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Why Natural Peanut Butter is a Fantastic Protein Food


If you are reading this on June 5th, it is World Environment Day! You may wonder how this relates to peanut butter being a fantastic source of protein, but we promise these topics go together like peanut butter and jelly. We may even go as far as to say that eating more peanut butter to get your protein is a heroic change that can help the planet in a big way.

This year’s World Environment Day topic focuses on our planet's ecosystems, some of the most delicate providers of life that slow climate change and provide us with delicious natural foods (like peanuts!) Ecosystem restoration is a goal that the United Nations is putting its global efforts towards this year, and for the next ten years, to protect life on our planet. They have created an awesome playbook to share what individuals can do to improve the well-being of people and nature, and one of their recommendations caught our eye. 

Although planting trees and joining environmental advocacy groups is a great way to get involved in caring for our planet, one of the easiest ways you can do right in the comfort of your own home is tweaking how you eat. The UN recommended, for those who are able to, that eating less meat and dairy, and reducing food waste will help this cause significantly.

Mason jar salad with plant based protein

People, Planet, Peanut Butter, Protein 

One of the main concerns when it comes to decreasing meat and dairy intake is the question of protein. This is understandable, when meat and cheese can offer upwards to 30g of protein per 100 grams! Animal products are known for their high protein count, so that is why we were shocked when we found out that peanut butter offers a similar amount of protein per gram as well. Why isn’t this more talked about?!

All you need is 7 and a half tablespoons of natural peanut butter to get 30g of protein. And I don’t know about you, but when I eat peanut butter out of the jar, I definitely eat more than 7 spoonfuls (which tend to also be heaping!) 

Another point brought up is that meat has all 8 essential amino acids, which are essential because our body can not make them so we have to get them from the foods we eat. Animal-based foods, like chicken and eggs are considered complete because they have all eight amino acids. Some plant-based foods do not necessarily always have high amounts of eight essential amino acids, but all plant-based foods have all eight amino acids in varying amounts. 

As long as you are eating a wide variety of different protein sources, you will get all eight essential amino acids in your diet. Some high-protein amino rich plant-based foods include:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Holding plant-based protein bowl filled with veggies

Too Much Protein? 

Another shocking surprising stat out there is from the World Health Organization, which states that individuals across North America eat twice the amount of protein suggested by the Dietary Recommended Intake. 

So we don’t even need to be that worried about protein in the first place? Well for every person, ideal protein intake is different, and there remains a debate on how much protein we should consume but According to the Dietary Reference Intake Report for Macronutrients

  • A sedentary adult should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. 
  • On average, this means a sedentary man should aim to eat 56 grams of protein per day, 
  • A sedentary woman should consume 46 grams. 

To calculate your own, and see recommendations from the American Dietetic Association, CSC and WHO, check out the calculator here

Try out a Day of Plant-Based Protein

Even swapping out one meal a week, or one full day where you have plant-based protein sources can make a significant impact on our planet. Don’t know where to start? Here are some recipes for a full day of protein-packed plant-based meals:

Breakfast 

Pink protein smoothie bowl topped with coconut, matcha powder, a half kiwi, fruit and natural peanut butter.

Superfood Smoothie Bowl
Ingredient Amount of Protein (g)
1 cup milk of choice 3g
1 ½ cups frozen mixed berries
.5g
1 ripe banana
1.3g
1/4 cup Natural Peanut Butter
16g
½ cup granola
10g
Added toppings for extra-protein diets:
1 tbsp chia seeds
2.35g
1 tbsp hemp hearts
3.15g
1 tbsp spirulina
4g
Total protein amount:
40.3 g

 

Lunch

Plant based protein rice spring rolls

Rainbow Rice Rolls with Natural Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
Ingredient Amount of Protein (g)
3 rice paper wrappers
0g
½ cup romaine lettuce
0.3g
½ cup red cabbage
0.5g
¼ cup yellow bell pepper
0.25g
¼ cup carrot
0.25g
¼ cup cucumber
0.15g
Green onion, cilantro and mint
0.1g
Sriracha
0g
Dipping Sauce:
⅓ cup natural Natural Peanut Butter
21g
tbsp rice vinegar
0g
tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1g
tbsp sweetner
0g
tbsp sesame oil
0g
2 cloves garlic
0.36g
1 tsp ginger 
0g
Total protein amount:
23.91 g

Snack

Natural peanut butter protein hummus

Natural Peanut Butter Hummus
Ingredient Amount of Protein (g)
15 ounces chickpeas (1 can)
25g
2 cloves garlic
0.36g
2 tbsp olive oil or tahini 
0g
1/4 cup Natural Peanut Butter
16g
tbsp lemon juice 
0.2g 
1 tsp kosher salt 
0g
1 tsp ground cumin
0.1g
1/6 cup plain coconut yogurt
0.2g 
1 tbsp peanuts or pine nuts (to serve)
2g
1 tsp smoked paprika (to serve)
0.3g
Pita bread or crackers
5g
Sliced vegetables
3g
Total protein amount for 1 serving size (¼ of full recipe):
19g 

Dinner 

Spicy natural protein peanut butter sweet potato stew

Spicy Natural Peanut Butter Stew
Ingredient Amount of Protein (g)
4 cups vegetable broth
2g
½ cup Smooth or Crunchy Natural Peanut Butter
32g
3 small sweet potatoes
6g
3 tbsp tomato paste
2.1g
1 small onion, diced 
1.76g
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
0g
1 tsp cumin
0.4g
½ tsp chili powder
0.2g
½ tsp chili pepper flakes 
0.1g
½ tsp paprika 
0.1g
½ tsp salt
0g
½ tsp fresh ground pepper 
0.1g
1-4 cups fresh greens like kale or spinach
5g
Drizzle of sriracha
0g
Serve on brown rice, quinoa, noodles.
14g
Total protein amount for 1 serving size (¼ of full recipe):
16.19g 


If you ate all of those meals in one day, that would give you 99 grams of protein! 

