As highlighted in part one of our blog, we saw arguments on both sides of the debate. It was stated that peanut butter is high in healthy fats and is low in carbohydrates and suitable for people with type 2 diabetes. However, it is also low in the essential amino acid methionine.
In this blog we look at the minerals and vitamins that are present in peanut butter and see that it is a really good food source for antioxidants but has the potential to supply aflatoxins to the body. Taking all this evidence into account, we draw up our conclusions.
Rich in Minerals and Vitamins
Generally, as a food source, peanut butter is pretty good for supplying essential minerals and vitamins. Just one hundred grams contains the following: Vitamins E, B3 and B6, folate, copper, magnesium and manganese, and has also moderate amounts of vitamin B5, zinc, iron, potassium and selenium.
However, this good news has to be tempered with the fact that peanut butter is stacked full of calories. In fact, the same one hundred grams portion has almost six hundred calories, if you were to compare peanut butter with spinach or broccoli, it is really nowhere near as nutritious.
As a real food, peanut butter contains more than minerals and vitamins. It is also full of other nutrients that are biologically active, some of which have health benefits. One such type of nutrient are antioxidants, such as p-coumaric acid, and resveratrol.
Source for Aflatoxins
So far, most of the news has been good and in support of peanut butter as a food source, however some scientists suggest that it can also be a source for aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced by certain types of fungi that can be attracted to peanuts. As peanuts grow underground, they can be colonized by the mold Aspergillus. And this mold is full of aflatoxins which are very carcinogenic.
Some cancer studies have shown that although the human body is pretty resistant to short-term effects of aflatoxins, long term they can cause liver cancer and problems with growth in children. But by the miracles of technology, when peanuts are roasted and then crushed, this process can reduce the levels of aflatoxins present in peanut butter by a staggering 90%.
To sum it up, peanut butter has more beneficial attributes than negative ones. The lovable spread is full of nutrients and a pretty good source of protein. It is stacked full of vitamins, fiber and minerals but the pay off in all of this is its high calorie content.
On a downside, it can be a real problem because of aflatoxins which, as we have seen, can have harmful long-term effects. The conclusion is the same as many similar popular foods, peanut butter is perfectly okay provided it is used as part of a properly balanced diet. The problem most users have with this incredible spread is that it is almost impossible to stop eating after just one spoonful.