The best peanut butter to lose weight is the one that you like to eat. Period. Peanut butter, a powerhouse in the culinary world, is known for many things. Its delicious taste and creamy texture being only one of many reasons why it’s so popular. For me, peanut butter will always be associated with one other thing: losing weight. I lost over a hundred pounds by eating peanut butter!
The Healthiest Peanut Butters—Ranked!
From Skippy and Jif to Justin’s and Teddie’s, registered dietitians help us rate the healthiest and unhealthiest peanut butters of all time.
Peanut butter is a pantry essential. Packed with protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats, this “nut” butter (peanuts are technically a legume, not a nut) is an inexpensive plant-based protein source that is incredibly versatile and nutritious.
“It can be a great addition to recipes, sandwiches, and fruit if someone is trying to add some protein, healthy fats, and vitamins to their diet,” says registered dietitian Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, of Nutrition Now Counseling.
To reap its benefits, healthy peanut butter should have just two ingredients: peanuts (duh) and sometimes a pinch of salt. But today’s manufacturers—even the “all-natural” brands advertising themselves as healthy—pack their PBs with additives you simply don’t need.
To help you avoid the less stellar jars and find the best peanut butter, we reached out to registered dietitians to find out which brands are worth buying. Here’s our definitive list of the healthiest peanut butters.
What are some benefits of peanut butter?
There are many benefits of peanut butter beyond it being the perfect spread for the easiest sandwich: PB&J.
“Peanut butter is a convenient and affordable source of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, plant-based protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc,” says registered dietitian Elle Penner, MPH, RD, of Modern Minimalism.
“In addition to being satiating, peanut butter with no added sugar is a relatively low-carbohydrate food and does not have a significant impact on blood sugar. Studies show that people who regularly include nuts, including peanut butter, in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.”
“Peanut butter also provides some unique nutrients, like selenium and choline, and is a great source of biotin: the vitamin famous for supporting gorgeous hair and healthy nails,” adds Manaker.
The specific types of fat in peanut butter can support your health beyond just helping you stay full: “Peanut butter is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids play multiple critical roles in the body, including cellular growth, cellular maintenance (specifically of skin and hair), immune response, and reproduction,” says Rachel Fine MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, a registered dietitian, and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition.
How to choose the best peanut butter
When you’re shopping for peanut butter, there are a few things you should look out for when you check out the label.
Nutritionists shared the following nutritional criteria they look for when selecting healthy peanut butter brands:
- Short ingredient list: “As a dietitian, I choose peanut butters that contain the fewest ingredients possible. If I can select a peanut butter that contains only peanuts and a touch of salt, that is the best choice in my book,” says Manaker.
- Zero or low levels of added oils: “Oils, especially fully- or partially-hydrogenated oils, should not be in your PB. These are often added to extend shelf-life and prevent separation but can have negative impacts on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase the risk of heart disease,” says Penner.
- Zero or low added sugar: Peanut butter naturally contains sugar, so you’ll often see 1-2 grams of sugar on labels even if it isn’t listed in the ingredients. It’s the added sugar you want to look out for. “Avoid added sugars like molasses, maltodextrin, corn syrup, etc. as these add empty calories,” says Penner. While it’s best to minimize your added sugar intake, a little bit in your PB is okay, according to Mikka Knapp, RDN, CLT, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Bright BodyNutrition: “Many brands include added sugar for sweetness. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I do look for the lowest added sugar brand. I keep it under 2 grams of added sugar per serving. We get more than enough sugar from jelly.”
- No emulsifiers: “Emulsifiers are often added to prevent separation and give nut butters body and texture. Some research suggests emulsifiers may cause low-grade inflammation in the gut and have a negative impact on the microbiome,” says Penner.
- Skip the low-fat or reduced-fat versions: “Some lower-fat versions of peanut butter contain higher sugar amounts to make up for the missing flavor when fat is removed. Too much sugar is not the best choice either, and the fat found in peanut butter is a healthy addition to one’s diet. I do not choose reduced-fat peanut butter,” says Manaker.
The 15 best healthy peanut butter brands you can buy.
With those criteria in mind, dietitians gave us their personal recommendations for the best peanut butter you can buy.
One thing to note before you head to the grocery store: You shouldn’t be afraid of the oil on top of your peanut butter—that’s the natural separation that occurs when brands don’t add any emulsifiers or extra oils to make peanut butter spreadable. “You can always mix the oils in when you get home and keep your peanut butter in the refrigerator to prevent natural separation,” recommends Shira Sussi, MS, RD, CDN of Shira Sussi Nutrition, and a registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Let’s see which brands passed that test.
Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Creamy
PER 2 TBSP: 190 calories, 16 g fat (3 g saturated), 110 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Peanuts, salt
Smucker’s Natural Peanut butter came up the most when we asked dietitians for the best peanut butter, including Fine and Gregg, particularly because it’s economical and it meets the dietitians’ requirements of being made of just two ingredients: peanuts and salt. This is the best mainstream brand of peanut butter on the market. Spread some on your morning toast, and don’t miss these best breakfast foods for weight loss!
Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter
PER 2 TBSP: 180 calories, 16 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
According to Crazy Richard’s, they sneak in 540 peanuts into each jar of peanut butter—and nothing else! “My favorite peanut butter brand only has one ingredient: peanuts,” says registered dietitian Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club and owner of www.NutritionStarringYOU.com. “Crazy Richard’s peanut butter has no added oil, salt or sugar for those looking for the purest product. You can always add a touch of salt if you wish but for people limiting sodium and sugar due to medical conditions or dietary preferences, Crazy Richard’s is a fabulous choice. “
MaraNatha Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
PER 2 TBSP: 190 calories, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 80 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Organic Dry Roasted Peanuts, Sea Salt
Although we like this brand because of its low sodium count, we like it more because it has the smoothest texture (thanks to a unique double-grind process) without needing any added oils.
Once Again Organic Creamy No Salt Peanut Butter
PER 2 TBSP: 190 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Organic Peanuts
Don’t be mislead by the two grams of sugar in this jar — any sugar in Once Again’s peanut butter is natural, nothing added, hence why it’s one of Sussi’s favorites. In fact, there’s literally nothing added to this jar. Not even salt. So it’s a good low-sodium peanut butter option for those looking to watch their salt intake or those who like to cook with peanut butter and season dishes themselves. If you do like salt, One Again also makes a salted version and a lightly sweetened version.
$7.65 AT ONCE AGAIN
6 of the Healthiest Peanut Butters
5 of the Healthiest Peanut Butters
Countless options of peanut butter are available on grocery store shelves today, but not all of them are created equal when it comes to healthiness.
Certain types are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber with minimal additives, while others are high in added sugar and ingredients that make them less healthy.
You may wonder what the healthiest choices are when it comes to peanut butter.
This article explains how to choose a healthy peanut butter and lists 6 of the healthiest options.
What makes a healthy peanut butter?
A good rule of thumb for choosing a healthy peanut butter is to look for one with the fewest ingredients.
Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food that only requires one ingredient — peanuts. They’re typically roasted and ground into a paste to make the final product.
However, one-ingredient peanut butter can be difficult to find unless you grind it yourself. Most commercial peanut butters contain at least peanuts and salt — and oftentimes a slew of other ingredients.
Less healthy products may contain added sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which offer extra calories and potentially adverse health effects. For example, eating too much added sugar or hydrogenated fats may increase your risk of heart disease
The healthiest commercial peanut butters contain minimal ingredients, starting with peanuts and sometimes salt. Less healthy varieties often contain hydrogenated vegetable oils and added sugar.
3 of the healthiest options
Below are 6 healthy traditional peanut butter brands, in no particular order.
Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts All Natural Peanut Butter
This brand offers creamy and crunchy peanut butter, both of which contain only one ingredient.
Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):
|Total fat||16 grams|
|Saturated fat||2 grams|
365 Everyday Value Organic Peanut Butter, Unsweetened & No Salt
Ingredients: Dry roasted organic peanuts
Note that this brand also has a creamy, unsweetened variety that contains palm oil and sea salt.
Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):
|Total fat||17 grams|
|Saturated fat||2.5 grams|
Trader Joe’s Creamy No Salt Organic Peanut Butter, Valencia
Ingredients: Organic Valencia peanuts
Note that this brand offers several peanut butter products, including no-stir peanut butter spreads that contain powdered sugar. Some of the other Valencia peanut butters also contain added salt.
Here is the nutrition information per 2 tablespoons (32 grams):
|Total fat||15 grams|
|Saturated fat||2 grams|
The 10 Best Healthy Peanut Butter Brands, According to a Nutritionist
Whether you’re indulging in a late-night PB&J or lunchtime ants on a log, peanut butter is a reliable way to fill you up—while, dare we say, being much more crave-worthy than a bunch of baby carrots. Luckily, this condiment is pretty darn good for you, too. “Nut butters are a great source of plant-based protein,” says Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, a registered dietician, nutritionist and exercise physiologist. “The fat and fiber in peanuts help provide satiety, or feelings of fullness.” As long as the ingredient list is clean (peanuts should always be the first ingredient!), PB can easily be part of a healthy diet. Read on to learn its benefits, plus ten nutritionist-approved brands of healthy peanut butter and a guide to storing natural peanut butter.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Peanut Butter?
