Do Peanut Butter and Diabetes Interact Well?
Peanut butter is one of the most consumed foods in American households, and there are many reasons for this. Firstly, many people find peanut butter very enjoyable and prefer eating it with bread, apple, and other popular carbohydrates. Also, regular peanut butter consumption is believed to be incredibly healthy and can help prevent different conditions, including diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that patients eat food low in carbs and the glycemic index (GI). Due to its natural healthy groundnut ingredient, peanut butter has a significantly low glycemic index (GI) value and is considered incredibly healthy for people with diabetes. Moreover, many diabetes health experts recommend that diabetics eat this food due to its nutritional value and how it helps regulate blood sugar.
This guide outlines what people with diabetes can gain from eating peanut butter. It also discusses the relationship between peanut butter and high blood sugar in great detail. To do this, we’ll examine different existing research and studies to outline proven facts about peanut butter and diabetes.
- Protein 22 g
- Carbohydrate 20 g
- Fat 50 g
- Fiber 0 g
- Sugar 6.5 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
What Is Peanut Butter?
As the name implies, peanut butter is a butter-like mix whose major ingredient is peanuts. The food can be traced back several decades and was made in many homes as treats and spread for bread.
This food is considered an invention by people who ate peanuts and wanted a variation. Peanut butter tastes like peanuts and is typically thick, brown, and smooth.
This butter is made from healthy peanuts (groundnuts) that have been roasted, dried, and processed. Over time, the processed peanuts form a mix known as peanuts. Traditionally, people enjoyed peanut butter as they are, and this recipe is known as natural peanut butter jams in recent times.
There are currently different types of natural butter available for people to eat. While they all have peanuts as their base ingredients, many commercialized peanuts have different additions and recipes. This alteration enhances the taste and makes peanut butter good for certain foods.
The alteration of natural peanut butter typically affects the nutrient of each mix. In some brands, the change isn’t so significant. However, in others, it affects the entire nutritional value, which may not be a good thing.
The traditional natural peanut butter has incredibly healthy nutrients, including healthy fats, which don’t encourage weight gain. Also, healthy fats serve as an alternative energy source, which is important for people cutting on carbs to preclude its high blood sugar consequences.
Nutritional Facts of Peanut Butter
Experts recommend peanut butter as one of the healthiest foods to eat. The food is naturally filled with nutrients, even without any additional ingredients. It’s been associated with preventing and reducing certain disease risks, including diabetes.
According to several research and studies that we’ll touch on in subsequent sections, diabetes reduces the risk of sudden blood sugar spikes. This is due to its natural health capability in decreasing the rate of digestion of starchy carbs.
Apart from its benefits for high blood sugar, it also aids in general health maintenance. Its significantly low saturated fat content makes it a healthy diet for the heart and weight control.
Peanut butter also comprises vitamin B, vitamin E, and vitamin K, which work in concert to improve the body's immune system. Peanut butter also contains magnesium which helps to control blood sugar.
The Effect of Peanut Butter on Blood Sugar and Diabetes
From peanut butter’s nutritional profile, it’s clear that it can benefit people with diabetes. The major drawback of people struggling with diabetes is consistent and sudden blood sugar spikes.
Diabetes can trigger many complications when left untreated, despite continual intake of high glycemic foods. People with the condition often struggle with keeping their blood sugars under control, and some are often at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other complications.
Incorporating peanut butter as part of their diet can help diabetics in their quest to enjoy tasty meals without triggering sudden blood sugar spikes. A natural peanut butter jar has a considerably low GI value of 13.
Foods with glycemic indices higher than 70 are the ones considered unhealthy foods. Obviously, the peanut butter glycemic index (GI) is much lower and, as such, is beneficial to people with the condition.
Research on Peanut Butter and Diabetes
Research proves that eating peanuts just after breakfast could help maintain a healthy blood sugar level throughout the day. Peanut butter could also help reduce the insulin spike higher GI foods trigger when combined. These diabetes-friendly benefits could be attributed to the food’s high magnesium content.