Eating protein in a field during sunset

How can Protein Help? 

So, now we know how much protein we need and what meals to make to get it… so why does it matter? In the fight to restore our ecosystems, choosing the right amount of an environmentally friendly source of protein can reduce our food waste, benefit our health, and heal our planet. In fact, planning to include more plant-based proteins in your day can save gallons of water and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Proteins for the Planet

Emissions

When it comes to high protein sources, peanuts in particular are one of the front runners when sustainability comes into play. Looking at greenhouse gas emissions alone proves how beneficial going for nuts as a protein alternative can reduce your footprint. Beef, one of the richest protein sources, also has one of the highest emissions of greenhouse gases per 100g of protein. The other top food CO2 emitters include:

  • Lamb
  • Prawns
  • Dairy cows
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Pork
  • Farmed fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs

Groundnuts, the category which peanuts fall into, have 97.5% fewer emissions than beef. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions per 100 Grams of Protein

Graph comparing greenhouse gas emissions per 100 grams of protein

Making a Splash 

One study also has found that when comparing water consumption of farmed meat (beef, sheep, pig and chicken) to groundnuts, nuts need significantly less water to produce. 

Cutting Food Waste

Peanut butter also has the pro of being less wasteful! Peanuts are considered a zero waste nut, as everything their crop grows is used in production. Unlike meat, which can go bad in days, peanut butter can last open and on shelves for up to a year (but we tend to eat it quicker, I don’t know about you).  

Nuts Over Peanuts? 

What about peanut butter in comparison to other high plant-based protein sources, like nuts? Peanuts, which are a groundnut and technically a legume, seem to be the most sustainable in comparison to all other high-protein nuts as well. 

You may have heard people swapping out almond milk for oat milk, due to almond’s outrageous water intake during production. This is because it takes around 902 gallons of water to produce one pound of almonds! Although they are high in protein (21 grams of protein per 100 gram of almonds), peanuts provide more protein, and use only 59 gallons of water per ounce of nuts.

Gallons of Water Used per 1 Pound of Nuts

Chart comparing gallons of water used per 1 pound of nuts

Another win-win about peanuts: they have the most protein out of any nut! So if you are looking for a nut plant-based protein substitute, peanuts are the most protein-rich while having the least amount of impact on our planet. 

Grams of Protein per 1 Ounce of Nuts

Chart comparing amount of protein per 1 ounce of nuts

Peanuts for People’s Health 

Although you can healthily enjoy all foods in moderation, why not enjoy natural plant-based protein sources that have no significant health risks? We won’t list out the risks associated with eating meat, but instead, focus on the benefits of eating natural plant-based proteins that meat falls short on. 

In our best natural foods for women’s health blog, we touched on a ton of great benefits of peanuts and natural peanut butter. Although women focused, this shared a ton of research on the benefits of peanuts, that apply to all genders, including how:

  • It can lower harmful cholesterol
  • It can lower incidences of heart disease
  • It can be cancer fighting 

To this date, there has only been research suggesting that meat can increase cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. 

Plate of protein packed peanuts

Is Processed PB Good Protein? 

We can’t deny that all kinds of peanut butter have the benefits of their #1 ingredient: peanuts. But, some of the fighting plant-based powers may be overshadowed by the additives used to enhance preservation and taste. Additives including molasses, corn syrup, vegetable oils, palm oil and stabilizers add a lot of extra calories to the already calorie-dense spread. These can make the traditional nut butter be high in trans fats, and added sugar, both which have adverse health impacts.

So what should you look for in a peanut butter if you are focused on environmental and personal health? Peanut butter with no additives is the best.

Many of the nasty ingredients that are snuck into the ingredient list of PB’s are harmful to the environment. One of these is palm oil, which is a vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. Unfortunately, it is a major driver of deforestation, doing the exact opposite of ecosystem restoration. 

Although these additives ensure the preservation, this does not mean that natural peanut butters go bad. The natural fats in peanuts act as a preservative, and you do not even have to store natural peanut butter in the fridge. Natural oils may rise to the top of your jar, but these are super easy to stir at room temperature, and give you reassurance that your peanut butter is as healthy as it states. 

nudemarkt natural protein plant based peanut butter

Why nude is Different

Natural Peanut Butters are better for the planet, and better for you. That’s why nudemarkt peanut butter is: 

  • Palm oil free, which is better for your family and the future of the planet.
  • Made with Certified Premium Quality American peanuts that are ethically and sustainably grown.
  • No added sugar is needed to keep fresh and preserved, and no need to keep it in the fridge either. 
  • Diverting single use plastic waste with our reusable jars made from natural glass.

So next time you are looking for a boost of protein, grab a spoon and dip in!

_______________

Sources


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Uut8vNBfdk&list=LL&index=1


https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food?country=#carbon-footprint-of-food-products


https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/science-update/worldwide-74-irrigated-nuts-are-produced-under-water-stress


https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil


https://www.nationalpeanutboard.org/news/can-you-get-enough-protein-from-plant-foods.htm


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