With this luscious diet, you get to eat peanut
butter every day
while you lose up to 25 pounds
in a year -- and help your heart!
article was written by Colleen Pierre, R.D.
Admit it, America: We're totally nuts about peanut butter. As a
nation, we downed almost 800 million pounds of the heavenly stuff
last year -- a lot of it straight from the jar.
But until now, eating peanut butter has been a stealthy pleasure
if you're health conscious. So many clients who visit my nutrition
counseling office crave that flavor but are terrified of the 190
calories and 16 grams of fat in every 2-tablespoon serving.
If this is you, here's great news: Recent research now proves that
peanut butter is actually very, very good for you. Its monounsaturated
fats -- eaten as the main fat in a sensible diet -- can lower your
risks for heart disease and diabetes. And help you lose weight.
We've got studies to prove it!
But adding peanut butter to your diet is tricky. Go overboard,
and you gain weight -- fast. So we've created The Peanut Butter
Diet. It's an easy, luscious, 5-day eating plan that lets you indulge
in four-to-six tablespoons of peanut butter every day -- guilt-free!
Remember when you thought that rice cakes were diet salvation but
you were always hungry? Let The Peanut Butter Diet come to your
On this dream-come-true eating plan, we've built in a richly satisfying
30-to-35 percent of calories from fat, mostly monounsaturated fat
from peanut butter. Yet we hold the line at 1,500 nutrition-packed
calories for women and 2,200 for men. This means that most of you
can drop about 1/2 pound a week -- or 25 pounds in a year! And you'll
still be satisfying your deepest cravings.
The key to making this miracle work is careful portion control.
On this plan, women get two peanut butter servings (2 tablespoons
each) every day. Lucky men get three servings!
This plan is so simple: You work peanut butter into meals and snacks
in no-fuss ways, such as spreading it on toaster waffles. It's okay
to choose homogenized instead of natural peanut butter, if that's
the kind you prefer You should also add a 300- to 500-mg calcium
supplement while you're on the diet to make sure that you're meeting
Weight and See
How do we know this will work? In a study at Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston, researcher Kathy McManus, R.D., divided 101
overweight people into two groups. One group limited fat to a very
low 20 percent of calories. The other group ate monounsaturated
fat foods such as peanut butter, nuts, olive oil and avocados, which
boosted their fat total to a rich 35 percent of calories. Both groups
got the same calories: 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. The results?
Dieters in both groups lost about 11 pounds in the first 6 weeks.
But twice as many peanut butter dieters stuck it out, and they
maintained their weight for 18 months. The low-fat group had double
the dropouts, and those who stayed regained about 5 pounds. Why? "Taste
is first," says McManus. "People have to enjoy what they
eat to stick with it."
But an even healthier surprise awaits peanut butter dieters: Eating
peanut butter appears to be almost twice as good for your heart
as a very low-fat diet.
A study at Pennsylvania State University in State College proved
last year that diets high in peanuts -- and rich in monounsaturated
fat -- were just as good at lowering total cholesterol and bad LDL
cholesterol as very low-fat diets. But a very low-fat diet also
raised heart-threatening triglycerides by 11 percent, while the
peanut diet lowered them by 13 percent.
The net effect? The peanut butter diet lowered heart disease risk
by a whopping 21 percent, while the very low-fat diet lowered risk
by only 12 percent. What a bonus!
"Our study shows that people can eat some of their favorite
foods, such as peanuts and peanut butter, and achieve even better
results than with a low-fat diet," says lead researcher Penny
And the American Heart Association agrees. In brand-new diet guidelines,
here's how they advise people with "Syndrome X" (a cluster
of problems that include diabetes or glucose intolerance, high blood
pressure, and high triglycerides): "For individuals diagnosed
with the syndrome, it may be desirable to avoid very low-fat, high-carbohydrate
diets, and to emphasize unsaturated fats..." Our Peanut Butter
Diet fits that prescription perfectly!
