How many of you out there have gone grocery shopping, purchased your favorite brand of nut butter only to find yourself standing in a dark kitchen holding a dirty spoon and a half empty jar? Go on, raise your hands.
That’s right, I’ve done it too. Sometimes I even run out of my own jar of Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter and sneakily dig into The Hubs’ Honey Roasted Skippy. Now THAT is like crack in a jar, let me tell you.
So why, when we have all intentions of only eating a single serving, do we suddenly find ourselves out of control when that jar of golden goodness in hand? Turns out there may be more than one reason.
Contrary to what diet experts have told us in the past, fat is not the enemy. The low-fat craze ruined many a metabolism in its hey day, and as those flavorful fats were replaced with sugar or salt, it didn’t really help people lose weight long term, either. Healthy fats found in nuts, dairy, avocados and oily fish are very good for you, but you may not be getting enough. This may cause the body to trigger a binge response on these foods.
Stress can really screw with people. In fact, stress is the #1 reason why *I* binge on peanut butter. And other things. Nature Valley recently came out with these amazingly delicious things called Granola Cups. The almond butter ones are SO. GOOD. So good, I won’t be buying them again. Because I ate an entire box in one evening. Yup. I do it, too.
The thing is, when you’re stressed, you crave comfort. There are many reasons we get stressed, but pair that with lack of sleep and you’ve got a recipe (pun intended) for disaster. Sometimes we even use eating to avoid feeling the emotions we don’t want to feel. But what is it about nut butter when we’re stressed? Nut butter, specifically peanut butter contains a lot of beta-sitosterol, which has been known to normalize cortisol levels, bringing them back into balance with other hormones. Which leads us to…
When your hormones are imbalanced, your body may crave certain minerals. Almond butter is one of the best sources of magnesium out there, and magnesium helps with a multitude of bodily functions. If you’re specifically craving almond butter, your body may be asking for a dose of magnesium.
Lack of B-Vitamins may also be the culprit. Nuts and seeds are rich with b-vitamins, but you can also find them in tons of other lower-calorie foods, such as leafy greens, broccoli, avocado, tomato, bananas, cucumbers, zucchini, whole nuts and whole seeds, quinoa, oats, barley, beans and legumes. If you notice a lack of those foods in your diet, try adding them in and see if your cravings for nut butters subside.
Sometimes it’s simply a case of it tasting good. That calorie-dense hit of fat, protein and carbs (often with both salt and sugar added) hits all of our pleasure sensors. It’s definitely okay to eat it in moderation, so if your cravings aren’t insane you can go right ahead and enjoy your delicious nut butters!
Are you addicted to nuts or nut butter? I know I am.