Better'n Peanut Butter

Better'n Peanut Butter was better'n I expected. I spotted this imposter spread at Trader Joe's and decided to give it a whirl. Note: I know TJ's is not in Houston (yet), but never fear, you can find Better'n Peanut Butter at H.E.B. and Whole Foods.

I love nut butters for the energy they give me for endurance events. However, I have a history of overindulging to the point of eating an entire jar in less than two hours. And that much even mono-unsaturated fat in one sitting ain't great, even if you plan on biking your butt off the next morning.

Better'n Peanut Butter (BPB) is made with "real" peanut butter but boasts 85 percent less fat and 40 percent fewer calories. And though it contains no preservatives, its ingredients do include thickening agents and additives such as tapioca, vegetable glycerin, rice syrup, etc., etc. Since I very much appreciate the sweet simplicity of natural nut butters, I was skeptical about the taste and consistency of something comparatively chemical-laden.


I was reassured to find that BPB was sticky and gloopy like other natural varieties (that ultra-smooth quality that comes with the addition of trans fats is rather freakish). The jar lacked a robust top layer of oil, which wasn't surprising considering that's exactly what the manufacturers probably removed to decrease the fat content. But the flavor of BPB was nevertheless exactly the same as full-fat PB!

Yeah, right.

BPB was grainier, lighter and less nutty than regular peanut butter. It had interesting but not unpleasant botanical notes and a weird hint of citrus. A few tablespoons on poppyseed bread with some marmalade made for a very satisfying but not belly-bloating nighttime snack.

If you crave intense, rich peanut flavor, skip BPB and go for the real thing. If you want something nutty that is hearty and filling but doesn't stick to your ribs (or ass), BPB is a fine alternative.

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Joanna O'Leary