When they started selling natural peanut butter at the local cash and carry grocery store, I started buying it. I mean, why not? If you can do anything remotely more healthy and it’s not costing an arm and a leg, then why wouldn’t you? My kids hate it! I don’t think it has anything to do with the taste. They just hate the fact that you have to stir up the natural peanut butter and that is an annoying mess. While I have to agree that it is very annoying, I think it’s worth the trade off. Natural peanut butter is not hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.
When the kids gripe “Why do you make us eat this stuff? Why can’t we have the other peanut butter?”, I try to explain about hydrogenation, but generally before I get through one sentence they have already tuned me out. So, chances are good they will not even read to this point of this post. But if by some miracle they do…
I’ve heard from various sources that consuming partially hydrogenated oils has been linked to heart disease, increases body fat, particularly in the stomach area, increases insulin resistance and risk of diabetes, increases bad cholesterol, and increases risk of getting cancer…just to name some of the big problems!
Partially hydrogenated oils is where the trans fatty acids come from. Remember about a year ago, how the trans fats were all over the news. Remember how they were starting to get banned by some restaurants and food manufacturers? Did you know though, (sneaky jerks) that if a food contains less than .5 gram of trans fat PER serving, then that label is allowed to claim it is free of trans fat? I’m sure some people will argue that such a small amount probably isn’t doing much harm, but isn’t it the principle we are talking about here? If it says it’s free of trans fat, there should be absolutely NO trans fat in it, don’t you think?!
So, it’s still everywhere, but the least I can do is try to minimize the intake my dear children have of this crap! Hopefully, my dear children, you will one day realize the importance of your health and you will start thinking things like: “Hmm, dang durn it! Mom was right! I need to read that stupid peanut butter label! I should be watching out for that trans fat crap!”
Don’t think just because I’m spouting off about it, that I’m not confused by all this information. I’m sure I spend way too much time standing in the grocery store staring at the 3 bazillion different labels and trying to figure out which one is going to do the least harm (because, let’s face it, everything will kill you nowadays!). Just last week, I was contemplating…should I get the Organic peanut butter or the Natural peanut butter??? I ended up getting a jar of each so that I could compare them better at home. Frankly, I’m no better off in that department than I was before…I’m still wondering. Here are the head scratchers…
- Why wasn’t there an organic natural peanut butter as a choice in the isle of a gazillion peanut butter choices? There MUST be such a product. Actually, it was probably in that very store…in another isle…for an exorbitant price no less.
- The organic peanut butter did not list any hydrogenated oils or any trans fat, BUT claimed “no stirring needed”. Huh? I thought that the way that they make it “no stirring needed” was to partially hydrogenate it.
- Check out the ingredients in the organic: organic peanuts, organic palm oil, organic sugar, sea salt. The ingredients in the natural: peanuts. There are 2 grams of sugar in the organic! Why??? Why is it necessary to taint all our foods with sugar! It’s nuts for god’s sake! Nuts do not need sugar!
- The organic says it is “naturally stabilized”. How? I want to try to eat organic whenever I can, but I am highly suspicious of this peanut butter! I’m sure the kids will love it…it doesn’t need to be stirred!
- Why don’t the natural peanut butter producers make the peanut butter in a jar that leaves enough room to stir the dang stuff without making a gigantic mess? Would it be that difficult? (Of course, I realize that when these manufacturers decide to leave room in the jar, they won’t be doing it by increasing the size of the jar alone…they’ll increase the price exponentially…but that’s another gripe for another day).
While there are many other foods that are probably much worse than peanut butter, when there is an alternative, why not use it? You gotta start somewhere.
If anyone is interested here’s a link to a really interesting blog article on the trans fat subject:
Sorry to all you out there with peanut allergies. I feel bad for you. We’re lucky in this family…no peanut allergies.