Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on nuts. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Soymilk: shake it up!,  Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, and  NutritionFacts.org: the first month.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=676800493 Benjamin Stone

    With a n6:n3 ratio of in excess of 4000:1, I will pass on peanut butter. Better idea to make homemade nut butter, adding flax to help balance n6:n3 ratio to less than 4:1 or better.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I don’t believe the ratio is that high. According to the latest USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference entry the ratio is about 180, still high, but could certainly still fit into one’s diet without unduly crowding Δ6desaturase. Love your idea about making your own, though! Ooh, I bet walnut butter would be yummy, How do you do it? I’ve seen industrial-scale grinders in supermarkets but didn’t know there were kitchen-sized versions.

      • albert

        Vitamix or Blendtec are the answer. There are many cool YouTube videos of people blending peanuts into butter in just few minutes. Those machines can grind almost anything… (and the warranty is 7 years – so they must be pretty durable). Unfortunately they are not sold where I currently reside. But such a blender is definitely vegan’s best friend (right next to kale and spinach).

        PS: still I’m a bit uncomfortable regarding 7% of sat fats in peanuts. not that I’m going to stop eating them :)

        • nearly green

          Not easily. Have a Vitamix and only got almond flour after 5 min plus constant pushing with plunger. Have since gotten a Magimix food processor and nut butter is as easy as pie. However machine get very warm as it has to run about 10 min.

          • albert

            Well, it could be that almonds structure is harder, and also roasting makes a big difference – at least it does with sesame seeds – I only made tahini with my 800 W blender (pretty painless experience it was). In any case I decided to go more easy on fats – just having ground flax. I definitely feel great – high energy, substantially cleaner face skin. I start my day with fruits (apple-banana-berries smoothie being first meal) and then lowering glycemic index throughout the day towards beans for my dinner and having bananas/dates as snacks whenever I want and/or need an energy boost. Smth of 80-10-10 / McDougal combo. Those fruitarians are onto something I strongly feel… :)

      • Easy Aspi

        :) cagey answer

    • Easy Aspi

      Unless you have unlimited time on your hands and nothing else to do, do it. Otherwise it’s rather absurd. Just go buy Skippy and skip it.

      • NotRappaport

        SKIPPY INGREDIENTS: ROASTED PEANUTS, SUGAR, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (COTTONSEED, SOYBEAN AND RAPESEED) TO PREVENT SEPARATION, SALT

        LOW-FAT SKIPPY INGREDIENTS: ROASTED PEANUTS, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, SUGAR, SOY PROTEIN,
        SALT, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (COTTONSEED, SOYBEAN AND RAPESEED) TO
        PREVENT SEPARATION, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, MINERALS (MAGNESIUM OXIDE,
        ZINC OXIDE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, COPPER SULFATE), VITAMINS
        (NIACINAMIDE, PYRIDOXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ADIC).

        I prefer that my peanut butter be made of, you know, peanuts. It doesn’t need anything else.

        • Julien Brown

          Not to happy about the rapeseed.
          But on a serious note, there is 100% pure peanut butter on most store shelves now. Just remember to refrigerate after opening. Of course, nothing will beat freshly made.

    • barbarabrussels

      Cronometer.com gives these values for one tbsp of peanut butter: Omega-30.0g 1% of daily target
      Omega-62.2g 18% of daily target
      I think if you eat 2 tbsp of flaxseed per day, you really don’t need to worry about eat a few more tbsp of peanut butter.

      • barbarabrussels

        Sorry, I forgot to type a space between the numbers there. For clarity’s sake:
        Omega-3 0.0g 1%
        Omega-6 2.2g 18%
        (ps Omega-3 is not zero grams of course, but rounded to the nearest tenth)

  • Eric Needs

    food processor would probably get the job done.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Good thinkin’! I tried it and all I got was walnut mush :( Maybe I just need a better machine.

      • Eric Needs

        Go for it! Then post a video. Lol

        • Michael Greger M.D.

