Peanut Butter

peanutDo you eat peanut butter?  Do you feed it to your family?  Do you know what’s in that commercial conventional grocery store peanut butter you smear on your toast each morning?

As with all things moderation is key….but if you are going to eat peanut butter you should know the facts and make the best peanut butter choices.

First of all, peanuts have soft shells which soak up the pesticides sprayed on the crop.  This means the pesticide is in the nut.  The US Department of Agriculture did a test on conventional peanut butter and found 8 pesticide residues in varying percentages.  This test found carcinogens in the butter and the word “carcinogen” means it is known to cause cancer.  These carcinogens were hormone distruptors, neurotoxins and reproductive toxins.  Peanuts also carry a toxic mold called “aflotoxin”.  This fungus is harmful to humans and is linked to cancer when consumed in high amounts.  According to studies this aflotoxin is linked to liver cancer.  That is scary.

Conventional peanut butter contains iodized salt, sometimes soy protein, corn syrup, refined white sugar and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to help prevent separation.  These are not the best ingredients to eat every morning on your toast.

Organic and Natural peanut butters generally contain only salt and peanuts which is a much better ingredient list but they still carry the aflotoxin mold.

Valencia peanuts are a product of New Mexico.  Aflotoxin is not a problem on Valencia peanut crops because of the dry climate.  Buying peanut butter made from Valencia peanuts is your best bet for avoiding this harmful mold.

It is not easy to find “aflotoxin free” peanut butter on the grocery store shelf.  You could find some online or at health food stores.  Some good quality brands list their “aflotoxin” levels as below government regulated levels of 20 ppb.  There is a brand called “Justin’s Nut Butters” that test all of their products to make sure they fall between 5 and 10 ppb.

There is a brand called Vivapura which claims their peanut butter is “aflotoxin” free as it is grown in the mountains of South America.  It’s expensive but your health is worth it.

To avoid this problem I use other nut butters in my diet.  There are delicious organic almond, walnut, sunflower, pistachio, cashew nut butters on the market today.

If you are using peanut butter then slow down the mold growth in the jar by keeping it in the refrigerator.

Darn….why is everything we love contaminated or modified to be unhealthy.

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