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What Is the Glycemic Index of Peanut Butter?

by
author image Lorraine Shea
Lorraine Shea writes about yoga, fitness, nutrition, healing, philosophy, art, decorating and travel for magazines and websites including Fit Yoga, Pilates Style and Country Accents. She teaches Anusara-style yoga and specializes in breath technique, active relaxation and therapeutics. She has a B.A. in English from New York University.
What Is the Glycemic Index of Peanut Butter?
A jar and spoon filled with peanut butter next to some peanuts. Photo Credit Serhiy Stakhnyk/iStock/Getty Images

Every year, Americans consume approximately 700 million pounds of peanut butter. It's a healthy choice. Peanut butter offers plenty of vitamins, minerals, plant protein, fiber and good fats. Because of its low glycemic index, peanut butter helps prevent disease, satisfies hunger and lifts your energy by stabilizing your blood sugar.

Glycemic Index Explained

The glycemic index, or GI, is a number on a 100-point scale that measures how high your blood sugar rises after you eat carbohydrates. A GI less than 55 is considered low, while anything 70 or more is considered high.

According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, the GI is a helpful tool for choosing which type of food is better than another, for example, which type of bread or cereal manages blood sugar better.

Significance

The glycemic index originated more than 20 years ago as a way for those with diabetes to identify the optimal carbohydrate choices. Food with a high GI, such as baked goods, processed cereals, potatoes, pretzels and short-grain rice, causes quick and high rises and drops in blood sugar. Low GI foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and peanut butter can help stabilize blood sugar.

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Peanut Butter Ranking

Peanut butter has a glycemic index of 14. This low ranking means peanut butter helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels. The rapid spike in blood sugar caused by high GI foods adversely affects your energy level and can cause stress on your body that leads to disease.

Benefits

According to experts at Harvard Medical School, having steady blood sugar levels helps keep your heart healthy, possibly prevents diabetes, reduces hunger and weight, maintains energy levels, and may even improve fertility.

Balancing Act

When eaten with refined carbohydrates, or high-GI food, peanut butter also helps lower the spike of blood sugar after eating. Carol S. Johnson, Ph.D., led a study at Arizona State University where researchers compared the blood-sugar levels of two meals one with and one without peanut butter, as reported by the Peanut Institute. The first meal consisted of a buttered bagel and juice. The second meal replaced the butter with peanut butter. The peanut butter bagel resulted in a minimal rise and fall of blood sugar, while the buttered bagel raised the level considerably more.

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