PB to the Rescue
Maybe you fear that once you start eating peanut butter you won't
be able to stop. One of my patients admitted to eating half a jar
at a sitting. (Sound familiar?) It turns out that she turned to
peanut butter at the end of the workday after skipping all her other
meals and snacks. No wonder she lost control! Others just go too
long without their favorite forbidden food, so when they finally
give in, they wallow in it. But peanut butter loses its trigger
status once my patients return to regular meals and snacks, and
move peanut butter from the "no" list to the "daily" list.
You may eventually find that peanut butter cravings hit only occasionally,
and you don't need a hit of peanut butter every day. But when the
cravings return, try a day or two of Peanut Butter Diet menus to
satisfy your craving without gaining weight.
Now do yourself a favor. Grab your jar and spoon, and have a look
at our delicious eating plan. Peanut butter is yummy food for healthy
PB Oatmeal: Stir up 1/4 cup dry old-fashioned oats**, 1 cup fat-free
milk and 4 dried apricot halves, cut in quarters. Microwave for
3 minutes, then stir in 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter and 1/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Toss 2 cups mixed salad greens, 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans** (use
canned and rinsed) and a small chopped pear with 2 teaspoons extra
virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon dried
basil and a sprinkle of garlic powder.
One slice multi-grain bread***.
3/4 cup tomato juice.
Stir-fry 2 ounces lean pork tenderloin with 1/2 cup each snow peas,
broccoli florets and slivered red bell peppers in 1 teaspoon peanut
oil. Season with 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon
Oriental five-spice powder. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked brown rice***.
PB Pudding: In a microwaveable dessert dish, microwave 2 tablespoons
peanut butter** until melted (about 1 minute). Quickly stir in
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt. Top with a small sliced banana.
1,500 calories, 76 grams protein, 199 grams carbohydrates, 55 grams
fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 26 grams monounsaturated fat, 37
grams fiber, 1,993 mg sodium, 808 mg calcium
**, ***: Men, to boost your calories to about 2,200, double
each food marked with **, and triple each food marked with ***.
One cup Multi-Bran Chex** with 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries and
1 cup fat-free milk.
Toss 1 cup salad greens, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup shredded
red cabbage, 1/8 avocado cut in chunks and 1 tablespoon chopped
hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons
balsamic vinegar. Stuff into a small whole wheat pita pocket.
One cup plain nonfat yogurt.
PB Apple: Slice a Red Delicious apple, and spread with 2 tablespoons
Sauté 2 ounces thinly sliced lean eye of round beef***, 1 small
sliced yellow onion, 1 large sliced portobello mushroom and 1 minced
garlic clove in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Serve with five steamed frozen
asparagus spears and a small baked sweet potato** dusted with pumpkin
PB Granola Bar: Spread a fat-free date-almond granola bar** with
2 tablespoons peanut butter**.
1,535 calories, 73 grams protein, 218 grams carbohydrates, 55 grams
fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 28 grams monounsaturated fat, 34
grams fiber, 1,493 mg sodium, 890 mg calcium
PB Shake: In a blender, whip together 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 small
ripe banana, 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ** and 2 tablespoons
One cup instant black bean soup and 1/2 cup raw broccoli florets.
One-half cup grapes.
One cup calcium-fortified orange juice.
Three ounces broiled salmon**, 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat couscous***,
1 cup brussels sprouts and 1 cup yellow squash cooked in 3 teaspoons
PB Muffin: Toast 1/2 whole wheat English muffin***, and spread with
2 tablespoons peanut butter**.
1,536 calories, 78 grams protein, 195 grams carbohydrates, 60 grams
fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 28 grams monounsaturated fat, 36
grams fiber, 1,708 mg sodium, 988 mg calcium
One egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute) scrambled with 1/4 cup each
chopped green bell pepper and onions (frozen is fine) in 1 teaspoon
canola oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Two clementines and 1/2 whole grain English muffin***, toasted.
Open-faced tomato melt: Top 1 slice whole wheat bread** with 1 thick
slice fresh tomato** and 1 slice reduced-fat cheddar cheese**.
Broil in a toaster oven until cheese melts.
One medium banana.
