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Health November 2017

Eat Right Now

Back Away from the PB Jar!

By Wendell Fowler

Today, we live in an era of surfacing truths that reveal many of the “wholesome” foods we’ve grown to love, aren’t so wholesome. Most people eat too many omega 6s, which peanut butter is loaded with, and too few omega 3s which peanut butter lacks completely.

Do you tiptoe into the kitchen in the dark of night when everyone is in bed and eat Skippy's out of the jar with a spoon? Introduced to the world at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, the peanut butter we spread on PBJ’s, apples, banana sammies, and ants on a log, holds a top position in the pantheon of American classics. Well, here’s some facts you may not know about your old friend.

Sacred to our food culture, peanut butter is a comfort food associated with happy childhood memories. Many of us grew up with a comic book in one hand and a peanut butter and grape jelly on white bread sandwich in the other. Today, we live in an era of surfacing truths that reveal many of the “wholesome” foods we’ve grown to love, aren’t so wholesome. Most people eat too many omega 6s, which peanut butter is loaded with, and too few omega 3s which peanut butter lacks completely.

It’s not a coincidence Americans consume the most peanut butter (PB) and have the world’s highest rates of heart disease and stroke.  PB and the entire American diet, is top-heavy in refined oils that contain healthy omega 6 oils, but are deficient in omega 3. The American heart Association says omega 3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Bottom line: consuming too many omega 6s and not enough omega 3s can cause heart disease.

Excessive omega 6 in the American diet, also promotes inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis). When you read labels, you’ll find potato and corn chips, candy bars, cookies, cakes, pastries and muffins, cookies, salad dressings, and fast foods are loaded with refined omega 6 oils: grape seed, sunflower, corn and soybean oils, shortening, wheat germ, and margarine. Peanuts contain lectins – sticky proteins that strip away mucous from the small intestine and one of the main cause of many autoimmune diseases.

You see, omega 6 is only beneficial for our bodies if the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 is 3 :1. In America, it’s more like 20 to 1 and that’s problematic. It’s okay to eat PB for goodness sake, but you need to bridge this gap somehow.

A loaf of bread with a small amount of fiber-packed chia seeds and whole, unground flax seeds that contain omega 3s, is not a good source. Flax seeds must be ground up to release their omega 3. Whole chia seed is fine. At home, we sprinkle protein-rich chia or ground flax onto our meals and into our daily smoothie.

Foods provided by nature that possess abundant omega 3 include: wild salmon, sablefish, sardines, organic soybeans, walnuts and oil, chia, hemp, flax seeds and oil, and reputable supplements. Pharmaceutical omega 3 supplements, not so much.  Pharmaceutical-grade fish oil in groceries is often used by fish oil marketers trying to make you believe the fish oil they sell/promote is more beneficial to your health. Most of their argued benefits are merely a distraction from what is really significant – purity.

Back to heart disease: Freshly ground peanuts can be healthy, but jar brands have added salt, sugar, and cottonseed, canola, and hydrogenated oils: Trans fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of heart disease or stroke. Scientists and health professionals believe trans fats are so dangerous they should be banned from the food supply. Book ‘em, Danno!

A sweet gentleman I once knew, struggled with heart disease — just couldn’t catch a break. Defeated, unable to get it under control, he would defend, “My cardiologist said peanut butter is healthy. So, I eat about half a jar of a brand name peanut butter each night.” Stunned, then heartbroken… I said to myself – nothing is further from the truth.  He’s gone now.

There should be just two ingredients: peanuts and salt.  However, peanuts, for your dining information, are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.  If you eat peanut butter, buy organic. Grind it at the store from the machine, or buy some bulk roasted peanuts use your home food processor and make fresh PB. If you’ve always eaten PB from a jar, you are in for an authentic, healthy-in-moderation All-American treat.

 

Chef Wendell hosts Eat Right Now on WISH TV 8 CBS Indianapolis. He can be reached at 317-372-2592 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .Visit his website at Chefwendell.com.

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