Pictured here is one of my favorite fall/winter snacks - a small apple and 1 tbsp chunky peanut butter. Probably has some sort of childhood association...maybe snack time in preschool? Organic natural peanut butter, no added crap.
I think the paleo/primal crowd believes that peanuts are bad because they are legumes, not true nuts, and also for the aflatoxins and the anti-nutrients. But I am not 100% convinced that peanuts are any more evil than other nut butters.
Peanuts are not evil?
Nutritional facts for 1 tablespoon peanut butter:
70 calories from fat (70%)
8 g fat
3.5 g carbs
1 g fiber
4.5 g protein
Nutritional facts for 1 tablespoon almond butter:
85 calories from fat (85%)
9.5 g fat
3.4 g carbs
.6 g fiber
2.4 g protein
- The main difference I see is that peanut butter is slightly lower in fat and slightly higher in protein than the often recommended alternative, almond butter*. So what gives? Does your body REALLY know that a peanut grows on a vine and an almond grows on a tree? Gimme a break! :)
- Let's look at the aflatoxin issue. Aflatoxins (toxin from Aspergillus fungus) are very bad for you. According to wikipedia, crops which are frequently affected by aflatoxin "include cereals (maize, sorghum, pearl milllet, rice, wheat), oilseeds (peanut, soybean, sunflower, cotton), spices (chile peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, ginger), and tree nuts (almond, pistachio, walnut, coconut, brazil nut)."
Yep that's right - TREE NUTS and COCONUT!!! (and boo hoo chile peppers??? Now I am upset!) So when you hear from the "experts" don't eat peanuts cuz they have aflatoxins, notice that some of the same people say that almonds, ginger, coconut are the best foods on earth...?
Peanuts may be a bit evil?
- Are there really more anti-nutrients, in particular lectins, in peanuts than real nuts? This might be one thing that is true. Beans and grains, especially wheat, have a ton of lectins. Nightshades - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant - also contain lectins. And eggs and dairy! I'd starve...haha. Looks like I have to do Jezwyn's amazing carnivore plan!
- What about Omega-3s? Indeed, peanuts are low in Omega-3s. You shouldn't live only on peanut butter but it seems to me that 1 tablespoon or a handful of "pea-legumes" is OK once in a while.
- Peanuts are a common allergen and you could die of anaphylactic shock. That's BAD. If you are allergic, don't eat them! haha!
- For some people, nut butters are evil because they cannot stop eating them. They are super high in calories. But that is not just peanut butter.
If you don't want to eat peanut butter, for whatever reason, DON'T of course! :) But think for yourself! Don't force yourself to make gado-gado with almond butter just because someone said you have to! Yucko! :)
So what do YOU think? Peanuts - evil or not so evil?
*btw not bashing almonds - I love almonds! My fav nut.