          Don’t tempt me! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1047747197 Lisa O’Neill

    The “China Study”s author claims some peanut butter is made from moldy peanuts, and the mold contains a carcinogen. Do you know anything about this?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      That used to indeed be the case back when (the great!) Professor Campbell was working on aflatoxin 43 years ago, but it’s not something we need worry about any more in the developed world. If however, you’re vacationing in the Sudan, BYOPB :)

    • Easy Aspi

      I ain’t dead yet, aside from some diarrhea from too many of these snacks a day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1044983008 Lachicavegana Comefrutas

    But didn’t the cancer only get turned on, from aflatoxin, with animal protein? And what if you did eat moldy peanuts? Does the aflatoxin stay in your system or does it leave eventually if you don’t continue eating it. I ate some peanuts in argentina, and they keep them in big bags, in the fruit shops, in bulk. They seemed dusty, and not crisp, and some had some blackish kind of dust and some kind of webs on outside. Am I doomed?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Gross! The carcinogenic effects of aflatoxin are dose-dependent, though, so a one-time dose (if that’s even what you got) is unlikely to lead to any problems.

    • Easy Aspi

      Worrying about this baloney will give you a heart attack or stroke before you die from a peanut butter sandwich.

      There is nothing as uncommon as common sense for health food nuts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.zdrojewski Mary Zdrojewski

    I had been eating a “peanut butter” that was made from defatted peanuts. Would I still get the benefits? Or am I better off going back to regular peanut butter. (By the way, isn’t it annoying that they add trans fats to the cheap brands of peanut butter? I mean, they have their own oil already!)

    Also, can I assume that this likely translates to other nut butters. I usually eat almond butter instead.

    • walfaro

      Reduced or defatted nut spreads are typically produced by increasing the protein-containing solids and decreasing or removing the level of oils. From a nutritional perspective this will lead to fat soluble nutrient losses. Most importantly you will be missing the mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids that will contribute to health benefits http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/288/20/2554.short

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1003758460 Kaye Carpenter

    I sometimes make a little walnut butter in my coffee grinder. Then I add a medule
    or bahari date and some ground flax for a serotonin lift. An adaption of a recipe in Dr. Nedley’s book Depression the Way Out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phillips.john John Phillips

    Hey, Dr. G! Long time no see. Love the site. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Question: what do you think of the advice to (mostly) avoid PB because of acrylamide content? I’ve tried raw PB and am not a fan. Hope you’re well, john

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002451618281 Connie Hobbs-Sunday

    Make your own: get a food processor ($30 at Walmart), and dry, roasted (unsalted) peanuts. You can then add cashews, Truvia, and use a bit of peanut oil. Much better for you, and you know what’s in it.

  • GregV

    I have been able to quit all animal products except butter. I have heard about alternatives like; Earth Balance and Smart Balance Organic Spread Whipped. I was wondering what you use as a butter replacement?

    • NickyC

      Hi GregV,

      That’s great to hear about you quitting animal products…congrats! I’m glad that you recognize that butter should also be eliminated. It too is tied to a host of degenerative diseases. As seen in this video, all fats of animal origin are directly tied to an increase risk of Pancreatic Cancer (http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/largest-study-ever/). The study, however, did not show the same correlation with any fats of plant origin.
      So to directly answer your question, Earth Balance and Organic Smart Balance are good substitutes for butter, as they are derived from plant oils, and do not use partially hydrogenated oils (the bad guys behind trans fat). Please make sure to double-check the ingredients of other brands out there, to make sure there are no trans-fatty acids (or hydrogenated oils). As discussed in this other video, these fats are “the killer” fats (http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great-bad-killer-fats/), and should be completely avoided. If you are cooking, you can also use a small amount olive or canola oil.
      That said, I should point out, that all processed fats, even the oils and butter substitutes I just mentioned, should be minimized or eliminated, to help decrease your risks of degenerative diseases (and empty calories).

  • Chelsea

    GregV: Good for you for quitting animal products! Butter is not an easily replaced food, as it’s basically saturated fat and dairy, and should be avoided. The best thing you could do for your diet is to ditch butter and butter substitutes altogether and get your healthy fats from whole foods like nuts and flax!

    Unfortunately, even artificial butter flavor should be avoided; see this video to learn more: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/is-artificial-butter-flavor-harmful/

  • http://www.facebook.com/idan.hollander Idan Hollander

    Got a question : How is it that peanut butter reduces heart disease if it has such high saturated fat content and saturated fat is positively related to heart disease ? Does this mean saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease?

