Peanut Butter as a Sports Superfood

Peanut butter is amazing, tastes delicious, and provides nutrient-dense calories to fuel the body. Whether working out regularly, running for distance, or involved in a competitive sport, you require the best nutrition to feed your body and mind.

Peanut butter gets a lot of flak for being an unhealthy fattening food. But this is far from the truth. Peanut butter contains healthy fats, and is packed with protein for energy that lasts. According to the National Peanut Board, world-class athletes "rely on peanut butter to provide long-lasting energy for their competitive lifestyles."

In 2020, an analysis of 13 studies was published in Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition. Study authors reported that peanut consumption (lasting at least 12 weeks) doesn't cause weight gain but may improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

The only unfortunate drawback, however, is that peanut butter is one of the eight most common foods linked to allergic reactions in children and adults. Peanut allergy affects around 1.2% of the general U.S. population and is the most common food allergy among children. But if allergies are not an issue, peanut butter is a superior superfood well-suited to a physically active lifestyle.

Let’s dive into some peanut butter health benefits and reasons why you should grab a spoonful.


Peanut Butter Has Superfood Nutrients

Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter has reached the status of a superfood. Natural forms of this creamy spread line the pantries of athletes in a wide range of sports.

Peanut butter is a rich source of niacin, folate, and Vitamin E along with a host of other essential nutrients and minerals. It's also high in fiber and protein.


Peanut Butter Fuels the Body

Peanut butter

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Fueling the body requires quality nutrient-dense foods. Peanut butter certainly falls in this category. Peanut butter supplies sustaining energy at 100 calories and 4 grams of protein per 2-tablespoon serving. 

When we challenge ourselves with hard workouts or long endurance runs, we benefit the body with peanut butter and its powerhouse of nutrients. Exercise becomes more efficient, and the body can more readily repair itself from the physical demands of the workout. This is a great reason to add protein-packed peanut butter your nutrition lineup.  


Peanut Butter Contains Protein for Muscle Repair

Peanut Butter for Muscle Repair

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Did you know peanuts contain 7 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving compared to other nuts providing only 4-6 grams per serving? 

Pass the peanut butter for more protein, because workouts break down muscle tissue and need amino acids to repair the damage. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a crucial role in our cells, muscles, and tissues to maintain optimal bodily function. 

Depending on our sport and lifestyle, daily protein requirements can range from 1.2 grams to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.


Peanut Butter May Increase Good Cholesterol

Peanut Butter for Heart Health

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends choosing healthy fats like peanut butter, and advises stirring in the oil that collects at the top of natural peanut butter rather than pouring it off.  

Peanut butter is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Research shows that peanut butter raises good cholesterol, while not causing weight gain or increasing bad cholesterol.


Peanut Butter Promotes Weight Maintenance

Peanut Butter and Weight Loss

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Weight gain is attributed to consuming too many overall calories throughout the day and not burning them off with enough physical activity—not necessarily from eating peanut butter.

However, it's still important to monitor your portion sizes when it comes to peanut butter to maintain your optimal weight.

Studies indicate a serving of peanut butter helps with satiety (feeling satisfied). Peanuts don't appear to cause weight gain when a part of a balanced diet, making them a good food for weight maintenance.

11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Peanut Board. Why World-Class Athletes Rely on Peanut Butter.

  2. Banafsheh Jafari Azad, Elnaz Daneshzad & Leila Azadbakht. Peanut and cardiovascular disease risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysisCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 60:7, 1123-1140, 2020 doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1558395

  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What You Need to Know about Food Allergies.

  4. Cannon HE. The Economic Impact of Peanut Allergies. Am J Manag Care. 2018;24:-S0. 

  5. The Peanut Institute. Peanut Vitamins & Minerals: Micronutrients.

  6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Peanut Butter.

  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Peanuts.

  8. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Protein in diet.

  9. Kerksick, C.M., Wilborn, C.D., Roberts, M.D. et al. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendationsJ Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 38 (2018). doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y

  10. Gordon B. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Choose Healthy Fats.

  11. Johnston CS, Trier CM, Fleming KR. The effect of peanut and grain bar preloads on postmeal satiety, glycemia, and weight loss in healthy individuals: an acute and a chronic randomized intervention trial. Nutr J. 2013;12:35. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-35

By Darla Leal
Darla Leal is a Master Fitness Trainer, freelance writer, and the creator of Stay Healthy Fitness, where she embraces a "fit-over-55" lifestyle.