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JIF Peanut Butter with Omega-3 Fish Oil

by Vin Kutty, MS on January 31, 2011

Find out why this ‘good idea’ isn’t.

Peanut butter with fish oil!

What will they think of next?!

Omega-3 fish oil in peanut butter

Before writing this blog, I showed the new JIF Omega-3 Peanut Butter to a few people.

Most of the older people I showed it to said something like ‘Why don’t you just eat some Tuna or Salmon, for Pete’s sakes?

And the kids said ‘Cool – what’s Omega-3?

Us old folks forget how much we hated seafood when we were kids. Ugh! I used to run and open the windows when my mom cooked fish.

Getting Omega-3 into picky kids is not easy. If you can sneak some into peanut butter, great!

What’s not to like?

Here’s what you need to know about JIF Omega-3 Peanut Butter:

  • It has 32 mg of Omega-3 per 2 Tablespoons
  • The Omega-3 is from fish and not plants
  • It has both EPA and DHA

Those are the facts.

32 mg of Omega-3. Is that enough? Is that a lot?

No and no.

32 mg is somewhere between sprinkling and fairy-dusting.

32 mg is not a random number. Some years ago, a few companies proposed to the FDA that if a food contained 32 mg of Omega-3 that it could be labeled as ‘High in Omega-3’ or ‘Good source of Omega-3.’

In 2007, the FDA reviewed these proposals and said ‘No way!’ The FDA said that the claim was ‘not based on an authoritative statement.’

In other words, not enough Omega-3.

So that’s where the 32 mg comes from. Food companies can add it their foods but just can’t make fancy claims about it like, it will ‘make your kids smarter.’

The Good News

The good news is that the Omega-3 contains DHA and EPA. These are the two critical Omega-3s that your body needs.

I’ve seen breads and tortillas with Omega-3 splashed across the packaging in giant letters. But when I looked closer, the Omega-3 was the ALA form made from Flaxseed oil.

ALA Omega-3 from Flaxseed is not readily absorbed. So that is a waste of money.

The other piece of good news is that JIF Omega-3 does not smell or taste fishy at all.

This is brilliant technology by the folks at Ocean Nutrition in Canada. They wrap or encapsulate teeny-tiny droplets of fish oil in gelatin. This keeps the odor and the healthy goodness contained on the inside.

The gelatin droplets mix nicely with the peanut butter.

I wish the gelatin-coated, powdered Omega-3 was available for purchase. You could add a teaspoon into your kids’ pancakes on Sunday morning. And they’d be none the wiser. Well, with enough DHA, they might actually get wiser!

Looking a Little Deeper…

Here is my concern:
Peanuts and peanut butter are too high in Omega-6
.

The chart below shows that Peanuts have almost no Omega-3 and the fats are exclusively Omega-6.

Omega-6 vs Omega-3 content
A little bit of Omega-6 is essential.

But Omega-6 aggravates a lot of health problems including obesity, asthma, and inflammation.

Even though peanuts have a lot of other healthy nutrients, the high amount Omega-6 makes it an eat-only-occasionally snack.

Why? Because Omega-6 competes with Omega-3. Omega-6 fights with Omega-3 for enzymes in your body and fights with Omega-3 for placement into your body’s cells.

And Omega-3 loses this battle because we already have so much Omega-6 in our diet. The Omega-3 literally gets drowned out by Omega-6.

The more Omega-6 you eat, the higher your body’s need for Omega-3.

Nutritionally speaking, an Omega-3 enriched peanut butter is like a sleeping pill with added caffeine. It’s just, well, nutty.

Here’s the math to prove my point:

One serving is 2 tablespoons.

  • Each serving of Omega-3 Peanut butter has 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat (Omega-6.)
  • Each serving of Regular Peanut butter also has roughly 5 grams of Omega-6.
  • Each serving of Reduced Fat Peanut Butter has about 3.75 grams of Omega-6. That 1.25 fewer grams of Omega-6 in the Reduced Fat Peanut Butter.

If you look at the JIF Omega-3 product, you have 40 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. That’s a dangerous ratio!

The question that begs to be asked is:

Is eating 1250 mg less Omega-6 in the Reduced Fat Peanut Butter better than eating 32 mg more Omega-3 with the Omega-3 peanut butter?

