Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of 2009: Revisiting Peanut Butter

This week I’ll be reposting blogs from 2009 that my clients felt were informative and helpful in their quest to shop and eat better.

What's In Peanut Butter? Skippy vs. Smucker's
(May 6, 2009)

Peanut butter is a great snack for adults, plus a go-to food for parents feedin
g 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. These 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 t
o 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.


Lisa said...

This is the post that led me to your blog page. Since I found your blog I"ve been hooked. Thanks so much for taking the time out to educate us on how to eat healthier.

Chef Rob said...


Thanks for following the blog over the past year.

All the best in 2010.