All natural peanut butters are not alike, but are they really all that different? Depending on your nutritional needs, they can be.
Peanut butter has been hailed as a healthy snack, if you can limit how much you eat. It is a good source of protein, vitamin e, niacin and fiber, but the fat and calorie contents are high.
There are three major brands of natural (not organic) peanut butter sold in the United States: Smart Balance, Smucker’s Natural and Skippy Natural. Of the three brands, the major differences among them are the ingredients, price and the taste.
Nutritional content is very similar with one exception; Smart Balance contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. These two acids are necessary, in proper balance, for good health. Since the only way for the human body to obtain these acids is from food, this can be one source, but given the fat and caloric content of peanut butter, it could be argued that there are better sources.
All three peanut butters have no trans fat, which is good, but two of the three brands still contain palm oil, which is not so heart (or environmentally, but that is another story) friendly.
I have constructed a chart showing the ingredients and nutritional contents of the three peanut butters. One serving is two tablespoons.
Brand Smart Balance Smucker’s Natural Skippy Natural
Ingredients peanuts, palm peanuts, salt peanuts, sugar, oil, salt, molasses palm oil, salt.
Fat 17 grams 16 grams 16 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams 2.5 grams 3.5 grams
Trans fat 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams
Calories 200 210 180
Sodium 110 mg 120 mg 150 mg
Carbohydrates 6 grams 6 grams 7 grams
Protein 7 grams 8 grams 7 grams
The taste of the three peanut butters is one consideration when choosing a brand. Personally, I found that the Skippy Natural tastes the most like “regular” peanut butter. It was given the Chef’s Best Taste Award from the Culinary Chef’s Association.
The Smucker’s and Smart Balance are both good tasting quality peanut butters, but they do need to be stirred, while the Skippy does not. That may not be a deal breaker for some, but if you have arthritis or other problems with your hands, you may want to take that into consideration.
You can keep your peanut butter in the refrigerator, which can lesson the separation and reduce the need for stirring.
Depending on your particular taste and nutritional needs, you can choose the peanut butter that may be better for you. For example, you may be counting calories so the Skippy Natural looks like the better choice, but if you have high blood pressure, you may want to choose the Smart Balance for the lower sodium.
If you are concerned about the palm oil, then you would want to choose the Smucker’s Natural I hope this helps in making an informed choice when choosing the peanut butter that is best for you.