Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Losing Weight with Peanut Butter?

I've been hearing a lot about the benefits of peanut butter, the Peanut Butter Diet, and the good fats in peanut butter. Do you have an opinion about this?

Answer (Published 7/10/2002)

Updated 4/01/2005

The Peanut Butter Diet a book by Prevention Magazine editor Holly McCord makes the case for a diet that includes approximately 400-600 calories of peanut butter daily. This isn't quite as nutty as it sounds. Two studies have shown that foods like peanut butter with high levels of monounsaturated fats may prevent heart disease and promote weight loss.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

One, from Penn State, found that a diet high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) with 34-36 percent of calories from fat reduced LDL ("bad") cholesterol by 16-25 percent without lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. In contrast, the American Heart Association's diet with 25 percent of calories from fat, resulted in only a 12 percent reduction.

The other, from Harvard University, found that people on a diet including 35 percent of calories from MUFAs as well as those on a traditional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet lost an average of 11 pounds over six months. However, by 18 months, three times as many people on the MUFA diet remained with the program and kept off the lost weight while the others regained an average of five pounds each.

The Peanut Butter Diet permits women about 1,500 calories per day including 4 tablespoons of peanut butter daily and men 2,200 calories daily including 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. The diet also requires 45 minutes of exercise daily.

McCord says you can expect to lose about 25 pounds per year. She dismisses concerns that peanut butter is high in unhealthy trans-fatty acids and may contain cancer-causing aflatoxin. As far as trans fats are concerned, a U.S. Agriculture Department study found no detectable amounts in samples from 11 brands of peanut butter, including major and "natural" brands. And I'm now less concerned about aflatoxin in peanut butter than I was in the past.

Still, if you're serious about losing weight, I don't think the Peanut Butter Diet is the way to go. Even if you love peanut butter, you could get pretty tired of it on this plan. On the other hand, maybe that's how this and other monotonous diets work. You get bored with the food you can eat and as a result eat less. I'm quite sure people would lose weight on an all-cheesecake diet if that's the only food they could eat. For a better way of eating to lose weight, take a look at my books, Eating Well for Optimum Health and The Healthy Kitchen, and at my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here