Did you know that November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month? I’m a fan of the stuff, so let’s dig in!
Peanut butter is a big staple for us, and for many families. And, like many people, we made the switch from regular peanut butter to reduced-fat peanut butter. Recently I realized that the reduced-fat version was called peanut spread, not peanut butter. So I did a little investigating…
Peanut butter must contain at least 90% peanuts (finished product weight), according the the Food & Drug Administration’s Code of Federal Regulations. The fat content can be no more than 55%. Seasonings and stabilizing agents can be added (to help keep the peanut butter from separating), but must be less than 10% of the finished weight of the peanut butter. Artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and chemical preservatives are not allowed in peanut butter.
Here is the ingredients list from one type of creamy peanut butter:
Where peanut butter must be at least 90% peanuts, peanut spread is less than 90% peanuts (usually around 60%). The peanut percentage must be declared on the label. Peanut spread must have a minimum of 16-24% protein (percent of the final peanut spread weight), depending on the way it is processed.
This is the ingredients list from one type of reduced fat creamy peanut spread.
A label can use the term “reduced fat” if the food has at least 25% less fat per serving size than the food it is being compared to (in this case, peanut spread versus peanut butter). The percent difference must be displayed prominently on the label. The difference in the actual grams of fat per serving size must also be displayed on the label, but it can be tucked away near the nutrition facts.
It turns out, that even though reduced fat peanut spread has less fat, it doesn’t have less calories, and it even has more carbohydrates! In order to get the fat content down, things like corn syrup and soy protein are added. This bumps up the carbohydrate content, and brings the total number of calories right back to the same as regular peanut butter.
|Creamy peanut butter nutrition label||Reduced fat creamy peanut spread nutrition label|
Check out the National Peanut Board for more information about peanuts. And stick with us this month as we learn more about peanut butter!
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