Peanut Butter has always been one of my favorite foods. As a child, I used to perk up anytime my mom packed me a fluffer-nutter for lunch and I had no shame eating it straight out of the jar when I got home from school. Even as recently as three years ago, when training for the Ottawa Marathon, P.B. and J was the first thing I ate after my long runs. And then, the truth. Peanut Butter, exposed. We started studying Omega fats in Biochemistry and that’s when it went all downhill. I recall my professor discussing the inflammatory response and highlighting Arachadonic Acid as one of the main catalysts for the body’s inflammatory response. “Funny”, I thought to myself “that sounds very similar to ‘beurre d’arachide’ the beautiful words on the front of my peanut butter jars.” That’s because the main fat in Peanuts, is Arachadonic Acid. NO! You mean to tell me my beloved Peanut Butter is, gasp, PRO-inflammatory!? Sad, but true. :(
In our diet we should strive to eat foods with Omega 6:3 ratios in the 4:1 – 1:1 range. This means keeping those Omega-6 fats low. Sadly, most of our diets are in the 15:1 – 24:1 range due to eating highly processed foods and high Omega-6 content oils such as Safflower, Soy, Corn, and yes Peanut. Our body treats Omega-6 fats in these oils JUST like the pro-inflammatory fats the body naturally produces when we are injured. Peanut Butter, sadly, has 4,000 milligrams of Omega-6 but only 1 milligram of Omega-3. Not good.
The problems with my darling P.B. doesn’t stop there. Mycotoxins. Yes, that it’s as scary as it sounds. Mycotoxins are metabolites that are produced by member of the Fungi Kingdom. As the name implies, they are toxic. How toxic? Studies are done to show the effect of diet on liver cancer. Sadly, the liver cancer is induced in animals. By what you ask? The potent Mycotoxin found on Peanuts, Aflatoxin. Yikes!
So as you can imagine, I was pretty deflated after all of this. But really, eating P.B. is just not worth the drama! Sorry Jiffy, our affair is over! But don’t despair, there are many other beneficial nut/seed butters you can enjoy! My current favorite is Pumpkin Seed Butter for it’s high iron content! Also pumpkin seeds contain ALA (Omega-3) which our bodies convert to DHA and EPA.
So think twice before you pick up the Peanut Butter!