You'd think that most peonut butter you get in store is ground up peanuts but they are processed to create the perfect storm of addiction and caloric overconsumption. Fun test: Try taking peanuts and grinding it yourself in your home blender. It is FAR different in taste and texture from the kind of peanut butter you get in the store.
THEY CONTAIN SUGAR
Whether it's refined cane sugar or any other form of sugar, the palatability of most peanut butters is taken to a whole new level when it's sweetened with sugar. While sugar may(or may not) provide long term addictive properties(1), it may certainly provide short term caloric overloads and boosts that could add up in the long run or break a diet aimed for weight loss. Point to note: It's not sugar alone here at work. It's sugar combined with peanuts and... *drum rolls*...
THEY CONTAIN HYDROGENATED FATS
Hydrogenated fats give peanut butter its hardened structure and are the same stabilizing fats used to create margerine from vegetable oils. If you notice the peanut butter has a hardened and creamy structure like in the picture above, it has been hydrogenated. Some of the common hydrogenated oils are cottonseed, soybean, rapeseed and mono and diglycerides. We've gone to ends on our podcast with Tucker Goodrich to discuss the deletory impact of such oils in the body. The presence of these hydrogenated fats prevents seperation of the oils in the peanut butter but the long term impact of these products on health may not be worth it. Additionally, there's another problem with its texture...
VANISHING CALORIC DENSITY
This seals the deal for the product when it comes to creating the perfect storm of overconsumption. Most peanut butters have an ultra-smooth consistency which seems to, anecdotally, evade the sensory input which cues our body to stop eating(aka. Vanishing Caloric Density). This is very similar to how you can consume a lot more fruits in the form of fruit smoothie than individual fruits. Texture may play a very strong role(2) in how much a person can consume. This may be the strong contributing factor to why many folks can consume tablespoons of peanut butter without stopping. The smooth, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth texture may taste amazing but may be obesogenic in the short term to the very least when combined with other foods.
When creating our products, we decided to give our Energy Pods a textured mouthfeel while drastically reducing our sweeteners and stabilizing it with naturally occuring saturated fats. This combination has given us initial anecdotal evidence in several individuals of how filling the product is while not leading to perpetual cravings. As a consumer, you can try consuming the peanut butter without the extra creamy and melty texture(eg. picture above). However, it's important to note that foods are usually a combination of several individual components that create the ultimate storm. Hence, it's important to consider processed foods as a standalone product on its own rather than pick apart single components or ingredients since the new food product has evolved beyond its base ingredients(eg. donuts are anything but like the texture of sugar, oil and flour!)
Fahad is the founder of Ketogeek and hosts the Ketogeek Podcast, a world class health show about food, nutrition and health. He is into resistance training, Ashtanga yoga, calisthenics and various forms of training styles. Armed with a idealistic goals distilled in a world of realism, his goal is to help the world make a better place. He leads a life of extreme generalism or as he describes it, 'The Renaissance Lifestyle'.
“It never ceases to amaze me how prosaic, pedestrian, unimaginative people can persistently pontificate about classical grammatical structure as though it's fucking rocket science. These must be the same people who hate Picasso, because he couldn't keep the paint inside the lines and the colors never matched the numbers.”
― Abbe Diaz