    • Toxins

      Idan this is a great question!

      Although all nuts contain saturated fats, the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat far outweighs the affect of the saturated fat. What these other unsaturated fats do, is actually perform an exchange system in your intestines, pulling out the bad fat from your body and putting in this good fat. Its really an interesting process! I encourage you to view this video about fats http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great-bad-killer-fats/ as well as this video about the heat healthy benefits of nuts http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/halving-heart-attack-risk/ as well as the essential value that the fat in nuts and seeds provide for proper nutrient absorption http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/forego-fat-free-dressings/

      • tbarron

        So is the bottom line that peanut butter is good for you despite the saturated fat content?

        • Toxins

          It is recommended by doctors such as Jeff Novick that an ounce per day of nuts (particularly walnuts) can prove to be healthful. Exceeding this limit may result in too much unnecessary saturated fat. Too much of anything is bad and “too much” of a nut is quite easy to overdo. You will notice too in most of the nut studies, like this one for example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2683001/ that positive affects were shown with an ounce of nuts. Jeff Novick speaks more on the topic, view this link here for more, scroll down to Jeff N’s post. http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6067&start=15

      • tbarron

        Or is it that health outcomes improve when really bad foods (oils, refined products, etc.) are replaced with somewhat better foods (eg., peanut butter), but that health outcomes could be even better with no saturated fat consumption at all?

        • Toxins

          It is true, saturated fat is completely nonessential to our diet and is only one that brings about harm. It is nearly impossible though to find a fat source without having along with it, saturated fat. If you are looking for one, nuts would be your answer like you mentioned. But remember, an ounce per day is all you need for the benefits. More is not beneficial.

          I posed this question to Jeff Novick regarding nutrient absorption when it comes to eating nuts with foods. His response was interesting. I posted it below. Make of it what you will.
          _______________________________________________

          Absorbing more doesn’t automatically equate to better health outcomes.

          Speaking of health outcomes, which is what really matters, lets put all of this into proper perspective.

          From

          “‘Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids’, Food and Nutrition Board. Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press, Washington D.C. Pp. 343-344 (2000)”

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=353

          “These data, although in varying populations, suggest that 3 to 6 mg/day of β-carotene from food sources is prudent to maintain plasma β-carotene concentrations in the range associated with a lower risk of various chronic disease outcomes (see Table 3).”

          Table 3:

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=341

          As just detailed, plasma and tissue concentrations of carotenoids have been associated with a variety of health outcomes; that is, higher concentrations are associated with a lower risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality. This could be used as a possible indicator for establishing requirements for carotenoids. However, the limitation of this approach is that it is not clear whether observed health benefits are due to carotenoids per se or to other substances found in carotenoid-rich foods.

          Thus, these data are suggestive of prudent intake levels, not required levels of intake. Recommendations have been made by a number of federal agencies and other organizations with regard to fruit and vegetable intake. Nutrient analysis of menus adhering to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the National Cancer Institute’s Five-a-Day for Better Health Program, for example, indicates that persons following these diets would be consuming approximately 5.2 to 6.0 mg/day provitamin A carotenes on average if a variety of fruits and vegetables were consumed (Lachance, 1997). Similar levels would be obtained by following Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating which specifies a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruit (Health Canada, 1997). Other food-based dietary patterns recommended for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases would provide approximately 9 to 18 mg/day of carotenoids (WCRF/AICR, 1997).

          NOTE: this is 3-6x the amount recognized as being enough to lower disease risk

          It is also based on the WCRF/AICR report from 1997. In many other discussions here, I have quoted the WCRF/AICR newest report from 2007 saying that they now more than ever, recommend dietary “patterns” over recommending specific “individual foods”.

          So, in other words, if Americans would just get in the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies, it would not only provide carotenoids, but more than enough of all of them to produce the beneficial health outcomes, including reduced risks of cancer. And anyone following a Whole Food plant based diet, as recommended here, would already be consuming WAY more than enough.

          Of course, the real issue is why do you have to increase the absorption of raw veggies (which are very low) when you can just eat tubers, which have almost the highest absorption rate, as is. :)

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=354

          In Health
          Jeff

  • orengabay

    Is there any health concern related to eating raw peanuts? I found articles that says that there is a toxin that is removed when roasting the peanuts.
    Is there a difference between eating it with the peel or without?
    Thanks!

