Peanut Butter Diet


If you’re like me, peanut butter is among the foods you crave the most. It’s rich, it’s sticky, it tastes like roasted peanuts. It’s ready whenever you are. But I’ve had to face two eye-opening facts about peanut butter:
1. All those calories! Two tablespoons contains 190 calories. Eat too much peanut butter, and you will gain weight–very quickly.
2. All that fat! A 2-tablespoon serving delivers 16 grams of fat–as much as in a whole hamburger from Burger King, for heaven’s sake.
Then some fabulous news about peanut butter started trickling in from nutrition research laboratories. True, peanut butter is high in fat. But most of it is monounsaturated, the same “good fat” that’s found in olive oil. Groundbreaking studies were proving that a diet high in monounsaturated fat from peanuts and peanut butter could actually be good for the heart, and perhaps even better than the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet most health experts were recommending. A diet high in monounsaturated fat even looked promising as a treatment for diabetes, a disease that has become epidemic in the United States.
But the best news was yet to come, especially for all those health-conscious peanut butter lovers whose biggest question was “If I eat more peanut butter, won’t I pack on pounds?” The amazing answer turned out to be “Not necessarily!”
In fact, research conducted over the past few years suggests that going back to peanut butter may actually take off unwanted pounds more easily than following a standard low-fat eating plan. In one revealing experiment, almost three times as many peanut butter dieters as low-fat dieters managed to maintain their weight loss over an 18-month period.
But here’s the hitch: Unless you’re experienced in nutrition, designing an eating plan that packs in peanut butter plus all the nutrients you need without going overboard on calories can be extremely tricky. If you don’t watch your calories, you will gain weight. A calorie is still a calorie. Eat more than you burn up, and watch that scale climb–fast.
So to help my fellow peanut butter lovers succeed in losing weight (and reap other health benefits besides), I’ve created the Peanut Butter Diet. It’s a carefully designed plan that allows women to make sure, my Prevention magazine colleagues and I sent out our own samples of popular national and store brands to a different independent testing laboratory. Guess what? Our results were identical to those obtained by The Peanut Institute: All of the brands had trans fat levels at least 100 times lower than what the FDA had defined as trans fat-free.
But what if you do slip and eat too much? “Try harder to break the cycle of bingeing and starving, but not by swearing off peanut butter forever. That’s probably what got you in this jam in the first place,” Pierre says. “Go back to your 4 or 6 tablespoons a day. Eventually, peanut butter will seem normal instead of naughty.”