Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Am I Eating Too Much Peanut Butter?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:10 PM

Question: I am 71-year-old male and eat a great deal of peanut butter. It is not the junk made with various mixed oils,just straight ground peanuts with a little salt. I probably eat about 16 ounces each week.
I have been told that this is undesirable because it increases the probably already undesirable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. I would appreciate your comments on this. My BMI is about 29, but I am not gaining weight.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

First of all, you need to reduce your BMI to a more moderate level. Aim for BMI of 26 if possible, and do this by a combination of regular exercise and diet. Your question regarding the ratio of omega fatty acids in peanut butter is correct but entirely academic. I support peanut butter as a very healthy and nutritious addition to one's diet, but 16 ounces weekly is clearly excessive. A more prudent limit would be 1.0 to 1.5 ounces daily.

Peanut butter is rich in protein and heart healthy nutrients (folate, magnesium, and fiber). Remember that too much of a good thing is too much indeed, too many calories, especially when adding the calorie load in the bread used (which I hope is thin sliced whole grain bread). Peanuts have such a high satiety value, that many people actually want to eat less of other (junk) foods.

With the recent evidence linking artificial sweeteners with increased appetite, perhaps the favorite childhood peanut butter sandwich needs to return to our diet as adults. So here's to a healthier portion of a peanut butter on whole wheat with a serving of low fat milk as sensible addition to your diet choices.

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