According to a Journal of Internal Medicine report, magnesium plays an important role in lowering a person's risk of having diabetes. Notably, it positively affects how the body absorbs insulin and releases it, aiding blood sugar control.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains that peanuts are a great magnesium source as a serving contains 12% of magnesium's daily value. In one research, people who consumed peanuts daily for three weeks showed improved blood magnesium more than the recommended levels.
Clinical research has also proved that when people fail to get enough magnesium in their diet, they’re exposed to type 2 diabetes. Thankfully, magnesium plays an important role in insulin resistance, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome.
Researchers have shown a link between insulin resistance and magnesium deficiency in children. Remarkably, older adults and people of middle age who have metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and insulin resistance are usually deficient in magnesium.
A study carried out by Reis et al. in 2013 proves that if peanut butter is eaten in the morning, it positively affects blood sugar control. This research focused on women at risk of having type 2 diabetes as they had 1.5 oz of peanut butter during breakfast. Notably, it helped control the spike in blood sugar after breakfast, and the effect was also evident when the participants had lunch high in carbohydrates without peanuts.
Another study by the University of the Incarnate Word in 2018 reinforced these claims as they investigated the effect of eating peanuts with a breakfast high in carbohydrates. Their findings show that having breakfast with peanuts also helped control blood sugar even when the participants had lunch high in carbohydrates without peanuts.
The researchers discovered that combining peanut butter with a meal high in carbohydrates results in a reduction in the spike in blood sugar. They also found out that this wasn’t the case when peanuts were absent in a meal high in carbohydrates. In the end, the researchers traced the effect of peanuts on blood sugar to their healthy fat and high protein content.
According to a study on the importance of peanut butter conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating peanuts may reduce a person's chances of having type 2 diabetes. This is because peanuts are high in several nutrients and unsaturated fat that helps the body regulate insulin.
TheAmerican College of Nutrition journal created a research paper that revealed that peanuts might reduce your chances of having cardiovascular diseases — a common diabetic complication. It also showed that including nuts in your diet could help reduce high blood pressure — yet, another diabetes complication.
Undoubtedly, peanuts are important to people with type 2 diabetes, but they’re high in calories and should be consumed moderately. One of the risk factors for having type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight.
A Diabetologia-published research showed that eating different nuts in place of foods high in carbohydrates can help control blood sugar in the long term. This helped to reduce the cholesterol in people who have type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, researchers from the Boston Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health have discovered that more people can follow a healthy weight loss diet than those on a traditional low-fat diet. The research further showed that the persons ate more nutritious food like peanuts, peanut butter, unsaturated fat oil, nuts, and their favorite meals. This helped them feel more satisfied and put their weight under control for more than 18 months.
Purdue University carried out recent research that showed having peanuts or peanut butter as a snack effectively controls hunger without gaining weight. Participants of the research who snacked on peanut butter or peanut spontaneously adjusted their calorie intake without adding more calories to their diet daily. Their findings further supported other short and long-term research that shows that consuming peanuts regularly doesn’t cause weight gain.
The Harvard School of Public Health carried out a study that examined the exercise and diet of more than 65,000 women who were part of the Nurses Health Study. These women were free from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer as their diet contained food low in a glycemic index like peanuts, yogurt, beans, and broccoli.
They also had a diet high in cereal fiber, and their dieting pattern helped reduce their risk of having type 2 diabetes. Their research also extended to men, yielding similar results.
Other Health Benefits of Peanut Butter for Diabetics
As a diabetic, you get to enjoy many benefits that go beyond high blood sugar control when you eat peanut butter. To a large extent, these benefits are beneficial to their diabetic condition as they improve general health. Some of the extra benefits of peanut butter include:
Helps With Weight Management
Peanut butter contains healthy fats known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are good for health, and they’re known to promote consumers' health.
Peanut butter aid in weight management because its fats aren’t associated with obesity and excessive weight gain. Peanut butter also contains other nutrients like protein and fiber that are healthy for its consumers.
