The nutrition labels for these five spreads don’t reveal the truth about artery-clogging trans fat, says EWG.
Peanut butter should be the simplest of foods. Peanuts and their oil ground into a rich paste. Done. Maybe add a tiny bit of salt if you like to live on the edge. But peanuts just don’t need anything else. They are perfect. Yet, alas. Food manufacturers in their never-ending quest to make things sweeter, fatter, saltier (read: more additive) can’t help but tinker with perfection and leave unwitting consumers worse for the wear.
We all know that some peanut butters have sugar and salt added. And some of us avoid those at all costs; really, peanuts are flavorful enough on their own! But many brands also have extra fats added. And most often times that extra fat is in the form of partially hydrogenated oils. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently taken a stance against these fats by ordering food processors to stop using them because they’re responsible for most artificial trans fat in processed food. Trans fat, as described by the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), is an artery-clogging synthetic blamed for 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths yearly.
But here’s the thing. The FDA has given manufacturers three years to reformulate their products; so we've still got a lot of time left to be consuming trans fat. Plus this: the FDA says that if there is less than half a gram per serving, the nutrition panel can be labeled with “zero trans fat.” With that in mind, EWG’s Food Scores database takes a look at hidden sources of trans fat. The following peanut butters are prominently displayed in their hall of shame-fame; as well as their more angelic counterparts.
So there you have it. And if you have a hankering to make peanut butter yourself, it's one of the easiest DIY kitchen things you can do. Place peanuts in a food processor and process. For the details, watch Steve and his rather exuberant chef's coat whip some up here: