As much as you might love creamy, crunchy peanut butter, it could be the one thing keeping you from reaching (or maintaining) your goal weight. "Peanut butter can definitely sabotage your weight-loss efforts if you eat too much," Amanda Nighbert, RD, told POPSUGAR. But that doesn't mean you can never savor another spoonful. Peanut butter (like other nuts and nut butters) is a good source of unsaturated fats and protein, both of which deserve a place in any healthy diet.
It's how much you eat that matters most. "Keeping your portions in check is very important with peanut butter. It is so easy to over serve," Amanda said. A serving of peanut butter is only two tablespoons, just a little bit smaller than the size of a golf ball. "Those two tablespoons will run you about 175 to 200 calories and 12 to 18 grams of fat," she explained.
So, how can you keep your portion sizes in check? "The easiest way to do it is to turn on your food scale, place the jar on the scale, and then zero it out," she said. "Scoop out your peanut butter until your scale reads -32 grams (the typical weight for two tablespoons of peanut butter). If you don't have a scale, a measuring spoon is another great option."
The other big peanut butter pitfall is additives. "When picking out a peanut butter, look for the one with the fewest ingredients," Amanda advised. "The healthiest brands will have only peanuts and maybe a little salt. Watch out for hydrogenated oils, added sugars, and other additives." This can actually make a huge difference even in the number of calories per serving. Peanut butter without added sugars usually only has about one gram of sugar. Peanut butter with added sugars comes in closer to three grams of sugar per serving. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.
Bottom line: you could eat peanut butter every day and still lose weight, "as long as it balances out with your other food choices," Amanda said — and as long as you keep it to one serving.