Monday, January 11, 2010

Reduced Fat, Or Regular?

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Here are some updates since last time:

- We saw Avatar! Nick and I had not been to the movies (we figured out) in over a year. We felt like old people who had just crawled out from under a cave. We bought snacks (yeah, I had a small popcorn) and even with our 25 dollar gift card we still paid 8 dollars of our own money!! No wonder we never go to the movies. Either way, the movie was fantastic. It was long, but very good.

- Nick's birthday is tomorrow, but we are celebrating tonight with a buffalo style pizza and carrot cake. I'm making the pizza, but I bought the carrot cake from the bakery across the street. I didn't want a full cake in the apartment, so I just bought a
piece for us to share (it's HUGE though, so it may as well be an entire cake!). We are then continuing the celebration this weekend, with his family. Lots of birthday cake this month!

Gina's Random Nutrition and Health Tidbit

Peanut Butter; Reduced Fat vs. Regular

  • Trying to maintain a healthy weight? Trying to be healthier in general? Buy the reduced fat peanut butter! Or, maybe not. Many clients tell me that they have switched to reduced fat peanut butter in an effort to loose weight or just be healthier. Let's take a look at the nutrition facts for both kinds:
Regular, JIF, Creamy
Reduced Fat, JIF, Creamy
  • If you look at the two of these, what do you notice? The reduced fat has the same amount of calories, and it's really calories that you need to watch when attempting to lose/maintain weight, right? Also the reduced fat PB has about 4 grams less fat. But does that make it better? Peanuts contain healthy polyunsaturated fats, so in my opinion the 4 grams less fat isn't so great. The reduced fat peanut butter has only .5 grams less saturated fat, which is actually the fat we want to stay away from. They both have partially hydrogenated oils, which is why I generally choose natural peanut butter.
JIF, All Natural

  • Notice anything else about the reduced fat vs. the regular PB? The reduced fat has more carbohydrates and sugar. Both sugar and carbohydrates aren't going to help anyone with their weight loss/maintenance efforts, nor will they help anyone trying to get healthier.
  • Oh yeah, one more thing, check out the sodium! There is more sodium (100 mg more) in the reduced fat peanut butter, HA! In my opinion, for a healthy diet, and for healthy weight control efforts, the regular peanut butter is superior to the reduced fat. And, it tastes better :)
The above pictures were from the JIF website

Here is my favorite peanut butter.

Smart Balance came out with a "Great New Tasting!" peanut butter. It no longer tastes and smells like fish! This peanut butter is all natural, and has 20% of the Daily Value of Omega-3 (in the form of ALA) fats.

Coming Up
First I'd like to announce a Tea Exchange being organized by Special K. If you are a tea lover, check it out!

Today I am working, then planning our evening of fun tonight. Basically by fun I mean lots of yummy birthday food, and The Bachelor :). Nick loves the show. How could he not? There are a bunch of "hot" girls running around half-naked all the time. Remember to tell your spouse that if they refuse to watch the show, it may help.
Stay tuned for my next post, which will include a new dinner, a new supplement, and of course some pictures of tonight's delicious eats!
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.


  1. Happy Birthda, Nick! The brownies look yummy. I've been craving a warm brownie with ice cream. Have you seen King Corn?

    Have a great Monday and a great time celebrating with Nick.

  2. I've never tried that Smart Balance peanut butter but have eyed it up. Happy Bday to Nick! :)

  3. That's such a smart idea to just buy a piece of bday cake intead of the whole cake. My hub and I definitely don't need a whole cake in our house either! I'll have to remember that when birthdays roll around.

    Those brownies look divine! So moist!

  4. Sorry, I'm not sure if you've addressed this before, but could you please write a post of your thoughts on the raw food diet? It's so easy to get bombarded by one-sided perspectives about it!

  5. I love this post! I've never had reduced fat PB, and don't plan on it. That brownie looks SOOO good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts today :)

  6. AMEN girl!! might as well go for the far. those brownies look awesome! HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK! :) so glad yall liked avatar!

