Monday, April 16, 2012

Food Wars: Peanut Butter

"Peanut butter (is) the pâté of childhood" ~ Florence Fabricant

Are all peanut butters created equally? Like anything else in life the answer is no. The real question you need to ask is: What makes one peanut butter product better than the other?

Based on the label alone a less savvy consumer might be inclined to choose the Kraft product. After all it is lower in calories and in fat than the PC Blue Menu Peanut Butter. It even provides the same fiber, protein, and iron content. Yes it has some sodium (70mg), and a bit more carbs (3 more), but that's hardly a concern right?

Unfortunately a quick look at the label isn't enough to make a buying decision. The label itself is only half the story. The numbers/values on the label are derived by the ingredients found in the food product (our peanut butter). The ingredients help us understand the numbers/values listed on the label and therefore help us complete the story.

In this case a quick scan of the ingredients of both products tells us almost everything we need to know.

In the PC peanut butter, there is only 1 ingredient..... peanuts. This means that the numbers/values found on the label are based solely on this one ingredient.

The Kraft peanut butter on the other hand derives it's numbers or values from "select roasted peanuts" plus 4 other ingredients: Corn Dextrin, Sugar, Salt and Hydrogenated, which are all considered food additives:
"Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and (or) appearance." ~ Wikipedia
If you would like to read up on food additives, a complete list can also be found on Wikipedia HERE. Even without the knowledge of what food additives are these 4 ingredients should be raising all kinds of red flags. First off the last thing anyone needs more of in their daily diet is sugar or salt. There's plenty of both found naturally in most foods. For example: 1 medium carrot contains 42mg of sodium and 2.89g of sugar (USDA). The other 2 ingredients both contain scientific sounding jargon ("dextrin" & "hydrogenated") which is a dead giveaway that they're not needed or healthy, and that they are most likely used as an additive.

If you view the information on the label, and take into account the ingredients used, you will have a much better understanding of which food product is the better choice....... and in this case the much better choice is the PC Blue Menu Smooth Peanut Butter.

I was going to end this post here, but I figured that I would share a few things that I'm still unable to answer and am therefore still searching for the answers to:
  1. How can 2 peanut butters (with the same serving size) have the same sugar content (1g) when the PC product has only peanuts in it, and the Kraft product has peanuts and added sugar?
  2. Why doesn't the serving size (15g) equal the total grams of the nutrition amounts (17g for Kraft and 18g for PC). Example for Kraft: 6g Fat +6g Carbs + 1g Fibre + 1 Sugar + 3g Protein = 17g
Hopefully I'll figure out the answers to these 2 conundrums at some point..... and when I do I'll report back.




Blogger André Mayrand said...

1. I don't know, I read your blog asking myself the same question. It may be because of amount approximations, but I'm just guessing. What I mean by that is that the regular peanut butter MAY contain 5.6g carbs, which is rounded off to 6,0g, and the light one 6.4g of carbs, again rounded off to 6grams.

2- Fiber and Sugar are carbs. They're included in the total carbs amount.

1:32 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares. The amount of time you waste thinking about this crap you could put on your running shoes and go for a jog. It makes no difference at all. Everyone I know who wastes there time finding sugar in everything looks horrible and becomes incredibly annoying to talk to. Go to the gym.

6:29 p.m.  

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