Packed with 190 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving, peanut butter hardly sounds like the stuff that diets are made of. But two recent studies suggest people can actually lose weight by centering their meals around this popular spread.
When Prevention magazine ran an article on the peanut butter diet in March, it was the best-selling issue of the year, so the magazine decided to create a book of peanut butter recipes. They range from peanut butter oatmeal, to entrees such as Tahitian chicken with peanut butter mango sauce and curried peanut butter soup.
"The studies have concluded that taste comes first, so you have to like what you’re eating, "McCord says. In studies, people in the low-fat group were jealous of those assigned to the peanut butter diet.
The Harvard study, done jointly with Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, looked at 101 people who weighed about 200 pounds each, and divided them into two groups. One group was put on a traditional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet; the other got richer fare — the so-called peanut butter diet — that allowed them to to get 35 percent of their calories from fat, 50 percent from carbohydrates and 15 percent from protein.
But the fat in this diet was the good kind: “heart-healthy” monounsaturated fats, found in foods such as olives, nuts, avocados and peanut butter. Such fats can lower bad cholesterol and so reduce the risk of heart disease.