On September 6th, ABC published an article titles “Can You Slim Down on Peanut Butter Diet?” Considering that peanut butter is my favorite food and I consume it daily I found this topic quite intriguing. According to the source, individuals actually lost weight when they centered their meals around this energy and nutrient dense food. Holly McCord, nutrition editor of Prevention magazine and author of The Peanut Butter Diet suggests that the reason for this is due to high satiety of the food. In other words, dieters did not feel deprived and thus were more likely to stick to their meal plans.
Her book was based off of research conducted at Harvard and Penn State where researchers concluded that diets high in monounsaturated fats helped to prevent heart disease and promote weight-loss in conjunction with exercise. At Harvard 101 individuals, weighing 200 pounds each divided into two groups. The first was put on a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and the second was given the “peanut butter diet,” where they were aloud 35 percent of their daily caloric intake from monounsaturated fats, 50 percent from carbohydrates, and 15 percent from protein. The researchers found that while initially both groups lost an average of 11 pounds, after 18 months the dieters on the peanut butter diet continued to maintain their weight loss, while the dieters in group one regained an average of 5 pounds each.
The article went on to explain the importance of portion control and that this diet was by no means a “free for all” to polish off a jar of peanut butter. If done properly, the peanut butter diet results in the loss of half a pound a week, with a total of 25 pounds a year for those who stick with it. This may seem like a long term solution to weight-loss, but the article stresses again that the reason this diet is maintainable is because it does not deprive individuals, causing them to falter and regain lost weight like most current diets do. Although critiques argue that the high fat content will promote weight-gain studies have found the opposite. Advocates point out that the peanut butter diet draws many similarities to the “heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet.”
The Mediterranean Diet promotes monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be the healthiest type of dietary fat. As a side note, without going off on a tangent, it is important to understand that fats are essential to a healthy diet because they help your body absorb nutrients (fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K)!!! They also provide us with insulation and energy, they cushion our organs, help maintain vibrant hair and skin, and provide high satiety-keep us feeling full!!
Monounsaturated fats contain double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule and are typically liquid at room temperature. They can be found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocados, peanut butter, and nuts and seeds! The health benefits of consuming monounsaturated include decreased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, and also provide our bodies with vitamin E.
Peanut Butter 101
Regular-processed, contains hydrogenated oils and added sugars
Natural– contains 2 ingredients, peanuts and salt. No sugar.
No stir Natural– same as above but contains palm oil.
Organic– contain ground organic peanuts: produced without pesticides, bioengineering or irradiation.
*Reduced Fat– replaces healthy fat with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a filler in many processed foods. “This means you’re trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories (Mens Health).”
Toss up between natural and organic peanut butter is widely debated. I personally tend to chose the natural, but if consuming a completely organic diet is of great importance to you, than that would be the way to go. At the very least avoid the reduced fat!!