  7. The brownies look amazing!

    I just stumbled upon your blog via Fit Chick in the City, and I love it. I wish I'd been interested in nutrition when I was in college so I could have pursued the field, too.

  8. Happy Birthday to Nick!! Sounds like a wonderful celebration, and an amazing pizza - Nick is a lucky guy, as always! :-)

    Your brownies look SO dreamy!! My mom is wheat intolerant, so I'm excited to be able to tell her about the brownie mix!

    Thank you SO much for addressing the PB debate! I've been wondering about the "reduced fat" PB for a while, but you explained so clearly why the natural PB is better that I'm very relieved and excited to be able to continue with our beloved natural PBs! :-) I'm also excited to hear that the Smart Balance PB doesn't taste like fish anymore - I can't wait to try it out! Thank you again for the awesome advice!

  9. Happy Birthday Nick!

    I eat full fat PB, but I stay away from brands like Jif and Skippy because they're full of sugar and other additives. I prefer the all natural brands.

  10. nice going with the carrot cake! i'll have to remember that the next time i want a treat like that..

    lol about the reduced fat PB- i was looking at the nutrition facts going, hmmm will she bring up the sodium!?! you did! : )

  11. i always noticed taht RF peabut butter has more sodium and higher CHO content! I thought it was bizarre that it was still considered reduced fat! whichI guess it is, but worse in other areas!

    I go for the all natural way!!

  12. Glad you got to see Avatar...I also thought it was long, but a wonderful movie! I don't usually eat Jiff, but I have tried the low fat kind, and it's not nearly as good. It's a shame that the low fat versions of items are often pumped with more sugar or salt to make up for the fat. I haven't tried Smart Balance peanut butter, maybe I'll give it a shot. Loveee PB. I've tried a flax version before, and I definitely found it a little fishy or off, so it's good to hear Smart Balance isn't exactly like this. Good choice on cake. If I'm not eating some chocolate dessert, I definitely go for carrot cake!

  13. My concern is always always always the ingredient list. In any kind of regular peanut butter, there's hydrogentated oils and weird chemical additives. That's what's so good about the all-natural stuff! Preferably without any added salts or sugar, but even if it's got a bit of added salt and sugar, it's WAY better than hydrogenated oils and unknown ingredients.

    Enjoy the celebrations!

  14. you are so knowledgeable gina! i love it :) & i completely agree- i feel lik reduced fat peanut butter is like a stupid remainder from the "no fat" diet fads in the nineties lol. i would never get reduced fat over the regular fat.
    thanks for the info :)
    glad you liked avatar and carrot cake is so great.. i'm sure nick will love it!


  15. I agree that sometimes reduced fat options aren't always better.
    Those brownies look amazing! I wish I could eat one right now..haha.
    Have fun tonight!!

  16. awesome! Im so glad you liked Avatar. Its so good! I totally agree with your PB facts too. I just buy the regular all natural kind. Too much sugar and sodium (which are two thing I try to avoid). For me nut butters have healthy fats and as long as you just keep the rest of your day in check its all good! Great info. THanks so much. I love coming to your site and learning all sorts of cool stuff!

    Those brownies look fantastic too!

    Oh about the zucchini noodles, I actually make them using a spiralizer that I got from amazon. I can send ya the link to the one I have if ya want! Its easy to use and you can put pretty much anything through it. Pretty neat!
    Have a great Monday sweetie!!!

  17. I agree on the PB thing! I always buy regular :)

    Happy B-Day to Nick :)

  18. I'll be picking up those brownies next time I need a brownie fix!

    I don't buy reduced fat pb. But I have been experimenting with lower calorie choices. I love Better n' Peanut Butter and I also love PB2. Not exactly like the real thing (and there's nothing wrong with the real thing...I buy that too!) but both add some peanut buttery flavor to things without so many calories.

  19. ugh I hate how corn is in practically everything!!! Can't they use anything else!?!

