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Consumer Reports: Is peanut butter healthy?

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Consumer Reports: Is peanut butter healthy? (WLS)

Plenty of kids grow up on peanut butter. Plenty of adults count on it as a quick and easy protein fix.

But years of fat phobia and assumptions that foods that taste rich or indulgent can't possibly be part of a healthy diet have left many people wondering: Is peanut butter actually good for you?

Health experts at Consumer Reports said it can be, if you choose wisely.

For 7-year-old Stella Payne, peanut butter is a dietary staple. But how does it fare, nutritionally?

"A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter has just under 200 calories and about 16 grams of fat, so people might think that it's unhealthy. But if you choose a peanut butter that doesn't have a lot of additives - you know, just simply peanuts and a little bit of salt - it actually does have some health benefits," said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports Heath Editor.

That includes magnesium, which, among other things, helps the body process sugars.

Like all nut butters, peanut butter is a convenient source of protein and a great source of fiber. There are roughly two grams in every serving.

Plus, it's high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are both heart healthy.

"A lot of the fat in peanut butter is actually good fat. It's healthy for you. So if you're going to choose a low-fat peanut butter, you might be missing out on some of the benefits that make it especially good for you," Calderone said.

Just be conscious of what you have with it. White bread and jelly? Not a great choice. Instead, think about whole wheat bread and real fruit spread. With no added sugars. Or better yet, actual fruit.

Remember, the benefits come from the peanuts themselves. Look for peanut butter without a lot of extra ingredients.

Consumer Reports also said nut butters like almond butter and cashew butter can have the same benefits, but like peanut butter, look for one that's just nuts and a little salt.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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