.Nut butter can be a great treat for kids. Hey, but it can also be pretty phenomenal for us adults too. Nut butter contains vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s packed with healthy fats. Not to mention it’s a good source of vegetarian protein.
But buyer beware. All nut butters aren’t the same. So it’s important to educate yourself as a consumer. Look at the ingredients label before bringing this home for your family. Because there are many sneaky ingredients added to these butters that depreciate their overall nutritional value.
So today we’re going to talk about distinguishing the healthy brands from the less healthy brands. Here are 5 things you should be aware of on a nut butter label:
Lots of ingredients
Here’s a situation where less is more. The fewer ingredients in the peanut butter, the better it’s likely to be. Here’s why.
A nut butter that just contains nuts is very natural. And it’s going to be healthier because there isn’t anything added that will take away from its nutrition. You just get the natural vitamins, minerals, and protein from the nuts. But the more that’s added to it, the more artificial it’s likely to be.
Many nut butters contain added sugar. Which is completely unnecessary because nut butter tastes great unsweetened. And you might not realize that your nut butter contains sugar unless you read the label.
Just because a nut butter is labelled as healthy or is sold in a natural foods store doesn’t mean it won’t contain sugar. In fact, a large percentage of the natural peanut butter brands do contain sugar. Sometimes lots of it. So always read labels!
Nut butters are often processed using vegetable oils. You’ll know this is the case if you see any type of oil on your ingredients label. Most often you’ll see palm oil.
These vegetable oils are completely unnecessary. Palm oil is extremely high in unhealthy saturated fats. Plus the majority of vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids (which most of us already consume in excess.) Nut butter contains lots of healthy fats. So it’s important not to add any unhealthy ones.
If you see hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil on the label, run the other way. Hydrogenated oils are extremely toxic processed oils. Not only can they be high in saturated fats, but they contain trans fats. And trans fats are the worst type of fats for your health.
Hydrogenated oils add texture to nut butters. So brands use them more often than you’d think. But they’re not worth the price you’ll pay with your health.
Most nut butters will contain some salt. But you just want to make sure that your nut butter’s sodium levels aren’t through the roof. Because this is bad for your heart, among other things.
No-salt options are best, if you can find them. The average peanut butter has about 5 mg of sodium per 2 tablespoons. So if you aren’t getting the no-salt variety, it’s important not to overindulge.
The moral is, you should enjoy your nut butters. They can be a filling part of a meal or a great snack. Nuts contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and good fats. But make sure to read the label. Or you might be getting more from your brand of nut butter than you bargained for.