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Consumer Reports: Is peanut butter healthy?

Is peanut butter actually good for you? Health experts at Consumer Reports say it can be. If you choose wisely. (Image credit: Consumer Reports)

Plenty of kids grow up on peanut butter, and plenty of adults count on it as a quick and easy protein fix. But years of fat phobia and assumptions that foods that taste rich or indulgent can't possibly be part of a healthy diet have left many people wondering: Is peanut butter actually good for you? Health experts at Consumer Reports say it can be -- if you choose wisely.

A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter has just less than 200 calories and about 16 grams of fat, so people might think that it's unhealthy. But, if you choose a peanut butter that doesn't have a lot of additives, like just simply peanuts and a little bit of salt, it actually does have some health benefits. One healthy component of peanut butter is magnesium, which among other things, helps the body process sugars.

Like all nut butters, peanut butter is a convenient source of protein and also a great source of fiber -- roughly two grams in every serving. Plus, it's high in mono and polyunsaturated fats which are heart healthy.

A lot of the fat in peanut butter is actually good fat -- it's healthy for you. So, if you're going to choose a low-fat peanut butter, you might be missing out on some of the benefits that make it especially good for you.

Just be conscious of what you have with it. White bread and jelly are not great choices. Instead, think about whole wheat bread and real fruit spread with no added sugars or, better yet, actual fruit.

Also, remember the benefits come from the peanuts. So, look for peanut butter without a lot of extra ingredients. And Consumer Reports says nut butters like almond butter and cashew butter can have the same benefits, but like the peanut butter, you want to look for one that's just nuts and a little salt.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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