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My peanut butter sandwich just got better.
New Peanut Butter!
New peanut butter? Yes. The first big innovation since “all-natural” peanut butter came on the market about 15 years ago: more and better protein, less fat and fewer calories, more good fat—and better taste. That’s exciting for a guy who made his bones, so to speak, by reducing his body fat to 2.4% eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch (see the Ripped series).
The physique built with peanut butter (and lots of hard work).
Photo by Allen Hughes.
Peanut butter was introduced to America in 1890, as a protein supplement for people with poor teeth who couldn’t chew meat. The next step in the evolution of this enormously popular food--1.25 billion jars were consumed in 2003--wasn’t until 1922, when a California entrepreneur formulated peanut butter with a yearlong shelf life (ouch). As noted above, natural peanut butter hit the market about 15 years ago. That was it, until PowerButter, Inc., (it provided the historical perspective) introduced two high-protein, essential-fatty-acid fortified, natural peanut butters: Peanut PowerButter ™ developed for the health-food-store/athlete market and Naturally More ™ (my favorite: fewer calories, great taste) for the mass market.
The first hurdle for the 15-year-old company based in Opelika, Alabama, was figuring out how to enhance the incomplete protein in peanut butter (three essential amino acids are low), without screwing up the creamy consistency and terrific taste. The simplest solution turned out to be the best: add pasteurized egg white, the Gold Standard for protein quality.
In addition to neutral taste and proper consistency, egg protein contains all nine essential amino acids and a usability rating of 94%, compared to 85% for milk and only 74% for beef. Moreover, egg protein has an surplus of the three amino acids lacking in peanut butter.
The result was, to say the least, impressive: 32 grams of protein in PowerButter, compared to only 14 in a 4-tbsp serving of regular peanut butter. Naturally More has slightly less protein, 20 grams in a double serving (serving size: 2 tbsp.). Remember, too, that the protein in both products is almost totally useable, while only 7 or 50% of the protein in peanut butter is functional.
The fat in peanut butter, mainly monounsaturated, is not so much good as not bad. So the next big idea was to fix that by adding essential fatty acids (EFAs) in the form of flaxseed and flax oil. Both are rich in the two types of EFAs, namely Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 fats are essential, because they’re needed constantly by most tissues of the body and can’t be manufactured from other fats. They must be consumed in your diet every day to maintain general health and well being.
Most of us consume more than enough Omega-6, but are low on Omega-3, where flaxseed and flax oil shine. By removing most of the peanut oil and replacing it with flaxseed and flax oil, PowerButter raised the percentage of Omega-3 fat to 37% and lowered Omega-6 to 10%, compared to 0% and 29% in regular peanut butter. (See articles 18 and 20 for more about good fat.)
The net result of adding egg white, flaxseed oil and fiber-rich flaxseed (along with a few other ingredients) is a substantial reduction in total fat, 20 grams compared to 32 in peanut butter. And fewer total calories: 364 in PowerButter and 338 in Naturally More, compared to about 400 calories in the same amount of regular peanut butter.
As an experienced consumer of peanut butter, I can say that both products are creamier and taste better than plain peanut butter, which tends to be a bit dry and hard to spread. PowerButter and Naturally More even taste better than almond butter--and I love the sweet, creamy taste of almond butter.
One of the secrets is no doubt the addition of dextrose (sugar) in PowerButter and honey in Naturally More. It must not be much, however, because there’s only 6 grams of sugar in PowerButter and 4 in the same amount of PowerButter. (Raw almond butter contains 4 grams of sugar in a 4-tablespoon serving.)
The only downside I see in the PowerButter products is added sodium, 260 mg versus zero in raw peanut and almond butter. That’s an acceptable trade off in an otherwise low sodium diet--unless you are salt sensitive.
Why Peanut Butter?
Some of you, especially new readers, may be wondering why a guy interested in lifetime leanness would eat calorie-dense nut butter. The answer is simple and lies at the very heart of my diet philosophy.
I like nut butter, and it’s a bad idea to deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. That doesn’t mean you should gorge on high-calorie foods such as nut butter. You should allow yourself such foods in measured amounts. That’s what I do.
Diets based on denial simply don’t work. They’re psychologically unsound. As I wrote in Ripped 3, “It’s human nature to crave what you can’t have, and craving usually spells doom for dieters.” I don’t have cravings—because I don’t deny myself foods such as nut butter.
Another example of peanut power--and work.
Photo by Allen Hughes
We’re told that PowerButter is available in GNC and Europa Sports and that Naturally More is or soon will be in Wild Oats. For more information or to buy online, visit www.powerbutter.com.
In case you’re wondering, we have no financial interest in Powerbutter products.
UPDATE: Carol and I were in our local Wild Oats recently, and were delighted to discover that they now carry Naturally More. We'll be buying it regularly now that it's readily available. Great stuff. Next time you're in Wild Oats, look for Naturally More with the other nut butters. It sells for less than half the price of raw almond butter, which we also like.
Naturally More is also available at the Vitamin Cottage stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and all over Colorado. Obviously, the company is making great progress in distribution. Ask for it at your favorite health food store or supermarket.
SECOND UPDATE: We've just received word from a reader that Naturally More is now in Wal-Mart. I guess Carol and I are not the only ones that like it. Carol was unable to find Naturally More in the Wal-Mart nearest to our house the first time she checked, but it was there the second time--and seems to be flying off shelf. We bought the last jar. If you don't find it at your local Wal-Mart, keep looking. If it doesn't show up soon, ask for it; tell them that other Wal-Marts are stocking it.
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