Peanut butter is not only an American classic that both kids and adults love, but it also provides some health benefits. Peanut butter comes in two basic forms: crunchy and smooth. Although both of these offer the same benefits, they differ slightly in their nutritional values. Choosing chunky peanut butter instead of smooth provides you a bit more of beneficial fatty acids and fiber.
Although peanut butter is high in fats, it contains mostly healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fats help reduce blood cholesterol and your risk for cardiovascular disease, while foods high in saturated fats do the opposite, according to the American Heart Association. Both chunky and smooth peanut butter are good sources of mono-and polyunsaturated fats, but you get slightly more unsaturated and less saturated fats by eating chunky peanut butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of chunky peanut butter has 7.8 grams of monounsaturated, 4.7 polyunsaturated and only 2.5 grams of saturated fatty acids, while smooth has 7.7 grams, 4.4 grams, and 3.2 grams, respectively.
Fiber is a beneficial nutrient that helps promote healthy bowel function, prevents constipation and aids in lowering your blood cholesterol. A high-fiber diet may also help reduce your risk of some cancers by increasing the removal of toxins, according to Colorado State University Extension. In addition, a fiber-rich diet may be beneficial in weight loss by reducing your food and calorie intake. It is recommended that men get around 38 grams and women around 25 grams of fiber every day. Chunky peanut butter and smooth peanut butter contain the same amount of fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A 2-tablespoon serving of either peanut butter contains roughly 2 grams of fiber.
Peanut butter contains many essential vitamins and minerals. Both smooth and chunky contain around 4 milligrams of niacin, 50 milligrams of magnesium and 1 milligram of zinc in 2 tablespoons. They are also good sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect cells and fatty acids against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and promote plaque buildup in your arteries. Smooth peanut butter contains 3 milligrams and chunky peanut butter 2 milligrams of vitamin E in a 2-tablespoon serving. The daily recommended intake for vitamin E is 15 milligrams for adults and between 5 milligrams and 11 milligrams for children and teens.
Peanut butter, smooth or chunky, contain roughly the same amount of calories, with 189 in smooth peanut butter and 190 calories in chunky. Both contain 8 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat and between 6 and 7 grams of carbohydrates in 2 tablespoons. Because peanut butter is high in calories, you should consume it in moderation. Eating excess calories is the major reason people become overweight or obese. However, because peanut butter is a good source of heart-healthy fatty acids, fiber and vitamin E, adding small amounts of it to your diet can be beneficial.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Chunky, Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Peanut Butter, Smooth, Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Colorado State University Extension; Dietary Fiber
- Linus Pauling Institute Oregon State University: Vitamin E