The answer is easy: YES!!

You are MUCH better off eating JIF Reduced Fat Peanut Butter – it is by far the healthier option.

Surprised, aren’t you?

I was too.

If you want healthy kids, get them off sodas and fruit juice and don’t cook foods for them with seed oils rich in Omega-6 (corn and vegetable oils.)

Before you run out and buy the reduced fat peanut butter, know that:

  • #2 ingredient is corn syrup – the stuff that makes Coca Cola so sweet.
  • #3 ingredient is soy protein.
  • #4 ingredient is a trans fat. Good Lord! I don’t want my twins anywhere near these ingredients.

Omega-3 fish oil peanut butter

Peanut butter should have one ingredient: peanuts. May be a hint of salt. That’s it. Like Laura Scudder Organic Peanut Butter.

May be ‘Choosy moms choose JIF,’ but informed moms should opt for Almond butter, which has a little less Omega-6.

Then again, may be the old-timers were right after all, you’re better off eating some Tuna or Sardines. For Pete’s sakes!


Omega-3 expert and author Vin Kutty frequently writes about Omega-3 fish oil About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.


Omega-3 fish oil

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel A. Clinton, RN, BSN February 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm

We’ll have to disagree on the Reduced Fat Jif being healthier. Despite having less Omega-6 fat, in my book, the product with trans fat automatically loses.

Reply

Omegavia February 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Dan,

Actually, Dan, I’m with you on this. My point in the blog was that Reduced Fat JIF was better for you than the Omega-3 JIF, but ONLY from an Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio perspective. Peanut butter is full of Omega-6, so you’ll have to take an extra fish oil pill to make up for all the Omega-6 that comes from peanut butter. As for the trans fat in the Low Fat JIF, there’s plenty of it! And they can keep it. I won’t touch Low Fat JIF with the proverbial 10-foot pole. Peanut butter should have one ingredient: peanuts. If it has a little salt, well, I might be OK with that. But don’t give me anything more.

By the way, any food can have 500 mg of trans fat and still call their product ‘Trans-Fat-Free!’

There is such a thing as naturally occurring trans fat – Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in dairy is one example. It may not be bad for you like the artificial stuff. But barring that, there is NO PLACE for trans-fat in any normal human food.

Reply

Andrei May 3, 2011 at 10:24 am

Love the taste of it. Good for loaf bread or some chips/biscuits. The taste is same with the peanut butter we’ve have before. I think the more that gets appealing about this peanut butter is that there is Omega 3 Fish Oil.

Reply

NM November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I eat a lot of the Scudders PB because it has virtually no carbs. I guess I need to cut out the PB
from now on?

Reply

Omegavia November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

Of all the things you could eat, peanut butter is not the worst! Far from it. It’s just that almost all the oil (fat) in it is Omega-6. If you can cut out sugar, candy, soda, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice and then followed by wheat and wheat flour-based products, you will be better off than 95% of the American population. So my suggestion is to focus on eliminating sugar and wheat first. Then focus on cutting out other grains and vegetable oils. Focus on peanut butter after you’ve made the above changes.

Reply

Louis Lopez December 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

You should have stopped at saying that peanuts and peanut butter are not good.

Reduced Fat Jif still has too high a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3.

Laura Scudder’s Organic Peanut Butter still has a 40:1 ratio even if it is organic.

Get away from the altar of organic.

Reply

Omegavia December 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Hi Louis, yeah, may be I should have stopped at ‘peanut butter is not good.’ I still think I made that point. But may be I diluted the message by offering a lesser-evil option at the end of the blog. I don’t care either way about Organic Laura Scudder item – but it was the only product I could find that had just one ingredient. I was trying to convey that IF YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST eat peanut butter, at least go for the ones with no added sugar and trans fats.

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Rob B January 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Vin, according to the USDA (food 16399) this omega-3 peanut butter has 821mg of Omega-3 and 1,076 of Omega-6 per a 1 oz serving. That’s nearly a 1:1 ratio. What gives?

Also, I was told to eat walnuts for a great source of Omega-3 (2.8 grams per oz) but they contain almost 11 grams of omega-6. Isn’t that much worst than peanut butter?

Confused.

