Consumer Reports: Is peanut butter healthy for you?

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Consumer Reports: Is peanut butter healthy for you? Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on April 26, 2018. (WPVI)

Plenty of kids grow up on peanut butter and plenty of adults count on it as a quick and easy protein fix, but years of fat phobia and assumptions that rich-tasting foods can't possibly be healthy have left many people skeptical.

For 7-year-old Stella Payne, peanut butter is a dietary staple.

"he probably eats peanut butter 4-5 times a week," said her dad.

But how does it fare, nutritionally?

"A 2 tablespoon serving of peanut butter has just under 200 calories and about 16 grams of fat, so people might think that it's unhealthy. But if you choose a peanut butter that doesn't have a lot of additives - you know, just simply peanuts and a little bit of salt, it actually does have some health benefits," said Julia Calderone, Consumer Reports Heath Editor.

Including magnesium, which, among other things, helps the body process sugars.

Like all nut butters, peanut butter is a convenient source of protein and also a great source of fiber. Roughly two grams in every serving.

Plus, it's high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are both heart healthy.

"A lot of the fat in peanut butter is actually good fat - it's healthy for you. So if you're going to choose a low-fat peanut butter, you might be missing out on some of the benefits that make it especially good for you," said Calderone.

Just be conscious of what you have with it.

White bread and jelly may not be your best choice.

Instead, think about whole wheat bread and real fruit spread with no added sugars. Or, better yet - actual fruit.

And remember, the benefits come from the peanuts themselves. So look for peanut butter without a lot of extra ingredients.

Same goes for other nut butters like almond and cashew as well.

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