PB Celery: Stuff a large celery rib** with 2 tablespoons peanut
Cook 1 cup dry whole wheat macaroni**, then top with 1 cup low-fat
mushroom-and-pepper pasta sauce. Add 12 large steamed shrimp**
and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
Toss 2 cups salad greens with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
PB Dates: Fill 4 large dates with 2 tablespoons peanut butter.
1,495 calories, 72 grams protein, 183 grams carbohydrates, 62 grams
fat, 14 grams saturated fat, 29 grams monounsaturated fat, 30
grams fiber, 1,947 mg sodium, 661 mg calcium
PB Waffles: Toast 2 whole grain waffles** then spread with 2 tablespoons
peanut butter**. Top with 1/2 cup thawed, mashed frozen strawberries.
Toss 2 cups baby spinach, 1/4 cup sliced red onion, 5 grape tomatoes
and 2 ounces flaked white water-packed tuna** with 1 teaspoon
extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar. Season
with freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano.
One navel orange.
Two whole wheat cinnamon graham crackers*** and a kiwifruit.
Sauté 1/2 cup sliced yellow onion and 2 ounces diced chicken
breast** in 2 teaspoons olive oil. Stir into 1 cup cooked wild rice**.
Top with 1/2 tablespoon toasted chopped pecans. Serve with 1 cup
PB Sundae: Microwave 2 tablespoons peanut butter for about 1 minute
(until melted). Drizzle over 1/2 cup fat-free frozen yogurt.
1,534 calories, 72 grams protein, 184 grams carbohydrates, 61 grams
fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 28 grams monounsaturated fat, 29
grams fiber, 1,230 mg sodium, 698 mg calcium
Natural Versus Homogenized
Natural peanut butter is healthier because the homogenized kind
is full of trans fat (which comes from partially hydrogenated oils
and is known to raise cholesterol) and sugar, right? Let's check
Prevention magazine had a laboratory measure trans fat in four
homogenized brands: Skippy, Jif, Peter Pan and Finast (a supermarket
label). The good news: The levels of trans fats per 2-tablespoon
serving in all four brands were far lower than 0.5 gram. They were
so low that, under proposed laws, they can legally claim 0 gram
trans fat on labels. This confirms tests by the Peanut Institute
that we reported last July. While only natural brands are totally
trans-free, homogenized brands are ultra-low in trans fat.
Sunland Peanuts are all Natural Valencia Peanuts
What About Sugar?
Again, we compared labels. Per 2-tablespoon serving, homogenized
brands contain an average of 3 grams of sugar, while natural brands
contain 2 grams. No meaningful difference there.
So choose natural or homogenized, whichever you prefer. We think
both are healthy. But we don't recommend homogenized reduced-fat
peanut butter. You get less healthy monounsaturated fat, and you
save few, if any, calories!
sucks all the fat from me to a skinny person on line."
Create Your Own Peanut Butter Menus
Here's the daily formula for making a healthy peanut butter menu
with 30-to-35 percent of calories from mostly monounsaturated fat,
1,500 calories for women and 2,200 calories for men:
Food Group Servings for Women Servings for Men
Peanut butter 4 tablespoons 6 tablespoons
Other high-mono fats:
|(1 teaspoon olive, canola, or peanut oil, 1 tablespoon nuts,
1/3 avocado) 5 or 6 servings 5 or 6 servings
||Lean meat, poultry, any fish (2 or 3 ounces), legumes (1/2
cup) 2 servings 4 servings
||Lean meat, poultry, any fish (2 or 3 ounces), legumes (1/2
cup) 2 servings 4 servings
Vegetables (1 cup salad greens,
1/2 cup other vegetables, 3/4 cup vegetable juice) 5-7 servings
|Whole grains, potatoes (1 slice bread, 1/2 cup rice or pasta,
1/2 cup potatoes) 3-6 servings 6-12 servings
||Dairy* (1 cup fat-free or 1 percent milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1
ounce reduced-fat cheese). *To meet calcium needs, add a 300-
to 500-mg calcium supplement. 1 or 2 servings 1 or 2 servings