We don’t know about you, but we find ourselves reaching for that jar of peanut butter several times a week! We use it in classic PB&J sandwiches, decadent bars, and even burritos– that’s right, burritos! Yep, it sure is a versatile ingredient, but how often have you thought about how the nutty stuff affects your body?

As it turns out, peanut butter is a bit of a double-edged sword; on one hand, it contains super healthy nutrients in small, convenient, and super yummy servings, but it’s also a food that doesn’t gel well with all people. Simply put, it’s a spread that comes with a fair amount of good AND bad side effects. Here are some of the most surprising things peanut butter can do to your body…

  1. It can give your diet a boost

    Not so breaking news: peanut butter fills you up! The creamy and crunchy stuff is jam-packed with fiber and protein (2 grams and 8 grams, respectively), two things that give you energy, help your digestion, and keep you fuller for longer. So, the next time you have a snack attack, reach for a spoonful of peanut butter instead of chips— it’s more satisfying and much more nutritious!

  2. But, it could make you gain weight too

    It’s fair to say that most of us are focused on either losing or maintaining weight, but for those of you out there who are trying to gain weight, incorporating a tablespoon of peanut butter to a six-meal-a-day diet could help you pack on the pounds fast.

    Now, if you are trying to avoid the extra lbs., just make sure that you limit your intake to one serving several times a week— and always measure the peanut butter out carefully so that you don’t end up overeating the stuff. (It’s an easy thing to do— trust us!)

  3. It could help reduce the risk of heart attack

    Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly eat nuts— that includes peanut butter— are less likely to develop heart disease. As a bonus, it can also reduce the risk of diabetes. Score!

  4. It gives you a surge of energy

    We all know that peanut butter is chock-full of protein and “good fats,” but did you know that it is also high in B vitamins? In fact, peanut butter has more niacin—a B vitamin that is elemental in boosting energy levels— than a serving of chicken. Impressive!

  5. It could reduce peanut allergies in your baby

    All expectant mommies, listen up— munching on peanut butter five times a week could reduce the chances of your baby developing a tree nut allergy. Eating peanut butter that often might seem like overkill, but it sure can have a positive effect on the life of your little one!

  6. It could keep you sharp

    Peanut butter isn’t just good for your bod, it’s also good for your mind. This is because the nutty stuff is packed with Vitamin E, a nutrient that has been shown to preserve cognitive performance as you get older. Eating a significant amount could also even prevent or delay Alzheimer’s in at-risk populations. Amazing!

  7. It could make you bloated

    One of the more uncomfortable side effects that comes with eating peanut butter is bloating. It happens because peanut butter is devoid of omega-3s, the good stuff that helps to reduce inflammation. So, if bloating is an issue for you, look for brands that fortify their peanut butter with omega-3s!

  8. It’s not all created equal

    We’ve established that peanut butter is very beneficial to your overall health, but that doesn’t mean every variety of the ooey-gooey stuff is good for you. You see, there are plenty of kinds on the market that add sugar, sodium, and even monounsaturated fat to the spread, so be sure to study the nutrition facts closely. As a general rule of thumb, peanut butter jars with “natural” labels are the healthier kinds!

  9. It could make you break-out

    If you suffer from hormonal acne, peanuts, which are high in androgens, might not be helping the situation. Consuming too many androgens can make your imbalanced hormone levels even worse, something that can lead to more acne, or worse, polycystic ovarian syndrome. Definitely something to talk to your doctor about during your next visit!

Who knew that peanut butter can be both your friend, as well as your enemy? Have you ever suffered any negative side effects from eating peanut butter? If so, what were they? Do you prefer other types of nut butter to peanut butter?