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In short, no, peanut butter doesn’t contain cholesterol.¹ If you are asking because you are worried about your blood cholesterol levels, know that it’s not the cholesterol content you should be worried about but the saturated fat content.
Yes, the cholesterol content in the food you eat will affect your blood cholesterol levels, but not as much as the fat content of that food. Peanut butter contains both saturated and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fat, often called the “bad” or “unhealthy” fats, can increase blood cholesterol levels by almost three times the amount cholesterol can. They do this by increasing something called your LDL-cholesterol levels. LDL is the carrier of fats and cholesterol around your body. It is responsible for letting extra fat build up in your cells and arteries, leading to heart disease² and other conditions.³
Unsaturated fats, often called “healthy” fats, can be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
These unsaturated fats in the foods you eat have a good effect on your blood cholesterol levels. This is because they increase the amount of HDL-cholesterol or “good cholesterol” in your blood.
HDL cholesterol collects extra fat from your blood and cells and returns it to the liver. This decreases your blood cholesterol levels. It is still debated which type of unsaturated fat (mono or poly) is more beneficial, but both are important.
LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are not in the food you eat. However, peanut butter does have both saturated and unsaturated fats, which can create LDL and HDL cholesterol in your body.
The number of calories in your peanut butter will depend on the type and brand you use. It also depends on how much you have in one serving. As every brand will have different recommended serving sizes, a standard 100g measure is used. On average, peanut butter contains 632 calories per 100g.
The average amount of saturated fat in peanut butter per 100g is 8.4g. Again, this will vary depending on the brand you use.
On average, peanut butter contains 30.7g of monounsaturated fats and 9.78g of polyunsaturated fats per 100g.
Peanut butter is very calorie dense because of its high-fat content. Fat itself is very high in calories. Because of this, it is easy to eat lots of your daily calories without realizing it if you eat a lot of peanut butter. This can lead to eating more calories than your body needs, potentially leading to weight gain and further health complications.
It is completely fine to enjoy some peanut butter, but if you want to avoid unintentional weight gain, you will want to eat it in moderation. This involves knowing how many calories it contains and sticking to your recommended serving sizes.
Peanut butter has an average of 24g of protein per 100g, making it a good source of protein. This can be a useful protein source, especially if you avoid animal products, which are typically good protein sources but have a considerable cholesterol content. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t normally eat 100g of peanut butter at once, with one tablespoon only containing 4.3g of protein but 113 calories.
Research⁴ suggests that diets containing high amounts of unsaturated fat and low levels of saturated fat, which could include peanut butter, can reduce the risk of developing some cancers.
Blood cholesterol levels are strongly linked⁵ to the development of heart disease. If you can decrease your blood cholesterol levels by reducing the cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet, you may reduce your risk of heart disease. This is where peanut butter can play a role, but only if you use it to replace a source of saturated fat in your diet, such as butter.
Peanut butter, as part of a diet low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, may potentially help to control blood sugar levels⁶ in those who have type 2 diabetes.
Peanut butter is often used as part of a high-fat diet to help with weight loss.⁷ Any diet that produces a calorie deficit will result in weight loss, but high-fat diets are a popular choice due to the popularity of diets such as the keto diet.
As peanut butter is high in calories, weight loss can only be achieved if you eat peanut butter in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
The cholesterol content of nut butter is often non-existent. If you wish to include nut butter as part of your low-cholesterol diet, you may need to be careful of some kinds of nut butter's saturated fat and calorie content.
Nut butter is rising in popularity, and new kinds are emerging. This ranges from your classic peanut butter to macadamia nut butter and beyond. All have different flavor profiles but often have similar nutritional profiles.
The second most common nut butter, after peanut butter, is almond butter. Like peanut butter, almond butter is high in calories, protein, and unsaturated fats. Almond butter has a lower saturated fat content and a higher polyunsaturated fat content.
This makes it potentially more beneficial for blood-cholesterol control compared to peanut butter.
Peanut butter doesn’t contain cholesterol. It can be part of a healthy diet and potentially have some health benefits. Though a word of caution, it is very high in calories and, if consumed in high amounts, could be a significant source of saturated fat in your diet.
Peanut butter, creamy | U.S. Department of Agriculture
Saturated fat | Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms