Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What's In Peanut Butter? Skippy vs. Smucker's

(First of two parts)

Peanut butter is a great snack for adults, plus a go-to food for parents feeding their kids. Unfortunately, many of the commercial peanut butters sold in stores contain—unnecessarily—more than just peanuts.

The ingredients in Skippy creamy peanut butter are roasted peanuts, sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed) and salt. The added sugar and salt are not good for our health and, just as important, work to corrupt our taste buds.

However, the far greater danger lies in the hydrogenated oils, which are chemically altered oils. Th
ese oils contain unsaturated fats that have had hydrogen atoms added to their structure, making them more solid and turning them into trans fats.

Why are these hydrogenated oils added to many packaged and processed snack foods, including cookies, cakes and crackers? The change in chemical composition allows the oils to be better used in baking and also helps prevent spoilage, thereby prolonging food items’ shelf life.

But trans fats pose severe health risks, with the most serious being a link to heart disease, stemming from trans fats’ negative effects on the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol in the body. Connections to obesity and diabetes also exist.

So, what to
look for when buying peanut butter? Peanuts. Nothing more, nothing less. Many supermarkets and progressive food stores grind their own peanut butter. Failing that, Smucker’s makes a creamy peanut butter that “contains 100% peanuts,” with “no added salt, sugar, stabilizers or preservatives.”

The cost?
At my local supermarket, a 12-ounce jar of the Smucker’s is $2.49, compared to $2.79 for a 12-ounce jar of Skippy. Go figure.

(Tomorrow: Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread)


grumkin said...

You should also mention, the Smucker's PB comes in a glass jar, not a plastic one.

Am not sure how plastics leach into food, but am pretty sure the peanut butter is warm when it is placed in the jars, so my first choice would be glass over plastic any day.

I have already written to Smucker's commending them for still using glass for their containers. I believe they are the only ones who do.

Just discovered your blog btw, so that's why this is an old post.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Skippy "Natural" Peanut Butter contributes to deforestation because it uses Palm oil, not soy or rapeseed or cotton seed oils.

Anonymous said...

I've read that some peanut butter contains xylitol which is dangerous for dogs. Does anybody know which ones contain xylitol so I can avoid them?