We love Peanut Butter in our household as I am sure a million other families do as well! It is such a universal condiment used in making sandwiches, baking, and snacks. Our 3 1/2 year old wants it with every meal, so definitely one of his favs. A few years’ back we used to use Jif, but once I was on my quest to eat more naturally, I actually took the time to read the ingredients. I was a little shocked and a little mad at myself for not looking into this sooner.
There are so many other healthier alternatives out there, including making your own. I have broken down the differences in Jif, Santa Cruz (all organics), and my own DIY recipe. 🙂
Jif Peanut Butter
– Roasted peanuts and sugar
– Contains 2% or less of: molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, and salt.
– Peanuts: Peanuts are actually a legume and not a nut since they grow underground. They are actually related more closely to the chickpeas or soybean family than the other “nut” families – who knew?! We do know they are good for us – a great source of protein and rich in monounsaturated fats – the type of fat that is talked about in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
Peanuts are also a good source of folate, which helps to protect against birth defects, builds strong bones and provides protection against heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin E, niacin, and manganese. Peanuts also contain resveratrol which is the antioxidant found in red wine and grape juice and they are also high in phytosterols. These help promote healthy cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease and possibly the potential to fight cancer!
– Sugar – sugar is my arch nemesis. I absolutely love sweets and all desserts, but deep down I know that too much of a good thing is not good at all. 🙁 Sugar is added into everything and it is something that I always try to avoid unless I am baking. Make sure to read the ingredients label and try to stay away from added sugar (also anything ending in -ose).
Sugar is made up of 2 simple sugars:
- Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from our diet, our bodies can actually produce it.
- Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it.
Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts, which is not a big deal if we eat small amounts (like fruit) or just finished working out. Then it is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it. But, if the liver is full of glycogen, eating a ton of fructose can overload it and make that fructose into fat! This can not only lead to obesity, but a slew of other health issues.
This does NOT apply to fruit. It is pretty much impossible to eat too much fructose by consuming fruit. Also, those who are healthy & active can actually tolerate more sugar (another reason to work out) than people who are sedentary and eat poorly.
Sugar is also very addictive (I can attest). Sugar actually causes the brain to release dopamine (same stuff that’s released when you take drugs). Studies have found that it is eight time more addictive than cocaine.**
– Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils – Hydrogenation is a chemical process that converts liquid vegetable oil into solid fat. Partially hydrogenated oils, such as shortening and soft margarine, are semi-soft. Oils that are fully hydrogenated are firmer, and don’t contain any of the dangerous artery-inflaming trans fat found in partially hydrogenated oils. But they do harbor some saturated fat in the form of stearic acid, which is created during the hydrogenation process. Both trans fats and saturated fats contribute to your risk of heart disease.
It’s probably best to avoid hydrogenated oils in general. Rapeseed and soybean oil are high in Omega-6 fatty acids. High consumption can lead to inflammation in the body.
– mono and diglycerides – are food additives that are used as an emulsifier. These synthetic fats are produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, from either plant or animal origin. They are typically used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water (usually don’t mix well). Companies use them to extend shelf life.
Since they are made from fatty acids, mono- and diglycerides may contain trans fats, either when manufactured in a lab or, if they come from an animal or vegetable source, when exposed to heat for processing into packaged and prepared foods.
In ’06, the FDA required food manufacturers to list a food’s trans fat content on the label. This law applies to lipids, like triglycerides, but not to emulsifiers like mono- and diglycerides. Therefore, even though mono- and diglycerides may contain trans-fatty acids, they do not fall under these labeling requirements. This means a food may be labeled as possessing “0% trans fat” yet still contain trans-fatty acids from mono- and diglycerides.
– Salt – I try to cut down on my salt intake as much as I can. I would prefer to add it only if the recipe or my taste bud calls for it. Seventy-seven percent of dietary sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods. When you consume a lot of salt (more than your kidneys can excrete), it will start to accumulate in your blood, leading to water retention and an increase in blood volume. This will cause your heart to work harder (to keep your blood pumping) and it increases pressure in your arteries. Over time this can potentially lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.
I normally don’t buy Jif at the grocery store but found it on Amazon for $16.99 (40 oz. 2-pack). That comes out to $.21/ounce.
Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter
– Organic Roasted Peanuts, Contains 1% Or Less Of Salt.
This peanut butter only has two ingredients. I am not a fan of the added salt, even though it is not much, but I do like the fact it does not have any additional oil. Definitely a plus.
Santa Cruz is only $4.95 for 16 oz. on Thrive Market. That comes out to $.31/ounce for all organic peanut butter which is not bad. If you are new to Thrive Market (like an online all natural Costco), you can get 15% off your first order by following my link! That would only cost you $4.21 or $.26/ounce!
My Homemade Peanut Butter
Is also another great option, it’s healthy, and super easy!
– peanuts, canola oil, and honey
Trump’s Homemade Peanut Butter:
3 C. of unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 C. Canola oil
2 Tbsp. Honey
1. Peanuts – see above
2. Canola oil – Its neutral flavor and high smoke point makes this oil an excellent choice for baking and sautéing. Most canola oil is highly refined—which means that it doesn’t have many antioxidants like olive oil does but it does have a relatively long shelf life. It is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids.
But….as I was doing more research on this oil, I actually realized it is not as healthy as I thought (I am learning everyday, people). Canola oil is actually a genetically modified version of the rapeseed oil. It stands for Canadian Oil Low Acid and came about in the early ’70s as a natural oil, but in 1995 Monsanto created a genetically modified version of it. Now, about 87-90% is genetically modified.
Rapeseed oil is a monosaturated oil that has high levels of erucic acid (causes heart disease), so they decided to split it so now it has less erucic acid and more oleic acid (blood platelet abnormalities, slows normal growth, cancer). Also, the process to make this oil harms the nutritional value and changes the structure. There has also been traces of trans fats found in canola oils.
So, I have definitely learned that I want to stop cooking and baking with Canola oil and stick to using all natural butter, extra virgin olive oil and my favorite – coconut oil! Now I will have to do some experimenting on my peanut butter recipe 🙂
3. Honey – an all natural sweetener that has amazing healing properties. It has flavonoids – antioxidants which helps reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. It has been shown to reduce ulcers, it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Honey regulates blood sugar – its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar.
My recipe makes about 18 ounces, roughly. Total cost would be around $1.87 per batch or $.10/ounce. That is cheaper than even Jif!
I am not an expert by any means, just like to do my research:
*some of the sugar information was found here and here
*some of the salt info was found here
*some of the canola oil info was found here and here