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In Weight Watchers, Is Peanut Butter Classified As a Healthy Fat?

by
author image Jenna Cee
Jenna Cee has been writing professionally since 2006. Her articles appear on 2Athletes.com and Women's Fitness Online. She is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and as a fitness and sports nutritionist through the International Sports Sciences Association. Cee holds a Master of Science in human nutrition from Washington State University.
In Weight Watchers, Is Peanut Butter Classified As a Healthy Fat?
Woman spreading peanut butter on bread. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Weight Watchers bases its diet program around a calculated points system. Each and every food has a points value based on calories and nutrient content. For example, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is five weight watchers points. Weight Watchers classifies peanut butter as a healthy source of fat. Peanut butter is in a variety of Weight Watchers' recipes and prepackaged foods. When you make your peanut butter selection be sure to check the labels and avoid options with added sugar.

Healthy Fat

Unsaturated fats are beneficial to the body, whereas, saturated and trans fats are a risk to your cardiovascular health. Weight Watchers recommends peanut butter because it provides heart healthy, monounsaturated fatty acids and a rich, nutty flavor. Your body needs essential fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acid to reduce inflammation and blood clotting. Fat also serves as a source of energy and insulation for your body. Healthy fats are crucial for proper brain development and function as well. Additionally, the fat in peanut butter supports your skin health and aids in your body's natural oil production that helps keeps your hair naturally moisturized. It also transports vitamins A, E, D and K through your bloodstream, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center Saturated fats, however, contribute to hardening of the arteries and cholesterol buildup. Saturated fats should be limited to 7 percent of your daily calorie intake, and trans-fats should comprise no more than 1 percent of your daily calorie intake, according to the American Heart Association.

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Additional Health Benefits

Peanut butter has more benefits than just healthy fat. It provides minerals including potassium and phosphorus. It is also naturally low in sugar and carbohydrates, containing just under 3 grams of sugar and 6 grams of carbohydrates per 2-tablespoon serving. Weight Watchers promotes peanut butter because it is a widely available, versatile and healthy source of protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter provides 8 grams of protein. Protein is present in every living cell in the human body and your body needs protein every day because it is not able to store it for long periods of time.

Options

Weight Watchers provides healthy recipes that contain peanut butter and you can prepare at home. The diet suggests options such as "No-Cook Asian Peanut Sauce" to drizzle on whole wheat noodles or you can use it as a salad dressing. Other recipes that implement peanut butter include Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes, Moroccan Vegetable Couscous, and Vietnamese Shrimp Potstickers. If you want to add some peanut butter to your morning breakfast try their Peanut Butter Whole-Wheat Muffins. One muffin is five Weight Watchers points. This recipe calls for whole-wheat flour, baking powder,all-purpose flour, salt, eggs, light brown sugar, crunchy natural peanut butter, sugar-free applesauce, canola oil, fat-free milk and vanilla extract. Just be sure to avoid peanut butter that contains partially-hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils because they contain trans fat.

Alternatives

Many people are allergic to peanuts and peanut butter, so Weight Watchers provides alternative nut butters. They recommend cashew butter because it provides monounsaturated fats and contains oleic acid that supports heart health. Almond butter is another Weight Watcher's favorite in the nut butter department because it supplies healthy fatty acids along with fiber, potassium, protein, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium. Weight Watchers recommends additional spreads, including nut butters made from soynuts, sunflower seeds, macadamias, pecans and pumpkin seeds.

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