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Why Am I Craving Peanut Butter? 4 Reasons Why

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!

Why Do We Crave Peanut Butter? Four Reasons Why 

This article explores the four main reasons behind peanut butter cravings:

  1. Not Enough Fat In Your Diet
  2. Lacking Protein In Your Diet
  3. Not Enough Calories 
  4. 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. 

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.

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.

Ways to Reduce Stress

If peanut butter cravings are caused by too much stress, then you may want to start:

  • Meditation
  • Jogging
  • Journaling
  • Talking with a therapist

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!

How to 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:

  • 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
  • Bloatedness

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.   🙂


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About the Author

Hi, I'm Jared and my mission is to help see their relationship to food differently. I'm a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Certified Dietary Supplement Specialist.


For more info about my story read here.

@jared_levenson

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