Our favorite thing about peanut butter is how filling (and affordable) it is. Add it to smoothies, oatmeal, noodle and sandwich recipes, or pair it with apples and celery for an extra boost of protein that’s sure to hold you over between meals. In addition to being protein-packed, peanut butter and nuts in general have a ton of health perks. “[Nuts] are dominant in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy because they help lower LDL (aka ‘bad’) cholesterol,” says Stoler. “They also contain omega-6 fatty acids, as well as biotin, copper, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus.” Even better, peanuts specifically also contain fiber, since they’re legumes and grown underground.
What Ingredients Are In Healthy Peanut Butter?
To no one’s surprise, the first ingredient on the label should be peanuts. “Some stores make peanut butter fresh on location [by grinding] peanuts into nut butter or paste,” says Stoler. “Sometimes salt or other spices are added. In some instances, additional oil is also added to create a smoother texture.”
Some peanut butters are also sweetened naturally with sugar, molasses or honey, which will increase their sugar content. If that’s not an issue for you, Stoler still wouldn’t consider those naturally sweetened peanut butters unhealthy. However, she does suggest staying away from peanut butters that are sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners, if you happen to come across any at the supermarket.
The 10 Best Healthy Peanut Butter Brands
1. Jif Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
Per two-tablespoon serving: 190 calories, 16g fat, 8g carbs, 7g protein, 3g sugar, 3g fiber, 65mg sodium
Ingredients: peanuts, sugar, palm oil, 2 percent or less salt and molasses
This is one of Stoler’s go-to brands. Think of it as a natural take on big-brand peanut butter that’s sweetened, salted and contains oil. “My favorite sandwich—which I’ve turned a lot of people onto—is Jif or Skippy Natural PB with jelly, jam or spreadable fruit on Martins Whole Wheat Potato Bread,” she says. “It’s a thick, fluffy, soft and has 2 grams of fiber per slice.”
2. Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread
Per two-tablespoon serving: 190 calories, 16g fat, 6g carbs, 7g protein, 3g sugar, 2g fiber, 150mg sodium
Ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt
This other classic brand is pretty on par with Jif, except it has 1 gram less fiber, higher sodium and no molasses. Skippy’s entire line of natural spreads are free of preservatives, artificial flavors and colors. Like most peanut butters, this one is also free of cholesterol and trans fat.
3. Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs
Per one-pack serving: 210 calories, 18g fat, 6g carbs, 7g protein, 2g sugar, 1g fiber, 25mg sodium
Ingredients: dry roasted peanuts, palm oil
“I love that companies have started to make peanut butter and other nut butters in single-serve packs,” says Stoler, because of how easy they make maintaining portion control and snacking on the go. This popular non-GMO, gluten-free brand boasts no added sugar or salt, which explains its low sugar and sodium counts in comparison to bigger brands. Justin’s also uses sustainably sourced palm oil that doesn’t displace or harm orangutans in the areas where it’s harvested.
4. Crazy Richard’s All-natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
Per two-tablespoon serving: 180 calories, 16g fat, 5g carbs, 8g protein, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 0mg sodium
Ingredients: dry roasted peanuts
Phew, where do we begin? First of all, it doesn’t get cleaner than a one-ingredient label. Secondly, this pick is sugar-, oil- and salt-free, vegan, non-GMO and free of both BPA and cholesterol. Each jar of natural nut butter is packed with 540 kinds of raw peanuts, all naturally processed and grown in the United States. Just use a stirrer to blend the oil and peanut crunch together to make it easy to spread.
5. 365 By Whole Foods Market Organic Creamy Peanut Butter
Per two-tablespoon serving: 190 calories, 16g fat, 7g carbs, 8g protein, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 0mg sodium
Ingredients: organic dry roasted peanuts
It’s nearly identical to Crazy Richard’s nutrition-wise, but significantly cheaper (and perhaps more accessible, if you live near a Whole Foods Market location). This organic, non-GMO PB is free of added sugar and salt, vegan and made with U.S.-grown peanuts. (BTW, you might think all peanut butter is vegan, but those that contain non-organic white sugar *technically* aren’t…just ask ketchup.) Similar to most natural peanut butters—especially those that are free of oils or emulsifiers—the peanuts’ natural oils will separate from the solids. But some Amazon reviewers claim that this particular one isn’t as hard to stir as other brands.