Peanut butter is a staple food in many bodybuilders' diets. While it is a nutrient-dense food packed full of healthy fats and protein, it is very high in calories. The amount you should eat depends on your goals, statistics, current level of performance and several other factors.
In order to stay healthy and train at the top level, bodybuilders need a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, providing plenty of vitamins and minerals. Peanut butter is very high in antioxidants, which help protect against cell damage from free radicals in the blood. It also contains a large amount of monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Bodybuilders should aim to eat around 0.5g of fat per pound of body weight, of which around a third should be monounsaturated fat. Peanut butter contains around 35 g of monounsaturated fat per 100 g, so two heaped tablespoons would provide a 200 lb. bodybuilder with his daily monounsaturated fat allowance.
Protein is very important for bodybuilders, as it help to build and repair muscle fibers and plays a role in carrying nutrients around the body. The general recommendation for those looking to build muscle is to consume 1 g of protein per pound of body weight, although many bodybuilders will go as high as 2.5 g per lb. Peanut butter contains around 25 g of protein per 100 g, which is only slightly lower than the protein content of chicken or beef. However, as peanut butter is calorie dense, you should not use it as a main protein source. One to two tablespoons added to a meal will help to increase your protein intake without adding too many calories.
While peanut butter has lots of benefits, it also comes with lots of calories. Depending on the brand, it can contain more than 600 calories per 100 g. Even a tablespoon serving can contain more than 250 calories. If you're in the off-season and trying to gain weight, this might be advantageous, as you need plenty of easy-to-eat calories. Adding a tablespoon of peanut butter to each meal, or blending one in with a protein shake can help when trying to build muscle. However, if you're dieting for a contest, your calories will be somewhat restricted, so peanut butter might not be the best food choice, so try to limit your intake to a tablespoon per day.
The amount of peanut butter you need to eat for bodybuilding depend on many things. If you don't enjoy peanut butter and are getting plenty of fats from other sources, such as red meat, avocados, olive oil and nuts, then you don't have to eat any. If you enjoy it and are on a high-calorie diet, it is an excellent food. Be aware that some peanut butters contain large amounts of added salt, sugar and hydrogenated oils. You also should aim to eat a variety of protein and fat.