    OK I'm done whining now. ;)

  20. I want to try those brownies! I have recently been cutting back on gluten and I miss my sweet treats :)

  21. I love Trader Joe's pizza crust! Have you evr tried the No pudge fudge brownies fro TJ's. You just add some yogurt to the mix and bake...I haven't checked the nutritionals, but I made them awhile back and they were pretty tasty:) I also like TJ's brand of organic Peanut Butter...yay for trader joe's;)

  22. That's a great idea to just buy a slice of cake. Sometimes I hate having leftovers because it's either too unhealthy or too boring to eat the same goodies over and over.

    Jared's birthday is in February so I'll probably do that!

  23. ah! have so much fun for nick's birthday :) that carrot cake and pizza sounds like zee perfect night!

    i'm all about the naturally more peanut butter! i hope thats good on the nutritionist spectrum haha i can't imagine it not being!

  24. Totally agree- regular peanut butter all the way!!

    Happy Birthday to Nick!

    And, can't wait to see your segment, hopefully!!

  25. Happy Birthday NICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am a Jif Natural girl

  26. A huge happy birthday to your man! You are soooo smart to pick up just one piece of cake to share. Hope it's a fun celebration.

  27. Happy Birthday to Nick! Funny because my Nick's birthday is Jan. 17th! Lol. Thanks for the peanut butter info! Your brownies look delicious!

  28. I remember looking at the label on a peanut butter jar a while ago and being so surprised that it contained hydrogenated oils. I had always thought that peanut butter wouldn't have that stuff in it! Didn't know you had to actually look and make sure it was an all natural one! We recently made the switch to all natural peanut butter and it tastes so good and doesn't have any yucky ingredients in it! The all natural peanut butter may be a bit harder to stir at first, but it's worth it!

  29. wow, that's fascinating about the reduced fat vs. regular! Do you think most products are like that? You're so good - thanks for sharing this!

  30. Happy Birthday to Nick!!! Hope you have a yummy din din; I cant wait to see some pics! :)

    I used to always always buy fat free/reduced fat stuff now I wouldnt even think to do that. I seek fat out! Im all for just plain nut butter.. nothing else! Thanks for the info...

  31. happy birthday nick! sounds like a great celebration you have planned. pizza and cake is maybe the perfect meal? well, in my case, ice cream cake :)

    i always buy all natural PB...didn't even know those other kinds existed until i was way older. thank you mom for that! but yeah, it's good, healthy fats and oils...stuff your body likes & needs!

  32. Happy Birthday to Nick! Pizza & carrot cake sounds perfect!

    Great points about the reduced fat PB. That's why reading labels is so important. And I love that you keep reminding us of it...

    Have fun tonight! :)

  33. I used to buy the reduced fat all the time before I switched to natural. I just recently started watching my sodium intake - I would have never thought that the reduced fat would have higher sodium! I generally just look at the calories, fat, carbs, sugars, and protein.

  34. I also used to buy fat free or reduced fat all the time. Now I just really watch my portions and buy the regular stuff. To me it definitely isn't worth all the additives they have to add to make it reduced. Great post... as usual ;)

  35. Happy Birthday to Nick! Great comparison of RF versus regular PB. All Natural is the way to go for sure.

  36. I'm always surprised when sugar is added as an ingredient to PB! I get the natural kind and love it . . . I definitely eat PB every single day!

  37. So thankful you set out to clear up the issue of fat free or regualr. I always try to remind people to look at the calories. Ryan sometimes will go for something and I will remind him to look. My low fat ice cream has the same calories as his low sugar ice cream. Sadly, only 10 calories less than the regular. Often I buy regular and eat a smaller portion.

  38. Oh, I almost forgot...Happy Birthday to Nick!

  39. I would have never looked at the back of the label. I would have just assumed the fat free was better! I guess that is what is wrong with society!! Thank you for pointing this out!

    Happy bday to Nick!

  40. Before I discovered Natural PB, I was a Jif girl all the way. I am also a label reader so I was aware of the cals and sodium in both. Craziness! Now I eat a variety of natural PB and AB. I never ever thought I would stray from my beloved Jif.