Reply

Omegavia January 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

Rob, I looked up USDA food 16399 and found several references for Creamy Omega-3 Peanut Butter but have not seen the 821 mg of Omega-3 you’re referring to. Can you share the direct link? Even without having seen or read the link, I am certain that NO peanut butter can have 821 mg of non-ALA-Omega-3 per serving because it would taste and smell like you bit into the head of a fish and it would be cost-prohibitive to market. Most ‘functional-foods’ have 100 mg of Omega-3 or less. Usually far less. Naturally, peanuts (a legume and not a real nut) have virtually zero Omega-3. The fats are almost all Omega-6. That’s why I don’t eat them. Walnuts are OK as long as you eat no more than a handful per day. Yes, they contain ALA Omega-3, which is not well absorbed but they also contain a lot of Omega-6, which you’re probably getting too much of. Most nuts have way too much Omega-6. See this for more info.

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Rob B January 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Would also like to add that Dr. Frank Sacks (Harvard) says balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 is not necessary. See link:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questions/omega-3/index.html

Reply

Omegavia January 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

Indeed he does. There is certainly plenty of evidence to support trans-fats being the worst and the fats in fish being the best. Omega-6 is necessary. In the eicosanoid pathway, Omega-6 CAN be converted to DGLA and then onto some very good (and powerful) eicosanoids. No doubt. You need Omega-6. Without it, we will die. However, Omega-6 can be channeled into Arachidonic Acid, a highly damaging eicosanoid in excess amounts, in the presence of insulin and absence of EPA Omega-3. High insulin and low EPA basically describes the standard condition most Americans. This is a very dangerous situation, a perfect storm if you will, that has nothing to with THEORY. We are consuming more sugar and Omega-6 now than at any time in human history. It is a grand experiment. Unless some pharma company can invent an enzyme inhibitor that can stop the conversion of DGLA to AA, we are driving with a tight blindfold. I don’t want to be a part of this experiment, so a few years ago, I stopped consuming sugar and have cut down drastically on Omega-6. Look into Dr. Lands work – he has spent a lifetime on this.

Vin

Reply

Rob B January 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for the response!

Below is the link, I suspect it is an error.

http://skipthepie.org/legumes-and-legume-products/peanut-butter-with-omega-creamy/?weight=28

Reply

Omegavia January 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Oh wow! Rob, this is a treasure trove of interesting facts and dangerous half-truths. I will have to spend a lot more time look at the rest of this site. But clearly, they have assayed SOME peanut butter. The Omega-3 is probably ALA Omega-3, which is unusual to find in peanuts. I also find it a bit odd to find so much monounsaturated fats (about 10 out of 15 grams of fat) in peanut butter. Any nutrition site that lists saturated fats as “bad” and ALL polyunsaturated fats as “good” must be ignored in light of abundant evidence to the contrary. The site is recycling tired old nutritional dogma from the 1980s. Saturated fats are neutral at worst. And poly fats can be good or bad – depends on which one and what else is going on in your body. Very dangerous stuff, this…information! For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t be caught dead eating a white bread-n-peanut butter sandwich shown on the page! Wheat gluten, refined carbohydrates and Omega-6 fats! It’s almost as good as a donut when it comes to combining all the things I want to avoid!

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Judy June 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I came upon a recipe for a treat for my two miniature Daschunds. It is peanut butter, bacon, one egg and oats. I roll the dough, cut them with a cookie cutter and bake them for 30 minutes. They are absolutely crazy for these treats and they don’t have preservatives. I have been using Skippy peanut butter, but thought I would switch to Jiff with omega3. Would there be any problems with the switch? They need the vitamins in the peanut butter so that sounds good for them. Your opinion?

Reply

Vin Kutty, MS June 11, 2014 at 3:21 am

Hi Judy – I think baking the Omega-3 may damage it a bit, but it is worth a try. You may be better off adding Omega-3 separately to their diet. Peanut butter is incredibly high in Omega-6 fats, which counteract the benefits of Omega-3 and it is not terribly high in vitamins. I like the bacon and eggs portion of the recipe. I’d skip the oats as it is not a natural part of the canine diet. The doggies like this stuff because it must be incredibly yummy. Guess they’re not that different from us after all.

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