Legumes such as beans, lentils & peanuts can have similar issues as those with grains. They are carbohydrate dense and have quite large amounts of inflammatory lectins. Therefore, they are not considered Paleo.
Is peanut butter nutritious?
Peanut butter is a good source of thiamin, niacin, folate and magnesium. It is also rich in polyphenols. Peanuts also contain small amounts of CoQ10 and resveratrol (although you can easily also get from beef heart, red wine or sardines). So, there are some nutrient benefits.
Here are 6 reasons to avoid peanuts / peanut butter:
- According to Robb Wolf, in his book “The Paleo Solution” he states that legumes are “Gut irritating proteins, anti-nutrients, and protease inhibitors.” Protease inhibitors as well as anti nutrients can prevent you from getting enough nutrition from your foods. These anti nutrients prevent the proper absorbtion of B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper and calcium in the intestines.
- According to Dr. Loren Cordain, the lectins in Peanuts increase intestinal permeability and may trigger your immune system to turn against your own body, leading to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.
- Also, if you compare a diet high in grass-fed beef, chicken, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, a legume-heavy diet simply does not compare. It just makes more sense to choose foods that are more nutrient dense. Fruits and vegetables have far more nutrients than peanut butter.
- According to Mark Sisson, peanuts are susceptible to a mycotoxin called Aflatoxin. “Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats (and, presumably, in humans). The amounts given to the rats in the study were highly concentrated, of course, with the express intent to study the effects of acute aflatoxicosis”.
- Interestingly, peanut butter is often used in studies as a high reward, comfort food that rats and mice will readily and consistently overeat.
- Peanut oil has a good amount of monounsaturated fat (about 46.8% of the total fatty acid content), but it also has a high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Mark Sisson wouldn’t recommend eating peanuts or peanut butter very regularly. However, he does point out that having the following under control; grains, omega-6 oils, sleep, exercise, play, quality of meat etc is more important than worrying about eating peanut butter. If those are under control then start thinking about peanut butter as a treat every now and then, if ever.
I think that for some people they cannot tolerate peanuts at all due to allergies and the reasons above but I guess not everybody will react in the same way. I would also agree with Robb Wolf who would encourage people to pull it out of the diet, reintroduce it and see how you do. I personally am not a fan of peanuts or peanut butter so wouldn’t be my choice and would rather choose more nutritious foods.