Sometimes you never outgrow your childhood favourites — Peanut Butter is one of mine. 🙂 I wanted to choose a healthy peanut butter for my family, so I set up a blind taste test with some of my training clients.
The content of this blog post are my opinions, and the opinions of the tasting panel, not statements of fact.
Nutritional Benefits of Peanuts
Hey, I’m not a Dietician, so please do your own research…
Although peanuts taste like a nut, they’re actually a legume. They contain some protein, carbohydrates and fibre, but they are mostly a fat source — which is what makes them so filling. Peanuts are high in…
- Vitamin B3 or Niacin — helps the body to convert food into fuel it can use, and creates various sex and stress hormones
- Vitamin E — a fat-soluble vitamin which may protect cell membranes from damage and slow the ageing process
- Magnesium — it’s involved in the regulation of over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, however one of its main functions is fluid balance; it also aids in the production of energy
- Resveratrol — also found in red wine and grapes, studies on resveratrol show that it may delay the ageing process, reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate 1 oz / 28 grams of nuts a day (nuts and peanuts), were leaner and had a reduced risk of death.
According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), 1-2% of people are allergic to nuts or seeds, and products they are used in.
Children have a increased chance of an allergic reaction if they (or a member of their immediate family) already have a a food allergy, or other allergy such as asthma, eczema or hay fever.
The NHS advise not to give peanuts or peanut products to children under six months. And to avoid giving whole nuts to children under five years old, as it can be a choking hazard.
The Best Healthy Peanut Butter — Taste Test
A group of my training clients tasted them blind — bowls were numbered, and to ensure no bias, they did not know which peanut butters would be in the test.
The subjects ate from disposable spoons, to ensure the flavour was not altered by spreading it onto something like crackers or bread.
The Peanut Butter Selection
For this taste test, I chose crunchy peanut butters…
- Four that could be considered a healthy option, with no added sugar
- I created a homemade peanut butter from organic peanuts (my first attempt)*
- Plus one popular peanut butter containing sugar, and stabilisers, to use as a taste benchmark — so we could check whether the healthier options tasted better than this
“Natural” peanut butters are considered one of the more nutritious options, as they only contain peanuts and possibly salt — whereas many popular peanut butters contain hydrogenated oils, sugar and stabilisers.
|ORGANIC||NATURAL||NO ADDED SUGAR||FIBRE PER|
|Whole Earth 100% Nuts Crunchy Peanut Butter||✔||✔||✔||8.9g||31g|
|Meridian Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter||✔||✔||✔||8.5g||29.6g|
|Biona Organic Nut Butter - Peanut Crunchy||✔||✔||✔||8.4g||25.6g|
|Whole Earth Crunchy Peanut Butter||✔||X|
|*Homemade Organic Peanut Butter with Himalayan Pink Salt||✔||✔||✔||6.2g||25.6g|
|Sun-Pat Crunchy Peanut Butter||X||X|
1st Place — Whole Earth Crunchy Peanut Butter
This contains sustainable palm oil and sea salt, and includes peanut skin, which really brings out the peanut flavour. Although it’s not organic, the Taste panel highly rated it for the wholesome flavour.
“Tastes organic and healthy.”
“Tastes healthy! Yet yummy!”
“Tastes homemade with whole nuts.”
The Tasters also rated this peanut butter the most crunchy of all those they tried.
2nd Place — Biona Organic Nut Butter – Peanut Crunchy
This butter is made with certified organic peanuts, and added sea salt.
They freshly roast the nuts in small batches, before milling.
It was rated by our Tasters as the least crunchy of the peanut butters.
“Love it!! Smooth and velvety with added crunch.”
“Lovely texture; slightly salty taste. My favourite!”
3rd Place — Sun-Pat Crunchy Peanut Butter
This was a bit of a ‘curveball’ result.
This peanut butter isn’t categorised as one of the healthy options, as it contains added sugar and stabilisers.
But I included it in the tasting selection, as it’s the peanut butter most of us ate as children.
And what’s good for you doesn’t always taste as nice as something with added sugar.
Quite a few of the Tasters liked the sweetness. It was rated quite highly for crunchiness.
“Nice and nutty”
“Sweet, but also salty and sticky”
However, there were a number of comments by the panel about the colour of the peanut butter, which seemed artificial.
Other comments of note
The next best performing peanut butter on the list was my homemade version, with organic nuts. I only put a little bit of salt in it, and in hindsight if I’d added more it may have got a better rating.
The results are bittersweet for Whole Earth. There was a huge difference in the texture of our winner Whole Earth Crunchy Peanut Butter, versus Whole Earth 100% Nuts Crunchy Peanut Butter, which was ranked the least favourite by our panel. The 100% version received comments such as “Really sticky, like glue,” “Too thick and sticky,” “Too sticky – hard work to eat.”
The first and second place peanut butters were both really tasty.
Be part of the discussion. Let me know your favourite natural Peanut Butters in the Comments box below.
George D. Choy
Personal Trainer & Calisthenics Instructor
Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, United Kingdom