened & No Salt

Ingredients: Dry roasted organic peanuts

Note that this brand also has a creamy, unsweetened variety that contains palm oil and sea salt.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories200
Protein8 grams
Total fat 17 grams
Saturated fat 2.5 grams
Carbs7 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar 1 gram

Trader Joe’s Creamy No Salt Organic Peanut Butter, Valencia

Ingredients: Organic Valencia peanuts

Note that this brand offers several peanut butter products, including no-stir peanut butter spreads that contain powdered sugar. Some of the other Valencia peanut butters also contain added salt.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories200
Protein8 grams
Total fat 15 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Carbs 7 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Sugar2 grams

Adams 100% Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts

Both the creamy and crunchy unsalted varieties of this product only contain peanuts.

Shop for the crunchy version online.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories190
Protein 8 grams
Total fat 16 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams
Carbs 7 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Sugar 2 grams

MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: 100% organic dry roasted peanuts, salt

When choosing this brand, look for peanut butter that has the organic label and specifically states “stir & enjoy.” Several other products from this brand contain palm oil and sugar, including some labeled “natural” and “organic no-stir.”

Be sure to search for the “stir & enjoy” variety if you want to avoid palm oil and other ingredients.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories 190
Protein8 grams
Total fat 16 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Carbs7 grams
Fiber3 grams
Sugar1 gram

Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Organic roasted peanuts, salt

This brand offers both dark and light roasted varieties that come in creamy or crunchy versions and contain minimal ingredients. You may want to avoid “no-stir” varieties, as these contain palm oil.

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories 180
Protein8 grams
Total fat 16 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Carbs5 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Sugar 1 gram
SUMMARY

6 healthy peanut butters are listed above. They contain minimal ingredients and are made without extra additives that offer no health benefits.

Some peanut butters — including ones with otherwise minimal ingredients — contain palm oil.

Palm oil has a neutral flavor, and its main purpose is to prevent the natural separation of oils in the product. Although palm oil isn’t a hydrogenated trans fat, there may be other concerns associated with its use and consumption.

Palm oil may increase your risk of heart disease if you’re limiting saturated fat in your diet (3, 4).

There are also some indirect public health effects of palm oil. Clearing forests for palm oil production causes air pollution that increases instances of skin, eye, and respiratory disease among nearby populations. It also releases greenhouse gases and destroys the habitats of at-risk species (5).

Peanut butters that contain palm oil may not be quite as healthy as those that only contain peanuts and salt, but here are some options if you prefer a no-stir variety.

Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Dry roasted peanuts, palm oil

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories210
Protein7 grams
Total fat 18 grams
Saturated fat 3.5 grams
Carbs6 grams
Fiber 1 gram
Sugar 2 grams

365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Dry roasted organic peanuts, organic expeller pressed palm oil, sea salt

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):

Calories200
Protein7 grams
Total fat18 grams
Saturated fat3.5 grams
Carbs6 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar1 gram

These peanut butters use a small amount of palm oil, which may be worth your consideration, but still offer many health benefits.

SUMMARY

Palm oil is used as the second ingredient in several healthier peanut butter brands. Although research is mixed around the heart-health effects of palm oil, its production has indirect consequences that may be worth considering.

Powdered peanut butter is a newer category. It’s made by removing most of the natural oils from peanuts — a process called defatting — and then grinding the peanuts into a powder. You can then rehydrate the powder with water.

This results in a peanut butter with fewer calories, fat, and carbs, despite a small amount of added sugar in some products. However, powdered peanut butter also offers a bit less protein and a lot less unsaturated fat than traditional peanut butter.

Here are two powdered peanut butter brands that can be a healthy part of your diet.

PB&Me Organic Powdered Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Organic powdered peanut butter

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (12 grams):

Calories45
Protein6 grams
Total fat1.5 grams
Saturated fat0 grams
Carbs4 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugar2 grams

Crazy Richard’s 100% Pure All Natural Peanut Powder

Ingredients: Peanuts

Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (12 grams):

Calories50
Protein6 grams
Total fat1.5 grams
Saturated fat0 grams
Carbs4 grams
Fiber2 grams
Sugarless than 1 gram

Powdered peanut butter can still be a healthy option despite having a slightly different nutritional profile than traditional peanut butter.

SUMMARY

Powdered peanut butters can be a healthy option if you’re looking for a peanut butter with fewer calories. However, they also have lower amounts of other healthy nutrients like protein or unsaturated fat, and some contain a small amount of added sugar.

Some peanut butter varieties are healthier than others.

Look for peanut butter that contains minimal ingredients, ideally just peanuts and possibly salt. Avoid peanut butter that contains added sugar or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Peanut butters that contain palm oil and powdered peanut butters can still be a part of a healthy diet, but they come with some other health considerations when choosing which peanut butter is best for you.

Be sure to look at the ingredient list and nutrition panel on the peanut butter jar to identify exactly what it contains.

Whichever peanut butter you choose, remember to eat it in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet that’s full of nutritious whole foods.