Generally, foods high in these nutrients (fiber, protein, and healthy fats) take longer to digest. They keep you fuller and energetic for a longer time, thereby preventing cases of overeating. While you maintain a healthy lifestyle, peanut butter can also help you manage your weight.
Promotes Optimal Heart Health
Peanut butter contains omega-6, a fatty acid that lowers low-density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol) and increases high-density lipoproteins (“good” cholesterol). This helps reduce the risk of heart diseases and improves its function.
Peanut butter is known to contain another constituent that can help improve your heart health — a healthy fat known as oleic acid. This fat helps maintain consumers' blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure factors associated with issues of the heart. By ensuring a healthy level of these factors, oleic acid helps minimize the risk of heart disease.
Reduces the Spread of Cancerous Cells
Peanut butter is a great source of healthy nutrients, including antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin B complexes, and manganese. These antioxidants reduce the risk of developing and spreading cancer. The compounds help prevent and repair damaged cells in the body, thus reducing the risk of developing diseases like cancer.
Peanut butter also contains coumaric acid, a substance shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Additionally, this food contains a substance known as resveratrol — an antioxidant that improves the health of individuals that consume it. More particularly, it lowers the risk of obesity and weight gain, heart diseases, and the development and spread of cancer.
Minimizes the Risk of Gallbladder Diseases
Amidst all its health benefits, peanut butter also helps reduce the risk of developing gallbladder diseases. Notably, it’s been studied that you reduce the risk of having gallstones if you consume peanut butter. This is shown to reduce the risk of having gallbladder complications by 25%.
Gallstones comprise a high percentage of cholesterol stones linked to a high content of low-density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol). Thankfully, peanut butter packs omega-6 fatty acid that lowers this bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of suffering gall bladder blockage.
Peanut butter, in turn, increases the level of high-density lipoproteins, reducing the possibility of having gallstones.
Protects Against Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease associated with memory disorders. Generally, vitamin B3 (niacin) results in a lesser tendency to develop issues of degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease. Peanut butter is one of the foods rich in niacin, and so its intake helps protect you from having Alzheimer's disease.
Suffice to say, peanut butter's niacin content may help prevent brain damage. Notably, peanut butter’s p-coumaric acid content reduces oxidative stress on the body's cells linked with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
Choosing the Right Peanut Butter
The best peanut butter to go for are organic peanut butters. This mix is the traditional peanut butter devoid of any added ingredients. However, the natural peanut butter may not be as enjoyable as other types of recipe-varied butter in taste.
The issue with peanut butter containing added ingredients is that most may not effectively ensure blood sugar control. Commercial peanut butters usually contain added ingredients that aren’t great for blood sugar management, and they include partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, salts, and sugar. An example is powdered peanut butter, which doesn’t aid diabetic disease control as much as it should.
On the other hand, sunflower seed butter is also considered a healthy mix that can go well with natural peanut butter if you want variations in your meals.
People with diabetes have to watch how they consume peanut butter to enjoy the best benefits. Since there are different peanut butter recipes with their respective effects on blood sugar, diabetics should ensure they eat only the best ones.
However, it’s essential to note that peanut butter isn’t the only food of concern for people with diabetes. The effect of this food can only manifest if the other meals eaten alongside it are blood sugar-friendly. Typically, there are different help resources that people with diabetes can use to choose the right meal for their condition, including diabetes meal apps.
Diabetes meal apps ensure people struggling with diabetes and high blood sugar gain control of their blood glucose levels by suggesting the best blood sugar-friendly foods. Klinio app is one of those apps designed to help people with diabetes with the best food variations that they can eat alongside peanut butter to live a healthy, enjoyable life. Aside from that, this digital healthcare giver offers an array of no-equipment beginner workouts and allows you to track your progress to ensure you’re always at the top of your game when it comes to managing your illness.
The nextgen solution to diabetes management
Work, family, and other responsibilities can take up so much time that it gets hard to focus on eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight. If you have diabetes, balancing out life and wellness can become a real issue. Klinio app was designed to reflect the needs of people who want to fight diabetes but can hardly find the time.
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