Crunchy, smooth, oily … why am I craving peanut butter?

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!

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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. 

Cravings are like communication signals.

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:

If you are not getting enough of these in your diet …

You will start to crave foods that are high in these foods!

Aka, peanut butter!

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.

4 – Too Much Stress

stressed out woman with sticky notes on her face to show terrible work life balance

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.

5 – Craving Peanut Butter Vitamin Deficiency

Peanut butter is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

As we talked about earlier, cravings are generally signals from your body. Some cravings are for hunger and your body is signaling you to eat!

If you’re craving peanut butter, try adding it to your breakfast or snack time routine.

Adding peanut butter to your diet is a delicious way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs!

However, if you are satisfied and not hungry in the slightest and you’re still craving peanut butter, it’s possible your body is deficient in some of the vitamins and minerals peanut butter contains.

You may want a vitamin deficiency blood test to confirm. If you are low in these vitamins it would make total sense why you’re craving peanut butter.

Beta-Sitosterol

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. 

So if you’re feeling depressed, it’s possible that’s why you crave peanut butter. But the other reasons we mentioned earlier are more likely.

6 – Flavor

Flavor is one of the key reasons you may find yourself craving peanut butter. Peanut butter typically has a sweet and nutty taste that can be hard to resist.

If you’re trying to cut back on your peanut butter intake, opt for a natural or sugar-free variety. You may also want to try other nut butters, such as almond or cashew butter, as an alternative.

That way you can still get this delicious flavor!

7 – Texture

Another reason you may be craving peanut butter is due to the texture. Peanut butter is smooth and creamy, making it a satisfying food to eat.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to peanut butter, try using hummus or avocados as a spread on your toast or sandwich.

But please know peanut butter is overall fine your diet, especially in moderation.

8 – Nostalgia

Did you grow up eating peanut butter sandwiches everyday at school?

I know I did (author personal note).

There’s something about the creamy, nutty taste of peanut butter that just takes us back to childhood.

For many of us, it’s a comfort food that reminds us of happier times.

So what does it mean when you find yourself craving peanut butter?

Well, it could simply be that you’re hungry and your body is telling you to eat!

Or it could be a sign that you’re missing something in your diet.

Peanut butter is a good source of protein, so if you’re not getting enough of that in your diet, your body may be craving it.

It’s also possible that you’re feeling nostalgic and wanting to recreate some of those childhood memories.

How to Stop Peanut Butter Cravings

From a nutritional standpoint, to stop peanut butter cravings you need to eat other foods which also contain healthy fats, protein and fill you up.

Some of these foods include:

  • Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avocado
  • Yogurt
  • 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
  • Bloated

Should I stop eating peanut butter?

bowl of 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

Basically, what I would recommend is to 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!

And finally, there’s one more commonly asked question!

Is craving peanut butter a sign of pregnancy?

Possibly.

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.   🙂

Why am I craving peanuts?

There could be a few reasons why you’re specifically craving peanuts. It could be that you simply enjoy the flavor or texture of peanuts more than peanut butter.

Peanuts have a different flavor than peanut butter, due to their being unprocessed and having a different texture.

When you chew on peanuts, the experience is significantly different than when you eat peanut butter.

So even though you may be craving peanuts for many of the same reasons as peanut butter (for example, because it’s a comfort food), you may prefer the taste of peanuts.

Another possibility is that you’re actually craving the fat and protein that peanuts provide. Peanuts are a good source of both of these nutrients, so if you’re feeling low in energy or needing a nutrient boost, your body may be telling you to eat peanuts.

Again though, peanut butter also has fat and protein so it’s still probably the taste and texture of peanuts you prefer.

What does craving peanut butter mean?

There are a few possible explanations for why you might be craving peanut butter. It could be that you’re not getting enough fat or protein in your diet, you’re not eating enough calories overall, or you may be experiencing too much stress.

It’s also possible that you have a vitamin deficiency that’s causing your cravings.

If you’re concerned about your cravings, talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.

Otherwise, enjoy your peanut butter fix!

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About the Author

Hey, I'm Jared and I'm a writer and coach.

I help yo yo dieters stop binge eating and emotional eating through journaling, which works because it's so easy, simple and effective for lasting habit change.


Check out my free Masterclass for my entire journey from yo yo dieting wrestler to Buddhist Monk and finally, to Eating Enlightenment. .

@jared_levenson

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