Plexist asks, "You know, the partially hydrogenated oils in those brand name peanutt butters aren't good for you. Have you tried the "natural" peannutt butters?"

I thought about that, but looking at the nutrition information, it doesn't seem like there's that much difference. Any opinions?

Smucker’s Natural
Size 2 Tbsp. (32 g)
Calories 210
 Calories from Fat 150
Total Fat 16g
 Saturated Fat 2.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 120mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
 Dietary Fiber 2g
 Sugars 1g
Protein 8g
Jif Creamy
Size 2 Tbsp. (32g)
Calories 190
 Calories from Fat 130
Total Fat 16g
 Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 150mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
 Dietary Fiber 2g
 Sugars 3g
Protein 8g


Anonymous Turtle Bro said...

The difference is from the partially hydrogenated veggie oils. Animal fat is solid at room temperature, but vegetable fat (aka oil), which is generally a more healthy fat source (better saturated/unsaturated ratio, for instance) remains a liquid. My understanding of the goal of partial hydrogenation is to make the vegetable oil behave more like an animal fat; they get it to accept more hydrogens.

That creates trans fat. It doesn't exist naturally in nature so I guess our bodies aren't very good at dealing with it. Most sources now seem to suggest that any amount of it is bad -- worse than saturated fat. They have to have trans fat info added to the label on anything regulated by..I think the FDA, although the USDA is supposed to adopt similar rules fairly soon, too.

Plus there's more sugar. That's what jam/jelly is for.

3/15/2006 1:04 AM  
Blogger Mr. Turtle said...

Yes, hydrogenating is meant to keep liquid oils solid, so that vegetable oil behaves like lard. This is why the oil in store brands doesn't separate.

However, neither peanut butter lists any trans fat. It could be that the serving size is set so the trans fat in Jif is rounded away, but I think the level for trans fat (in particular) is less than 0.5g. I was wondering if there is a health difference, since neither the trans fat nor the saturated fat are much different in each peanut butter.

I can't get too excited about the small amount of added sugar, since there's so much more sugar added to jam.

3/15/2006 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Turtle Bro said...

The table for this post didn't list any trans fat, though. Did each label specifically say zero, or was it just not listed?

If making cookies with PB, then adding extra sugar to the PB will throw off the sugar estimate for the recipe. And if using PB instead of cream cheese for ants on a log, I specifically don't want it sweetened.

A few websites claim the amount of trans fat is quite small. But even so, I've never considered the effort of stirring significant enough to justify additives to a product that, in my opinion, should be made pretty exclusively of peanuts.

3/15/2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger Mr. Turtle said...

My tub of Jif claims 0g trans fat, but I think that anything less than 0.2g allows them to list it as 0g, so there might be a little in there.

I remember having a hard time stirring it when I was little. Perhaps it'll be easier now that I'm so insanely buff. I plan on trying the natural stuff when I've finished off most of our supply here.

3/16/2006 1:16 AM  
Blogger Plexist said...

The natural stuff doesn't taste quite as good the artificial stuf, but I still prefer it for some reason. Perhaps I'm fooling myself into thinking it's better for me.

Also, lately I've been trying to avoid overly commercialized products and peanutt butter is pretty heavily advertized. Perhaps I'm being too much of a long-hair, but when you see the powerful effect that advertizing has on kids, it makes you wonder if you're being manipulated without knowing it.

3/29/2006 7:14 PM  

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