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One Major Side Effect of Eating Too Much Peanut Butter

We know peanut butter is hard to resist, but if you go overboard with it, you may experience this undesirable side effect.

What is there to say? Peanut butter is the best. And it's not just because of the nostalgia of having PB&Js for lunch as a kid. There are numerous benefits you can reap by adding this spread to your diet, as it's a great source of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and even essential micronutrients like manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, and niacin.

Regardless of all the beauty and deliciousness of one of America's favorite foods, there are still some downsides to eating peanut butter that we can't overlook. Namely, that one of the major side effects of eating too much peanut butter is an increased risk of weight gain.

"While peanut butter is generally a healthy food and is loaded with important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein, it is a high-calorie food," says Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, founder of Nutrition Now Counseling, author of Fueling Male Fertility, and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board.

Peanut butter may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think "high-calorie food," but it's true that even healthy foods can be high in calories. And that can be a problem. When we think of foods as healthy, it can result in us letting our guard down when it comes to eating in moderation. As a result, we may end up eating more of that food thinking it can provide us with this health benefit and not realize that we're eating hundreds of calories.

And even if we do know to eat peanut butter in moderation, portioning out a serving isn't easy. While you may know that a serving of peanut butter contains about 200 calories, it's likely that you're eating more than that since a serving size is a mere two tablespoons.

"Many will be surprised to learn that a serving is only two tablespoons—some people use double that amount on their PB and J!" says Manaker.

To make matters worse, oftentimes, we pair peanut butter with other high-calorie, high-sugar foods like jelly.

"Compound the fact that, on average, you're eating more than a serving size along with pairing peanut butter with jelly and the bread, and you can be downing one high-calorie sandwich," says Manaker.

To avoid unwanted weight gain, keep your peanut butter intake to a serving at a time, and make sure you're only buying The 20 Top Peanut Butters—Ranked!

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more