Here are a couple studies about the benefits of regular, processed, yummy yummy peanut butter.

All Peanut Butters Healthy
Processed or Fresh, Peanut Butter Is Good Food

By Daniel DeNoon

Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
on Friday, October 03, 2003
WebMD Medical News

Oct. 3, 2003 -- Store-bought peanut butter is as good for you as the fresh-ground-in-the-health-food-store variety, a study shows.

That any kind of peanut butter is healthy seems too good to be true. But the lowly peanut is packed full of healthy oils and vitamin E.

Wait a minute. Doesn't processing raw peanuts into commercial peanut butter remove those healthy vitamins? No, find University of Georgia researcher Ron Eitenmiller, PhD, and colleagues. They measured vitamin E in raw peanuts, roasted peanuts, and commercial peanut butter.

The bottom line: Processing removes no more than 5% of total vitamin E from the product.

"We'd run so many studies on peanuts and peanut butters in the past, we had our suspicions that vitamin E content would remain high in the finished product," Eitenmiller says in a news release.

It's true that exposure to air erodes the vitamin E content of peanut butter. But Eitenmiller says that the commercial product's oil base and container protect against oxygen.

The findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of Food Sciences.

It's not just the vitamin E that makes peanut butter wholesome, says Leslie Bonci (pronounced BAWN-see), MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"There are some terrific health benefits to it, not just taste benefits," Bonci tells WebMD. "People get hung up on the fact that peanut butter has fat in it, but it is not as bad as other kinds of fat."


Trans Fatty Acid: Not in My Peanut Butter!

"Consumers worried about trans-fats in their diet need not avoid commercial peanut butters."

According to a recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS), both natural and commercial brands of peanut butter contain no detectable trans-fatty acids. The study, "Non-Detectable Levels of trans-Fatty Acids in Peanut Butter," was published in the May 2001 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The study examined the fatty acid content of 11 different brands of commercial, natural and store-brand peanut butter and found no detectable trans-fat in any of the samples. Some peanut butters contain a small amount (approximately 1-2 percent) of partially hydrogenated oil used as stabilizers to prevent oil separation. This produces a smooth and creamy product that most consumers prefer.

The study concludes, "Consumption of these products (peanut butter) should, therefore, not be of concern to individuals monitoring trans-fatty acid intake. Natural types and freshly ground peanuts were not found to be different from commercial peanut butters in trans-fatty acid content."

Tim Sanders, PhD, research leader of USDA/ARS, Market Quality and Handling Research Unit located at North Carolina State University, says, "Consumers worried about trans-fats in their diet need not avoid commercial peanut butters."

Much of the confusion about trans-fatty acid in peanut butters occurs because of the way peanut butter is labeled. Most peanut butters contain only three or four ingredients. By law, peanut butter must consist of at least 90 percent peanuts. In addition, a minimum amount of salt and sugar is usually added for taste, plus about one to two percent stabilizer to improve texture and increase shelf-life.

A trans-fatty acid results when hydrogen is added to unsaturated vegetable oils. This increases shelf-life and improves the texture of food products. The hydrogen is added and crosses (trans) the chemical chain, making the fat more solid at room temperature. Trans-fats are found in foods like cookies, crackers, baked goods and fried foods. They are also naturally occurring in small amounts in meat and dairy products. Trans-fats tend to increase total and LDL cholesterol, and also may decrease HDL (good) cholesterol.

More than 80 percent of the fat in peanut butter is the cholesterol-lowering, good unsaturated kind, and, as with all plant foods, peanut butter contains no cholesterol. (A two-teaspoon serving of peanut butter contains 13 grams of unsaturated fat and three grams of saturated fat.) Researchers at Penn State University compared a moderate-fat diet with peanuts and peanut butter to a low fat-diet and to the average American diet. They found that the peanuts/peanut butter diet and the low-fat diet lowered total and LDL blood cholesterol levels, but the peanuts/peanut butter diet was more effective than a low-fat diet in maintaining levels of good HDL-cholesterol and lowering triglyceride levels (American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 1999).

As one of America's favorite foods, we eat more than 800 million pounds of peanut butter each year. Peanut butter was invented around 1890 as a health food for undernourished patients. To this day, peanut butter provides an inexpensive source of plant protein, monounsaturated fats, and many nutrients like niacin, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition, researchers at the University of Buffalo have identified phytosterols thought to protect against heart disease and cancer in peanut products (Nutrition and Cancer, 2000).

The article on trans-fatty acids can be found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, (Volume 49, Number 5, pages 2349-2351) Oil Chemists Society.

In shorty, brands like Jif and Skippy are good for you. No, I'm not trying to say that they're better than natural peanut butter, but they're still good for you. If you like the taste of natty PB, then by all means, eat it. But if you're like me, and for some reason you can't stand the stuff (probably cause I've been eating regular all my life), then go ahead and eat the tasty stuff your mom always used to buy for you!