  41. I'm not sure what to say...haha, I don't think I would be very happy if my own bf or husband liked to watch the Bachelor. Perhaps make him watch some of it and then make him turn away when any girl acts inappropriately.

    Anyway. Haha, I've been waiting for this post! Glad to see you agree with me about the reduced fat PB! Now I have a legit RD to back me up!

  42. I've been telling my husband for years not to buy the reduced fat...he finally believes me : ) GREAT information, Gina! Hope you had fun celebrating Nick's birthday!

  43. Hold up.....Trader Joe's and Gluten Free Brownies...HOLLA!!!

    Happy Birthday Nick :)

  44. Happy Birthday to Nick! I love natural peanut butter best and wouldn't dream of eating the reduced fat kind. They take the good stuff and replace it with the junk- yuck!

    I think that's the last TJ's product I have not tried so I better get on it!

    Hope you have lots of fun!

  45. I hope Nick has a very happy birthday! Enjoy the pizza and carrot cake! Haven't tried out any more ice cream yet, but I'll let you know when I do. I totally agree about the pb . . . I used to always get reduced fat, and now, I have no idea why. All the natural kinds are so much better!

  46. Have you ever tried Food Mill peanut butter? Its one of my faves!

    I try to just make my own now though....

  47. I'm definitely a regular gal. No sense in eating the fake stuff- you'll probably end up eating more of that than you would have had you gone with the regular anyways, so I find its always best to stick with what you know. :)

    I do like Better n' PB in smoothies and stuff, just for a little bit of that peanutty flavor.

  48. Yay- tell Nick we say happy birthday!!!

    That doesn't surprise me about the reduced fat PB- I think that happens with a lot of products, though I still love my low fat ice cream (edy's slow churned), so yummy!

    I hope you guys have some good eats tonight (or last night haha)

  49. I must try Smart Balance natural peanut butter! I'm adding it to my grocery list.

    I'm not afraid of healthy fats but I am afraid of unnatural nut butters! ;-)

    Have a wonderful day and save me a piece of that cake! ;-)

  50. I don't buy reduced fat anything. There good fats and bad gats in my opinion... Fat from avocado, olive oil, hemp oil, almond butter I am ok with and I am not skimming on... but fat from chips and french fries not so much...

    OOOH carrot cake... one of my favs :)

  51. Gina...PLEASE consider doing a Q & A with me about "fad diets" and what the word DIET means to you!
    Thanks for sponsoring my Tea are super supportive
    Also...I am a fan of NO PUDGE Brownies...made with yogurt...your thoughts?

  52. Avatar was great! I agree. Really interesting. And yeah RF PB is kind of a nutritional rip-off if you ask me. Besides, there shouldn't really be anything in PB besides peanuts! Unless you like sweetened/salted, that is. All those hydrogenated ingredients make it sound pretty skeevy considering nut butter ought to be one of the healthiest foods available to us.

  53. I'm a big fan of natural peanut butter! I look for brands that only include nuts (no added salt, oil, sugar, etc). I think plenty of people think they are doing themselves a favor when they go for the reduced fat kind...good job at pointing out that really isn't the case.

    Hmmm those brownies look heavenly!

  54. Happy Birthday to Nick, come on girl make your own brownies from scratch I will keep nagging ya to cook more from scratch he he he

  55. great post, thanks for the PB info! I've never tried the Smart Balance one, but I'll keep a look out the next time I go grocery shopping. Just found your blog, love it! Thank you Gina.

  56. Definitely hate low fat pb. PB is made of nuts, which are mostly fat! I think the low fat PB tastes gross, and I also don't like that the extra cals come from CHO. :-) Good post, Gina!
    Hope you and Nick enjoy the Bachelor.

  57. Gina, nice job on the PB! Brownies look fantastic, too. Glad you both had a good time at the movies.

    Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to stop by the blog on its 1-year blogoversary.

    All the best,

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