    • DrDons

      As Dr.Greger remarked earlier on this post…eating peanuts in the developed world should not be a problem. Roasting peanuts does remove the fungus that produces the aflatoxin but the toxin itself is heat stable. Well stored fresh peanuts shouldn’t be a problem with or without the skin.

  • chewy

    is 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed the healthiest nut/seed choice to eat?is there a need/requirement for eating any nuts/seeds as a strict low fat vegan diet follower(mcdougall)

    • Toxins

      Nuts and seeds are nonessential for a low fat vegan diet. Flax seed, chia seeds and English walnuts are the healthiest seeds/nuts to consume, and Jeff Novick, an advocate of the McDougall program, would agree with that statement. 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed is extremely healthy and is low in saturated fat.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/just-the-flax-maam/

  • Rosaura

    Do Peanut butter increase the cholesterol level?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaikailash Stefano Esposito

    I think we should also consider which kind of peanut butter we are buying. I see that most of them are made from peanuts with vegetables oil and other things added which makes no sense other than save money! So my advice is to look for a real peanut butter, here in Norway I can find a butter made from 99.3% organic peanuts and 0.7% salt, the taste is great.

    Dr. Greger, could it be interesting to make a video with a comparison of all nuts-butters, in particular with the n3:n6 ratio? Thanks :)

    • BF1706

      I agree with Stefano – why replace the natural peanut oil with some other oil like Palm Oil ?? – here on the East Coast US there are at least 3 that are made with just (only) peanuts: Trader Joes, Crazy Richard’s, and Smuckers..crunchy or smooth…the Smuckers also with salt if you must…
      The organic i haven’t seen but probably better still..

      • NotRappaport

        I grind my own in the supermarket. Ingredients: nothing but dry-roasted peanuts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.halbin Michelle Lee

    According to this, peanuts contain an astounding 4448 to 1 ratio of Omegas 6 to 3. So has this study been refuted? If you discover new findings, I would love to see a post!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SF8wVQsCwc

  • Becky

    Doesn’t roasting nuts higher than 117 degrees create toxins or free radicals?

    • Toxins

       Advanced Glycation  End-products are considered toxic molecules
      formed by heating foods and are thought to increase the risk and
      severity of many diseases including the metabolic syndrome,
      atherosclerosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cancer. AGE’s are
      also thought to contribute to diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy,
      diabetic nephropathy and aging. Starches have been criticized for this
      toxin. Yes over cooking starches appears to produce AGE’s but let look
      at it in perspective with other foods.

      AGE Amounts In Food (per serving)

      Starchy vegetables

      Corn, 20
      Sweet potato, roasted, 72
      White potato, boiled, 17
      White potato, french fries, homemade, 694
      White potato, french fries, fast food, 1,522
      White potato, roasted, 45 min, prepared with 5 mL oil, 218

      Grains/legumes/Cereals

      Bean, red kidney, raw, 116
      Bean, red kidney, canned, 191
      Bean, red kidney, cooked, 1 h, 298
      Pasta, cooked 8 min, 112
      Bran Flakes, 10
      Corn Flakes, 70
      Frosted Flakes, 128
      Oatmeal, dry, instant, 4
      Oatmeal, cooked, instant 25

      Bread

      Whole wheat, center, 16
      Whole wheat, center toasted, 25
      Whole wheat, crust, 22
      Whole wheat, crust, toasted, 36
      Pita pocket, 16

      Fruits

      Apple 13
      Apple, baked, 45
      Banana, 9
      Cantaloupe, 20
      Raisins, 36

      High Fat Plant Foods

      Almonds, roasted, 1,995
      Avocado, 473
      Cashews, roasted 2,942
      Olive, ripe 501
      Peanut butter, smooth 2,255
      Walnuts, roasted 2,366

      High Fat Animal Products

      Cream cheese, 3,265
      Mayonnaise, 9,470
      Butter, 1,324

      Beef

      Frankfurter, boiled 7 min, 6,736
      Frankfurter, broiled 5 min, 10,143
      Hamburger, fried 6 min, 2,375
      Hamburger, fast food, 4,876
      Meatball, boiled in sauce, 2,567
      Shoulder cut, broiled, 5,367
      Bacon, microwave, 1,173
      Deli ham, smoked, 2,114
      Pork chop, pan fried, 4,277

