Find out why this ‘good idea’ isn’t.
Peanut butter with fish oil!
What will they think of next?!
Before writing this blog, I showed the new JIF Omega-3 Peanut Butter to a few people.
Most of the older people I showed it to said something like ‘Why don’t you just eat some Tuna or Salmon, for Pete’s sakes?’
And the kids said ‘Cool – what’s Omega-3?’
Us old folks forget how much we hated seafood when we were kids. Ugh! I used to run and open the windows when my mom cooked fish.
Getting Omega-3 into picky kids is not easy. If you can sneak some into peanut butter, great!
What’s not to like?
Here’s what you need to know about JIF Omega-3 Peanut Butter:
- It has 32 mg of Omega-3 per 2 Tablespoons
- The Omega-3 is from fish and not plants
- It has both EPA and DHA
Those are the facts.
32 mg of Omega-3. Is that enough? Is that a lot?
No and no.
32 mg is somewhere between sprinkling and fairy-dusting.
32 mg is not a random number. Some years ago, a few companies proposed to the FDA that if a food contained 32 mg of Omega-3 that it could be labeled as ‘High in Omega-3’ or ‘Good source of Omega-3.’
In 2007, the FDA reviewed these proposals and said ‘No way!’ The FDA said that the claim was ‘not based on an authoritative statement.’
In other words, not enough Omega-3.
So that’s where the 32 mg comes from. Food companies can add it their foods but just can’t make fancy claims about it like, it will ‘make your kids smarter.’
The Good News
The good news is that the Omega-3 contains DHA and EPA. These are the two critical Omega-3s that your body needs.
I’ve seen breads and tortillas with Omega-3 splashed across the packaging in giant letters. But when I looked closer, the Omega-3 was the ALA form made from Flaxseed oil.
ALA Omega-3 from Flaxseed is not readily absorbed. So that is a waste of money.
The other piece of good news is that JIF Omega-3 does not smell or taste fishy at all.
This is brilliant technology by the folks at Ocean Nutrition in Canada. They wrap or encapsulate teeny-tiny droplets of fish oil in gelatin. This keeps the odor and the healthy goodness contained on the inside.
The gelatin droplets mix nicely with the peanut butter.
I wish the gelatin-coated, powdered Omega-3 was available for purchase. You could add a teaspoon into your kids’ pancakes on Sunday morning. And they’d be none the wiser. Well, with enough DHA, they might actually get wiser!
Looking a Little Deeper…
Here is my concern:
Peanuts and peanut butter are too high in Omega-6.
The chart below shows that Peanuts have almost no Omega-3 and the fats are exclusively Omega-6.
A little bit of Omega-6 is essential.
But Omega-6 aggravates a lot of health problems including obesity, asthma, and inflammation.
Even though peanuts have a lot of other healthy nutrients, the high amount Omega-6 makes it an eat-only-occasionally snack.
Why? Because Omega-6 competes with Omega-3. Omega-6 fights with Omega-3 for enzymes in your body and fights with Omega-3 for placement into your body’s cells.
And Omega-3 loses this battle because we already have so much Omega-6 in our diet. The Omega-3 literally gets drowned out by Omega-6.
The more Omega-6 you eat, the higher your body’s need for Omega-3.
Nutritionally speaking, an Omega-3 enriched peanut butter is like a sleeping pill with added caffeine. It’s just, well, nutty.
Here’s the math to prove my point:
One serving is 2 tablespoons.
- Each serving of Omega-3 Peanut butter has 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat (Omega-6.)
- Each serving of Regular Peanut butter also has roughly 5 grams of Omega-6.
- Each serving of Reduced Fat Peanut Butter has about 3.75 grams of Omega-6. That 1.25 fewer grams of Omega-6 in the Reduced Fat Peanut Butter.
If you look at the JIF Omega-3 product, you have 40 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. That’s a dangerous ratio!
The question that begs to be asked is:
Is eating 1250 mg less Omega-6 in the Reduced Fat Peanut Butter better than eating 32 mg more Omega-3 with the Omega-3 peanut butter?
The answer is easy: YES!!
You are MUCH better off eating JIF Reduced Fat Peanut Butter – it is by far the healthier option.
Surprised, aren’t you?
I was too.
If you want healthy kids, get them off sodas and fruit juice and don’t cook foods for them with seed oils rich in Omega-6 (corn and vegetable oils.)
Before you run out and buy the reduced fat peanut butter, know that:
- #2 ingredient is corn syrup – the stuff that makes Coca Cola so sweet.
- #3 ingredient is soy protein.
- #4 ingredient is a trans fat. Good Lord! I don’t want my twins anywhere near these ingredients.
Peanut butter should have one ingredient: peanuts. May be a hint of salt. That’s it. Like Laura Scudder Organic Peanut Butter.
May be ‘Choosy moms choose JIF,’ but informed moms should opt for Almond butter, which has a little less Omega-6.
Then again, may be the old-timers were right after all, you’re better off eating some Tuna or Sardines. For Pete’s sakes!
About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.