Let’s be honest, peanut butter is the most delicious food, ever. It’s also one of the most addictive foods, and the reason is more than just the taste!
Since switching over to an ultra healthy diet, peanut butter has been one of those kryptonite foods that I can’t seem to be able to keep in the house without devouring.
I needed to understand WHY I can’t stop craving peanut butter, because I know I’m not the only one! Many of my clients have the same story. Peanut Butter Addiction is a REAL thing, and there are a couple reasons why.
Why is Peanut Butter so Addictive?
Reason 1. Peanut butter is a sneaky combination of fat, salt and sugar. This combo literally sends off the same signal in the brain as COCAINE… On top of that, peanuts are almost always high in mold and yeast and they create a mild allergic reaction in the majority of people. This histamine releasing food acts as an excitotoxin in the brain. Peanuts give humans a little bit of a high when eaten. So my peanut butter and banana snack is legit like a hit of crack – awesome.
Reason 2. We don’t get enough quality fats in our diet, so our bodies naturally crave what we’re missing. When we give it peanut butter, due to reason 1, we get a high, which our brains love, and our bodies tell us we need more of it to survive, thus we eat more. Our brains drug-like addiction plus our body’s need for fat makes peanut butter irresistible.
Reason 3. Stress! If you are wondering what peanut butter craving has to do with stress, science has the answer! – Peanut butter contains beta-sitosterol – a specific plant sterol which fights the effcts of stress. When we are stressed, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol and beta-sitosterol is shown to normalize this hormone. So now you can factually blame stress when you down a jar of peanut butter by the spoonful (I’ve been there one too many times).
You can read more about this in the book The Cortisol Connection by Dr. Shawn Talbott.
My personal little story with peanut butter.
I know eating peanuts by the bagful may not be the most healthy of practices. They are often moldy, yeasty and chemically sprayed, and the commercial peanut butter is filled with toxins, chemicals and additives. Organic peanut butter is still made from roasted nuts, which means the fats may be a bit more on the inflammatory side and imbalance in terms of their Omega-6s but the taste and feeling I get when I eat a peanut butter by the spoonful is just too good to give up.
My relationship with peanut butter goes way back.
So after years of painful restriction and heartfelt longing, I would go back and forth with my allowance. I would buy a jar and eat the whole thing in 3 days and then break up with peanuts again for the next painful bout. Each time I do this I notice the effects right away:
- I feel bloated
- I have less energy
- My skin breaks out
- I feel guilty about it
What I have learned, is that by telling myself that I can’t have peanuts, I go into deprivation mode and want them even more. By shifting my mindset and allowing myself to eat some in moderation when the mood strikes, I am able to find a much better balance and not go into the guilt and shame.
So maybe it’s not peanut butter for you, maybe it’s chips/popcorn/trailmix or cookies, cake and icecream.. whatever your addiction food is, the best thing you can do is just allow yourself to enjoy it from time to time. By restricting, you’ll probably end up wanting it even more and overdoing it.
So to conclude, I do eat peanut butter. I make sure it’s organic and sugar free and mix it with with coconut oil and chia seeds to rebalance the Omega 3:6 ratio which is ideally 2:1. Have it sparingly and enjoy it. Depriving yourself and total restriction might lead to a painful binge when you decide to give in and treat yourself. If it’s just a lack of fat in your diet, have avocado, organic virgin coconut oil or grass fed butter instead!
It’s all about balance!
Holistic Nutritional Practitioner & Lifestyle Coach (& Peanut Butter Addict)
Real Life, But Better