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Peanut Butter Is NOT a Good Source of Protein

By Elliot Fisher MS, CSCS, PES, NSCA-CPT

Protein is very important in your diet for health and performance. I usually recommend my clients eat more protein than they’re currently eating. (Maybe somewhere as high as 1 gram/pound of bodyweight) When I ask my clients what type of proteins they currently eat or what they like to eat, peanut or other nut butters come up frequently. Nut butters do have SOME protein however their percentage of protein/calories is SUPER low. Peanut butter has about 7 grams of protein in a 200 calorie serving. In nut butters the majority of the calories come from fat. This is fine because it’s a healthier fat, but it’s NOT a great source of protein, it’s a great source of fat! A lean protein source of protein like tilapia would have 24 grams of protein for only about 100 calories. You definitely could eat peanut butter to get enough protein, especially if you combine it with something else with protein like a bagel or greek yogurt. When I think of high protein foods I think of foods that are high in protein and also are mostly protein.

Another quick point, not all grams of protein are equal. Proteins are made from different amino acids and the variety of amino acids in the protein source plays a big role in the quality of that protein. On average animal proteins are complete proteins (have all the essential amino acids) and plant proteins are almost always not complete proteins (missing essential amino acids). To solve this you need a wide variety of protein from plant sources to get enough essential amino acids.

Some foods that are high in quality protein include:

  • Whey Protein OR other Protein Powders

  • Meats (especially lean sources)

    • Chicken

    • Beef

    • Pork

    • Fish (Tilapia, Salmon, Flounder, etc)

  • Eggs and Egg White

  • Greek Yogurt

  • Milk

If you have any questions on sources of protein or how much protein YOU need to eat, email me at

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