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What to Look for in Peanut Butter continued...

When it comes to sodium, even most natural brands of peanut butter add some salt for flavor. A little goes a long way, though. Around 120 milligrams sodium per 2 tablespoons usually does the trick!

Here is a comparison of a few brands of peanut butter:

JIF. JIF is made mostly from roasted peanuts with a little bit of sugar thrown in, along with a bit (2% or less) of molasses, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and fully hydrogenated rapeseed and soybean oil. Each 2-tablespoon serving contains:

  • 190 calories
  • 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of which are saturated
  • 0 grams trans fat (to make this label claim, the product must have 0.4 grams of trans fat or less per serving)
  • 3 grams of sugar
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fiber

JIF does make a reduced-fat variety. But don't be surprised to see that it contains the same number of calories per serving as regular JIF, even though there are 4 grams less fat per serving. This is because there are 8 grams more carbohydrate per serving (thanks at least in part to the extra 1 gram of sugar.

Smart Balance Omega Natural Peanut Butter. Not only has peanut butter gone "omega" with added flax oil, this peanut butter also contains no hydrogenated oil and no refined sugar (they do add a small bit of molasses). It still contains 3 grams of saturated fat per 2-tablespoon serving though. That's because in addition to the high omega-3 flaxseed oil, it contains palm fruit oil, which could add some saturated fat to the small amount naturally in peanuts (1.3 grams saturated fat per 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts). Each 2-tablespoon serving has:

  • 200 calories
  • 17 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 12 grams monounsaturated fat
  • 2 grams polyunsaturated fat (1 gram of which is from plant omega-3s)
  • 1 gram sugar
  • 7 grams protein
  • 2 grams of fiber

Laura Scudder's Natural Style Reduced Fat. Natural-style peanut butter goes mainstream with Laura Scudder's Natural Style Reduced Fat Smooth Peanut Butter. This peanut butter is reduced fat because some of the peanuts they use are fat-reduced ground peanuts, plus there's no added fat. Maltodextrin is added instead, probably to help bind the peanut butter (maltodextrin is a moderately sweet compound produced from starch). Each 2-tablespoon serving has:

  • 200 calories
  • 12 grams of fat
  • 2 grams saturated fat
  • 0 grams trans fat
  • 2 grams sugar
  • 9 grams protein
  • 2 grams fiber

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