      Chicken breast, skinless cubes

      Steamed 10 min and broiled 12 min, 5,071
      Pan fried 10 min and boiled 12 min, 5,706

      Chicken breast, skinless cutlet

      Raw, 692
      Boiled 1 h, 1,011
      Broiled 15 min, 5,245
      Fried 8 min, 6,651
      Roasted, barbecue sauce, 4,291
      Roasted, breaded, 4,102
      Roasted, breaded, microwave, 1 min, 5,157

      Fish

      Salmon, raw, 502
      Salmon, smoked, 515
      Trout, raw, 705
      Trout, roasted 25 min, 1,924

      Cheese

      American, processed, 2,603
      American, processed, low fat, 1,425
      Brie, 1,679
      Cottage cheese, 1,744
      Feta 2,527
      Mozzarella, part skim, 503
      Parmesan, grated, 2,535

      http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/1/6/1293.full
      http://missclasses.com/mp3s/Prize%20CD%202010/Cooking/sdarticle.pdf

      (Information prov

  • Matthew Ciuccio

    Phew. I am really glad it has the green light. 

  • botkins24

    Is the Palm Fruit Oil that Skippy puts in its Natural Peanut Butter safe to eat? I read that it raises cholesterol, but perhaps this is Palm Kernel Oil that I read about.

    • Jacquie RN

      The best option – use PB without added oils just good ole peanuts. Added oils just add saturated fat: Palm Kernel oil is 83% saturated fat while Palm Fruit
      Oil is 51% saturated fat. When you see the words ʺpalm oilʺ on a food label, what you are probably eating is palm kernel. You may want to view the following video discussing saturated fats: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/trans-fat-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-tolerable-upper-intake-of-zero/

      • botkins24

        Thanks. I’ll try to find a organic peanut butter that taste good. This is what Skippy has on their website:

        Skippy® Natural uses palm oil, that is extracted from the pulp of the palm fruit, then continues through several non-chemical processing steps. Skippy® Natural does not use palm kernel oil that is derived from the seed of the palm fruit, which is extremely high in saturated fat.By U.S. FDA definition, ALL Skippy® peanut butter is trans-fat free. In 2008 Unilever announced that it will make a shift to using sustainable palm oil, as soon as the first supplies become available.This major initiative is one that will have a significant impact, not just on climate change but also on the sustainability of the rainforest.Unilever’s intention is to move to 100% certified, sustainable palm oil by 2015, and we will also support an immediate moratorium on any further deforestation in Indonesia linked to palm oil cultivation.

  • albert

    every time I hear Nurses Health Study I think of prof.Campbell’s critique (of scientific reductionism in methodology). Are new NH Studies better in that regard? Or probably this methodology doesn’t hurt in this particular observation?

  • https://plus.google.com/114761858940151784318/about ahmed thobaiti

    Is there any specific kind of ingredient that we should look out for when we are planning to purchase Peanut butter from commercially different products ?

    Is there any limitation on the amount ?

  • Elton Toledo

    DOES TO MUCH PEANUT BUTTER OR ANY NUT BUTTER MAKE YOU FAT !!!! ?

  • Liz

    Im so glad :< I love peanut butter on toast, Ive been eating plain toast :(

  • Gabrielle

    Is there really rodent hair in peanut butter from stores?

  • mads

    Hi there
    I was wondering if you could provide any info on the problem that a lot of peanut butter (and peanuts) being contaminated with the aflatoxin fungi which is a known carcinogen and used for switching on tumor growth in lab experiments.
    Thank you

  • Richard

    Which is the better ‘butter, conventional or organic? Does one have less aflatoxin than the other?

  • narrative

    Looking for a video on Palm Oil and it’s detrimental effects ?

  • iftah weiss roi

    Is peanut still healthy even though the nuts are roasted?

  • Lauren

    Wondering what you guys think about PB2. Because it is defatted peanut powder it mixes more readily in shakes, oatmeal, etc. but does the processing make it less healthy in some way?