Peanut butterWho doesn’t love peanut butter!? Minus those unfortunate individuals with nut allergies who do not get to experience its creamy greatness (my sincere apologies), I’ve never met a single soul who doesn’t love consuming this wonderful concoction, even my dog. Thanks, George Washington Carver!

Some of the fun facts about peanut butter: it is packed with protein and has been shown to decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes.

The not-so-fun facts about peanut butter:

  1. Peanuts are actually legumes and unlike nuts (which have hard shells) have soft, porous shells, which contaminants (fertilizers, pesticides and molds) can permeate and reach the peanut itself. Like all nuts, due to the high fat content of peanuts, they act as little sponges and soak those pesticides right up.
  2. In the US, more than 99% of peanut farms use conventional farming practices including the use of fungicide, as mold is a common affliction among peanut crops.
  3. The carcinogen aflatoxin is produced by naturally occurring fungus in the soil where foods like peanuts are grown. Natural peanut butters may contain more aflatoxin than commercially processed brands since fungicide is not used in their production.

What these facts mean for you: they should not discourage you from buying organic peanut butter. In fact, you should buy organic peanut butter to avoid pesticides (which permeate the porous shells). However, please remember to always refrigerate your peanut butter to prevent aflatoxin from growing. Fortunately, all commercially produced peanut butters – both organic and non-organic – must be tested for aflatoxin levels.

I am going to stick with my organic peanut butter and be conscious about keeping it refrigerated  and may try to start using almond butter as a substitute more often. (On a side note, I also like a buy peanut butter in a glass jar to avoid chemicals in plastics. I’m sure this is no surprise!) However, if you are particularly concerned about aflatoxins consider buying Arrowhead Mills Organic Peanut Butter, which claims to be completely aflatoxin-free.