Anyone who has been in my office sees rows of diet books. Almost every new diet that comes along, I get the book to read about it, because at some point a patient will come in and say they’ve learned some nutrition when they were on some diet plan.
One of the most common bits of misinformation is that peanuts – and hence, peanut butter – is protein – or a healthy snack — or a complex carbohydrate. Book after book on my shelf lists peanuts as a great source of protein, and a “snack that is healthy for you.”
I wonder if they ever bothered to look at a jar of peanut butter? Of the 190 calories in two tablespoons of peanut butter, 140 of the calories are from fat. Two tablespoons of butter contain 200 calories – all of which come from fat. Basically, while there is a bit of carbohydrate and some protein – peanut butter is over 70% fat. A tablespoon of peanut butter isn’t much- seems to fit right on that celery stick– and four tablespoons of peanut butter — well, now you have just had more fat than in a Big Mac. A Snickers bar (not a healthy snack) has less fat than two tablespoons of peanut butter.
Fat is not, nor will it ever be, a healthy snack. Fat is a dense source of calories, and if you are thinking about losing weight – the last place you would want to get a snack from is a dense source of calories.
Now there are those who will tell you that fat does not make you fat (seriously, someone has this as the basis of their diet) – or that fat is healthier than bread (all I can say is they are nuttier than peanut butter).
If you want a quick, healthy snack — think of an apple, or an orange, or almost any fruit (not fruit drink, not a fruit smoothie, but real fruit). It will fill you, it has few calories, and will keep you satisfied for hours. If you think you need protein in a snack, think jerky (better yet make jerky), and there are a few more. But if you want to lose weight – don’t think of peanut butter.
One apple has 72 calories (only 2 of the calories are from fat).
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.