Is peanut butter and yogurt good for you?

Peanut butter and yogurt are both nutritious foods that can be part of a healthy diet. When combined, peanut butter and yogurt offer a tasty snack or meal that provides protein, vitamins and minerals. However, the nutritional value of peanut butter and yogurt can vary based on the specific ingredients and preparation methods. Understanding the potential benefits and downsides of peanut butter and yogurt can help determine if this food combination is truly good for you.

Nutritional highlights of peanut butter

Peanut butter is a good source of several nutrients:

  • Protein – 2 tablespoons of peanut butter provides 7 grams of protein.
  • Healthy fats – Peanut butter contains mostly unsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Fiber – 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 2 grams of fiber.
  • Vitamin E – Peanut butter is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage.
  • Magnesium – Peanut butter contains 57mg of magnesium per 2 tablespoon serving.
  • Potassium – With 208mg of potassium per 2 tablespoon serving, peanut butter provides electrolytes.
  • Resveratrol – Peanut butter contains some resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant linked to health benefits.

The exact nutritional values can vary depending on whether you choose creamy, crunchy, natural or regular peanut butter. Natural peanut butter contains only peanuts and oil, while regular peanut butter often has added sugars and hydrogenated oils. The ingredients label should be examined closely.

Nutritional highlights of yogurt

Yogurt contains these key nutrients:

  • Protein – An 8oz serving of plain yogurt with no added sugar provides 11-13 grams of protein depending on fat content.
  • Calcium – Same serving size of yogurt provides 30% to 50% of daily calcium needs.
  • Vitamin B12 – Yogurt provides 25-40% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin B12.
  • Potassium – With 531mg of potassium per 8oz, yogurt is considered a high-potassium food.
  • Probiotics – The live active cultures in yogurt provide probiotics that support digestive and immune system health.

As with peanut butter, the specific ingredients impact the nutritional value. Low fat and nonfat yogurts have fewer calories and less saturated fat than whole milk yogurt. But they also have less protein and calcium because the milk solids are reduced. Added sugars also add empty calories without nutritional benefit.

Potential benefits of combining peanut butter and yogurt

Here are some potential benefits that this tasty duo offers:

  • High in protein – Having both peanut butter and yogurt provides complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids for building muscle.
  • Probiotics and prebiotics – The probiotics in yogurt and the prebiotics in peanut butter support digestive health.
  • Nutrient synergy – Yogurt aids in the absorption of vitamins E and K found in peanut butter.
  • Satiety – Combining protein, fiber and fat from this snack promotes feelings of fullness and prevents overeating.
  • Convenience – Peanut butter and yogurt require little preparation and make an easy on-the-go snack.
  • Kid friendly – Both peanut butter and yogurt appeal to kids for their creamy textures and sweet and nutty flavors.

Research has found that diets higher in yogurt are associated with lower body weight and reduced risk for obesity and metabolic diseases. Peanut butter is also linked to health benefits like balanced blood sugar levels, lower cardiovascular disease risk and decreased inflammation. So pairing them as a snack or light meal confers both advantages.

Potential downsides of peanut butter and yogurt

Despite the benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider as well:

  • High in calories – While nutritious, the calories can add up quickly without portion control.
  • Added sugars – Many yogurts and some peanut butters have added sugars that don’t provide extra nutrition.
  • Allergies – Peanuts are a common food allergen, while some people may be sensitive to probiotics in yogurt or lactose intolerant.
  • Acrylamide – Peanuts contain acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic substance formed during high-temperature cooking.
  • Aflatoxins – Peanuts may be contaminated with aflatoxins, toxins produced by molds which increase cancer risk.
  • Oxalates – Yogurt contains oxalates that may increase risk of kidney stones in susceptible people who excessively consume dairy.

The concerns about acrylamide and aflatoxins relate more to peanut products in general rather than peanut butter specifically. And the amounts of oxalates in yogurt are generally not a significant concern for otherwise healthy adults. But these factors are worth considering for individuals with specific health risks.

Ideal peanut butter and yogurt combinations

To maximize the nutritional benefits of peanut butter and yogurt, here are some of the most balanced ways to enjoy them together:

  • Low sugar Greek yogurt paired with natural peanut butter – This limits added sugars and provides protein, probiotics and vitamins.
  • Peanut powder added to plain yogurt – Peanut powder has 85% less fat than regular peanut butter with the same nutrition.
  • Whole grain granola mixed with yogurt and topped with peanut butter – The whole grains add fiber and nutrients.
  • Fruit like sliced apples or bananas dipped in peanut butter then yogurt – Fruits provide vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

When buying jarred peanut butter, the ingredient list should contain nothing more than peanuts and maybe salt. Look for unsweetened yogurt with few total carbs and protein content greater than 5g per serving. These selections maximize the nutritional quality of the snack.

Are peanut butter and yogurt good for weight loss?

Peanut butter and yogurt can be incorporated into a weight loss diet but should be consumed in moderation. Here’s how these foods may influence weight management:

  • Protein promotes satiety helping control hunger and decrease calorie intake throughout the day.
  • Unsaturated fats from peanut butter increases metabolic rate compared to other fats.
  • Probiotics and calcium from yogurt may inhibit fat production and absorption.
  • Pairing peanut butter and yogurt limits portion sizes of the high-calorie peanut butter.

However, total daily calorie intake still needs to be considered:

  • A 2 Tablespoon serving of peanut butter has nearly 200 calories.
  • One container of even lowfat yogurt can have 100+ calories.
  • It’s important to measure portions and be mindful of serving sizes when adding high-calorie foods like peanut butter to yogurt.
  • Consider pairing peanut butter with lower calorie foods like apple slices rather than yogurt if weight loss is the goal.

Research on weight loss diets has found that consumption of yogurt and nuts did not prevent weight gain without controlling overall calories. So peanut butter and yogurt can be part of a weight loss diet but need to be incorporated in appropriate portions that create an overall daily calorie deficit.

Are peanut butter and yogurt good for muscle gain?

Peanut butter and yogurt can help support a high protein diet for building muscle mass for these reasons:

  • Peanut butter provides plant-based protein to complement the amino acids from dairy found in yogurt.
  • The protein in peanut butter and yogurt is high quality and efficiently utilized for muscle protein synthesis.
  • Consuming peanut butter and yogurt together makes it easy to meet protein intake goals required for gaining muscle.
  • Protein supports muscle recovery after strength training workouts that stimulate muscle growth.

However, a few factors need to be considered to optimize the muscle building benefits:

  • Adequate calories need to consumed in addition to extra protein to see significant muscle gains.
  • Strength training is required to provide the mechanical stimulus for increased muscle mass.
  • Other high protein foods like eggs, meat and whey protein are recommended along with peanut butter and yogurt to maximize protein intake.

While excellent sources of protein, peanut butter and yogurt alone won’t maximize muscle growth without the additional key nutrition and training elements required. But they can be a convenient way to boost daily protein intake on a muscle building diet plan.

Conclusion

Peanut butter and yogurt can be a nutritious combination that provides key nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Pairing them together offers benefits related to heart health, blood sugar control, digestion and disease prevention. However, the calorie content needs to be considered, especially for weight management goals. And allergies are a possibility with either food. Choosing natural peanut butter and unsweetened Greek yogurt are best options. Overall, enjoying peanut butter and yogurt in moderation can be part of healthy, well-balanced diet for most people.

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