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Sunday, July 29, 2007 

Better'n Peanut Butter

My family eats A LOT of peanut butter -- peanut butter and banana sandwiches, peanut butter on our pancakes & waffles, peanut butter on our morning toast, peanut butter smoothies, pretzels dipped in peanut butter and my son's personal favorite, "ants on a branch" (peanut butter on celery with raisins). I honestly could go on but I fear I'm already sounding like the shrimp obsessed character, Bubba, from the film Forrest Gump. Anyway, you name it, we've probably tried it with peanut butter. Of course I applaud my family's love of peanut butter given it's reputation for being a good source of energy, protein and fiber as well as being high in niacin (helps to raise good cholesterol) and Vitamin E. However, while it is low in unhealthy saturated fat it is still relatively high in fat and calories (16 grams of fat and 160 calories in 2 tablespoons serving) -- raising my concern of our over consumption.

When I first read about Better'n Peanut Butter I thought I finally found a way to marry the many healthy benefits of peanut butter with my desire to maintain a low fat, low calorie lifestyle. Better'n Peanut Butter promotes itself as an all natural, low fat and low calorie (85% less fat and 40% less calories than regular peanut butter) alternative to other commercial peanut butter brands. According to it's label, their source of peanuts is a combination of naturally defatted peanut flour and natural peanut butter. However, unlike the natural peanut butter my family enjoys (made from peanuts and salt), Better'n Peanut Butter also contains a lot of other ingredients, including tapioca syrup, dehydrated cane juice and rice syrup. When you first open the jar, this peanut butter looks and smells like any other, however, that is where the similarity ends. I think as the result of the syrups and cane juice, this peanut butter is disgustingly sweet tasting. And while it is made of all natural ingredients it leaves a bizarrely artificial taste that seems to linger on the tongue. Given my desire to reduce calories and fat from my family's diet, I truly tried to find a way to incorporate this brand of peanut butter into our life's and seemed to fail with each attempt. I finally came to the conclusion that it is pointless to mess with peanut butter's creamy and nutty perfection and I would have to learn to moderate our consumption of the irreplaceable real stuff.


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