Is craving peanut butter your kryptonite?
If you think peanut butter cravings are a sign of weakness, keep on reading.
Or, if you think that craving peanut butter somehow means you’re failing or not being ‘healthy’, keep on reading.
While there are some negative, emotional eating-related reasons behind peanut butter cravings …
For the most part, you crave peanut butter for valid, healthy reasons.
And I’d encourage you to make peanut butter a part of your everyday eating!
Why Do We Crave Peanut Butter? Four Reasons Why
This article explores the four main reasons behind peanut butter cravings:
- Not Enough Fat In Your Diet
- Lacking Protein In Your Diet
- Not Enough Calories
- Too Much Stress
Plus, I’ll also address these frequently asked questions:
- Should I stop eating peanut butter?
- What happens if you eat a lot of peanut butter?
- Is craving peanut butter a sign of pregnancy?
1 – Not Enough Fat In Your Diet
It’s easy to hate on fat.
However, your body needs fat to function! For guys, a healthy body fat percentage of total weight is around 10-20% and for women it’s around 20-30%.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of low-fat diet fads out there. Watch out for these!
When you’re not getting enough fat, then peanut butter starts to look really appetizing, like food does when you’re starving.
- Licking peanut butter off a spoon with honey suddenly seems incredibly appetizing!
- Peanut butter waffles, aren’t those a French delicacy?
- Peanut butter cookies, hasn’t it been forever since you made those?
If you can’t stop thinking about peanut butter … Can’t stop craving peanut butter …
One reason could be that you’re low on fat.
Your cravings are simply your body’s natural response to a fat shortage.
They are trying to get your attention, just like a text message is a signal for you to pick up your phone and check your messages!
Your body is signaling to you through cravings that you need to eat more fat.
These food cravings are simply to get more food that has a healthy amount of fat – aka, peanut butter.
Of course you can eat too much fat as well, but if that were the case then you probably wouldn’t be craving peanut butter so much.
2 – Not Enough Protein In Your Diet
You also might be craving peanut butter because you lack protein!
Protein helps build muscles. It also helps keep you full.
Protein or fat, whichever the case, there is one overall trend:
3 – Not Enough Calories
Not getting enough calories in your diet is perhaps the biggest reason you crave peanut butter.
Just like low fat diets can be a problem … Low carb diets can be equally problematic.
Your body needs fat, protein and calories.
But when you are on a low carb diet then you can easily be not eating foods that get you enough fats, proteins or calories.
Overall, peanut butter is a rich source of fat, protein and calories.
So if you aren’t getting enough to eat overall, then it makes perfect sense why you would crave peanut butter.
However, I know the idea that you’re NOT getting enough calories can sound crazy.
In my private practice I routinely help people with binge eating problems.
Without fail, all of them say they eat too much.
I’m not going to argue that point because it’s true – they do eat too much.
However, people who struggle with binge eating or emotional eating tend to overeat too much all at one time.
For peanut butter in particular, one woman said she got home in one of the binge moods, you know what I mean?
She was just in a food cravings mood to eat whatever and not care about it, so she gobbled down:
- four peanut butter sandwiches
- a dozen peanut butter cookies
- and three glasses of milk
What this woman started to realize after working with me was that she didn’t get enough to eat during the first ¾ of her day.
This is what I’m talking about here in this last point.
You’re not eating enough throughout the day, and therefore you’re not getting enough calories throughout the day.
Sure, you overate at night and you ate too much then. I understand.
I’ve been there and done that too.
However, the key is to realize that if you get more foods throughout the day, then your peanut butter craving will go down.
And you’ll also eat less overall!
4 – Too Much Stress
Research by Harvard has demonstrated the link between stress and overeating.
When you are stressed your body naturally wants food with lots of fat, protein and calories.
Sound familiar? That’s right. Peanut butter has all of these and thus is a prime food for when you’re stressed.
Moreover, if you combine dieting with a life stressor, then you’ll feel like you need peanut butter even more!
Plus, there are specific chemicals within peanut butter that can make peanut butter be more appealing under stress.
One such chemical found in peanut butter is Beta-sitosterol, a compound that may help stabilize the effects of stress on cortisol levels.
There’s some preliminary research that indicates beta-sitosterol may act like an antidepressant.
Dr. Shawn Talbot discusses this beta-sitosterol chemical in his book The Cortisol Connection.
Dr. Talbot does recommend intaking around 100 mg of beta-sitosterol per day, or what is found in a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter.
Ways to Reduce Stress
If peanut butter cravings are caused by too much stress, then you may want to start:
- Talking with a therapist
Should I stop eating peanut butter?
Now if you are craving peanut butter …
Your natural instinct might be to just cut out peanut butter entirely!
Hopefully though you can see that peanut butter:
- Is a healthy source of fats and proteins
- Can help you eat enough calories
- Contains stress-reducing compounds
As Dr. Talbot recommends above, have a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter a day!
A couple of tablespoons of peanut butter is around 200-300 calories, and can serve as a great snack.
This just goes to show you that peanut butter has a place in our daily lives!
So don’t cut peanut butter out of your diet because you have cravings for it!
Have some of it!
Treat Peanut Butter Cravings
From a nutritional standpoint, to treat peanut butter cravings you need to eat other foods which also contain healthy fats, protein and fill you up.
Some of these foods could include:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Whole grain bread
What Happens If You Eat A Lot Of Peanut Butter?
Of course, eating too much peanut butter isn’t good either.
If you eat too much peanut butter, you’ll see the same results as if you had overeaten any other food that was high in calories and fat:
- Weight gain
And finally, there’s one more commonly asked question!
Is craving peanut butter a sign of pregnancy?
In general, when you’re pregnant you will need to eat more food.
Since peanut butter contains a bunch of good healthy fats and calories, it would make sense that you would crave more peanut butter if you were pregnant.
Of course, you wouldn’t just crave peanut butter specifically.
Being pregnant, you would also crave other similar types of foods too, like avocados, ice cream, etc.
However, I am a guy, and obviously I can’t get pregnant!
Right now a peanut butter sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread sounds amazing to me!
So … even I crave peanut butter too!
Go figure. You might just be craving peanut butter too, even if you are not pregnant. 🙂
However, I do realize you may have deeper struggles with food going on other than what I just covered above.
If you are struggling with food in a more profound way, be sure to check out my 3 month program to stop binge eating.
The program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT is considered the first line treatment option for Binge Eating Disorder.
Perhaps the best part about CBT is simplicity! You basically just keep an Awareness Journal around food.
Not a calorie journal or weight diary, but where you record your thoughts and emotions around food.
Have you ever recorded your thoughts around food?
While most people have logged food, calories or weight … usually recording thoughts is a new and refreshing change of pace where you actually get results too!
I’d encourage you to quickly google Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for yourself because CBT is simple and really works!
For example, you can see this woman here who binged for 40 years and then stopped in a few months with CBT strategies.
Get more details here if you’d like to learn more about the 3 month binge eating treatment program.