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Why Peanut Butter is Not a Healthy Staple

If you regularly smear peanut butter onto bread or a cracker and call it a meal, you’re fooling yourself.  Yes, this shoddy, cheap spread will temporarily stave off hunger but it doesn’t compare to a real meal. Besides peanuts are one of the most common food allergens and commercial peanuts are typically contaminated.

High Pesticide Percentage  Many southern peanut fields are crop-rotated with cotton. Cotton, a non-food crop, is plagued by the boll weevil and is treated with chemicals too toxic to be permitted on food crops. As a result, pesticides killing this year’s boll weevils will taint next year’s peanuts. Some people sensitive to commercial peanuts find that they tolerate organic peanuts.

Carcinogenic Aflatoxins   After being harvested from the earth, these ground nuts lie in the field to dry. Those grown humid states invariably develop mold. Therefore, the USDA allows a percentage of aflatoxins, a potent carcinogenic toxin, in peanut products. Peanuts grown in arid areas like eastern New Mexico are much less susceptible to mold formation because of the low humidity. Ask your manufacturer to identify the region from which their peanuts are grown.

Rancidity   Because peanuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, they form toxic transfatty acids when exposed to heat, air, or light as they age. If peanut butter smells stale or has an acrid, harsh aftertaste it is probably rancid and so discard it. To help keep peanut butter fresh, purchase it in small quantities and keep it tightly covered and refrigerated.

Added Ingredients  Most commercial peanut butter contains about 10% shoddy ingredients including dextrose, corn syrup solids, emulsifiers, hydrogenated vegetable oils and salt. It could be one of these ingredients that triggers allergic reactions.

If you are sensitive to peanuts, assiduously avoid them in any form, including peanut oil (see Identify Food Allergies). Work with your health care practitioner to strengthen your digestion. Additionally, people with nut sensitivities or with cancer, gout, autoimmune disease or candida do best to avoid peanuts.

Sure there’s nothing wrong with a little peanut butter now and then for the fun of it. But not as a dietary staple. When purchasing peanut butter, please favor organic peanut butter that contains only whole peanuts and possibly a little sea salt. Commercial peanut butter is made from peanuts from which the skin and nutritious germ have been removed. As the peanuts in the peanut butter machine at my natural food store are not labeled organic, I pass on them.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

Related

9 comments to Why Peanut Butter is Not a Healthy Staple

  • Cindy

    Thanks for your reply :) I know deep frying isn’t healthy, and I usually make myself one potato a week doing it this way and never deep fry anything else. I normally eat very healthy. I probably should find a different way to make my french fries that tastes better, but ever since I found that darn recipe, I just love the flavor! Thank you again.

    • I agree, french fries are delicious and you don’t have to give them up. Enjoy them occasionally.
      You might try “oven” fries (there are recipes on line) for a healthier version and then when the mood hits go for the real thing. As saturated and semi-saturated fats best withstand high temperatures, consider using lard, coconut or palm oil and use fresh fat each time.

  • Cindy

    I just recently discovered the use of peanut oil when I found it in a recipe for french fries. I leave in in a covered pot on my stove all the time and that’s the only thing I cook in it. I also leave the bottle of unused peanut oil in a cabinet at room temperature. When researching to see if it was better than olive oil, I found different articles stating it could cause cancer. Do you know if I’m causing any harm doing what I am with using it for french fries and leaving the oil at room temperature? Thank you.

    Cindy

    • Gosh, Cindy,where to begin. Perhaps with deep frying. By all means enjoy deep fried dishes occasionally. But deep-fried foods are NOT health promoting and there are so many other tasty and healthful ways to enjoy potatoes.

      THe safest oils to use for deep-frying are saturated or semi-saturated as they can withstand high temperature. All liquid vegetable oils, including peanut oil, are denatured at high temperature despite their advertised smoke point. Oils develop free radicals long before they reach a smoke point.

      Lastly the odds are that your peanut oil was already highly refined and so, in a word, is toxic. Favor only unrefined vegetable oils.

  • kim johnson

    How can I possibly be sure that any peanuts, even those organically grown, are free of aflatoxins? Does anyone know of a source/supplier for organic peanuts that are tested?

  • Jan Cross Cubbage

    There is misinformation in your article concerning aflatoxins and relationship to peanut harvesting. “After harvesting” peanuts lie on the ground to dry. Well, any commercial peanut farmer will tell you that was the situation 30 years ago when peanuts were pulled out of the ground attached to the under ground vine like root system by field hands. The suns rays actually dried out the fungi and perhaps ultraviolet rays had much to do with actually killing fungi spores. In modern era peanut farming the harvesting is done by harvester machines that rip out the peanut roots, nuts attached, separate the nuts from the roots and plant and collect the nuts shooting them into the big trailer pulled by the harvester. The trailers are then hooked to a truck, sometimes a six or seven together and the wagon train of peanuts, TONS of them are hauled to the mill. And then , these tons of peanuts , all packed together in a trailer may sit for several days at the mill before processing (removal from the shells). This is where the fungi grows rampant in the hot , humid southern climate of Georgia and Florida and Alabama our leading peanut growing states. To slow down the fungus growth, the peanut field are doused with liquid (toxic)fungicides a week before harvesting. The smell is so bad around the fields that it will make you sick. And by the way, the FDA in the USA does not test for chemical toxins in peanut butter. If they did they would shut down the entire commercial non organic peanut growing business in America. By the way, other nations (Japan, Euro) will not buy USA, non organic peanut butter because they do test!
    And we wonder why cancer and developmental disorders are so prevalent in our nation’s children!

  • GLORIA

    Thanks for the caution about rancidity and additives .I “overlove” peanuts,can compete with the squirrels.For fast metabolisers is their anthing as munchy as peanuts but with less calories?.Also are there any limits on soya milk?

    • You’re welcome. By the way, a strong craving for a food (like in your case perhaps peanuts?) is often an indicator of a food sensitivity. Limits on soy milk? As with any food, it depends upon your own condition. However I invite you to limit all processed foods including soy milk and favor whole foods.

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