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Product Review Natural Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butters are those that contain no trans fats or preservatives and are, according to their producers, “better for you” than other, non-natural peanut butters (kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?). I’ve seen some odd-looking peanuts but none that I’d ever consider unnatural

In any case, the standard issue, generic, 2 tablespoon serving of plain old peanut butter provides 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 7 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein and 150 milligrams of sodium. Most peanut butters contain peanuts, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Smart Balance Omega peanut butter contains flaxseed and palm oil, salt and molasses, along with 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

Taste is a matter of, well, taste. Some people swear by Jiffy while others will buy whatever is on sale. We can’t say one brand tastes better than the other because taste is simply too personal. Individuals with a sweet tooth will craze one brand while those who prefer more of a salty taste will prefer another. It’s really a matter of trial and error when it comes to comparing the flavors of each brand.

Far more simple to compare is the nutritional content of each brand. Not too surprisingly, there really isn’t a whole big difference is this area. A peanut is, after all, just a peanut. There are a couple of exceptions, but they are all within a close range. There really was nothing to warrant spending significantly more for one brand of natural peanut butter over another.

Most natural peanut butters provide your body with 200 calories per serving. Skippy Natural was slightly lower at 180 calories and Naturally More was surprisingly less with only 169 calories. Smucker’s Natural and Adam’s Organic both weighed in with 210 calories.

The grams of fat in each serving were equally similar. Each two tablespoon serving will generally provide you with 16 to 17 grams of fat. The only variation on that theme was, again, Naturally More which contains only 11 grams. I suppose less really is More However, if you are counting fat grams, you probably aren’t eating peanut butter anyway.

Of course, counting carbs is all the rage and where would we be to neglect them here? You get 5 to 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving of natural peanut butter. Smart Balance Natural came in lowest with only 5 grams while Naturally More had, surprisingly, more with 8 grams. All the other brands studied contained the same 6 grams, regardless.

Sodium content was a little surprising. Skippy topped the list with a whopping 150 mg. Adam’s Natural contains only 50 mg. All the rest were at 110 mg, except for Essensia, with 120 mg and Naturally More had slightly more with 130 mg.

The final criterion for comparison was protein content. Every brand had either 7 or 8 grams of protein per serving except Essensia with 9 grams and, you guessed it, Naturally More which holds the prize with 10 grams.

So, there it is. When it really comes down to it, if you are taking a closer look at your diet, there isn’t a whole lot of difference in what brand of natural peanut butter you are buying, so go for the one that’s on sale.

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All Natural Peanut Butters

One of the tastiest all natural foods on the market today is peanut butter. All natural peanut butter is simple, containing only peanuts and depending on what brand of peanut butter, a little salt. Some companies choose to add natural oils to their products to help stop separation. All natural peanut butter has none of the additives that a processed peanut butter has such as hydrogenated oils. It’s the absence of these hydrogenated oils in all natural peanut butter that makes it a healthier choice for the consumer. All natural peanut butter is high in protein and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats).

Most consumers like the idea that they are eating smarter, or healthier, but the first time that some consumers open a jar of all natural peanut butter they are somewhat appalled, or amazed, at what lies at the top of the jar. In shipping the good fats in all natural peanut butter separate from the peanut butter itself.  In processed peanut butter this doesn’t happen due to the process of hydrogenation. The process of hydrogenation (chemical alterations) is what makes processed peanut butter smooth and silky. Because all natural peanut butter isn’t hydrogenated it has a rougher texture until the top layer of oil is stirred back into the peanut butter itself.

A Comparison-

Smart Balance, Smuckers and Skippy Natural are just three of the brands of all natural peanut butter on the market. So which tastes better? Which is the least expensive? Which is healthier and most natural?  Comparing all three brands, all three were priced evenly, within a few cents of one another, for a 16 oz jar. Prices will vary from store to store. All three brands contain 0 grams of trans fat and no hydrogenated oils in any variety of their all natural peanut butters.

Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter comes in four varieties, Creamy, Chunky, Creamy Peanut Butter with Honey and Creamy Organic. Of all three brands Smuckers remains the most natural, listing their ingredients as peanuts and salt. The other two brands have natural oils added to their peanut butters. Smuckers has 16 grams of fat per serving including 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Smuckers manages to maintain some sweetness in their all natural peanut butter without the harmful additives.

Skippy All Natural Peanut Butter comes in two different varieties, Creamy and Crunchy. Skippy lists its ingredients as roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil and salt. Adding oil, even natural oil like palm oil, increases the amount of saturated fat. There is no product separation with Skippy All Natural Peanut Butter, so there is no need for stirring and it tastes like the original Skippy product. There is 16 grams of fat per serving including 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 3 grams of sugar.

Smart Balance has two varieties of all natural peanut butter on the market, Omega Extra Creamy and Omega Super Duper Chunky. Smart Balance lists the ingredients on their labels as peanuts, a natural oil blend(flaxseed and palm fruit oil), salt, and molasses. Smart Balance is smoother than most all natural peanut butters due to the oil blend that they use in their product. Smart Balance Omega All Natural Peanut Butter is gluten free and offers 1000mg per serving Omega 3’s. There is 17 grams of fat per serving including 3 grams of saturated fat.

In my opinion Skippy All Natural Peanut Butter tastes more like Orginal Skippy.  Smart Balance is the least sweet and the one that I would probably not buy again. Of all three varieties of all natural peanut butter that I tried I liked Smuckers the best.  It tasted the sweetest it was the best tasting. 

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