Peanut Butter Causes Acne: Is it True or Just a Myth

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Peanut butter is a healthy food diet many of us include in our diet as a snack. Since peanuts are an excellent source of oil, there is a perception that it can cause acne. We will look deeply at this matter to determine if it does cause acne growth.


However, before landing in that conclusion, a background check must first be done to qualify this theory. Since many enjoy eating PB, or peanut butter, together with various jams, it is better to look into the contents of this well-loved spread.


What is Peanut Butter?


Peanut butter is a spread produced from dry roasted peanuts that are grounded in the process. It offers many health benefits such as lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, controls cholesterol levels,  weight loss, etc. It is also loaded with fiber, Vitamin E, and potassium that is good for hair and skin. It also contains mono- and polyunsaturated fats which is why it is beneficial for one’s health.


But before concluding that this is good for the health, it still boils down to what is in the commercial peanut butter that is being sold in the market. Since there is still an assumption that it can cause acne, there must be something in peanut butter that prompts this.


What does Peanut Butter contain?


The FDA regulations state that each peanut butter brand must contain at least 90 % of peanuts although the rest should not exceed 10 %. The remaining 10 % of the product may include salt, sweeteners and hydrogenated vegetable oils. It should not contain more than 55% fat.


Any product that consists of any additional ingredients like palm oil as an example, it must be labeled as a peanut butter spread instead. Reduced-fat peanut butter must be referred to as “spreads.”  Commercialized peanut butter have ingredients such as sugar, salt, soy protein, corn syrup, and stabilizers.


Natural peanut butter is made out of grounded peanuts and salt. It also contains saturated fat and is not hydrogenated. Hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats) are shown to have links with rising cholesterol levels in the blood. Natural Peanut butter must have the right texture. To produce this, the oils must continuously be mixed to avoid clumping since natural peanut butter is not homogenized.


Four Types of Peanuts Grown in the US


  1. Spanish peanuts: this type of peanut is round and small with reddish-brown skin, One of the smallest among the four species of peanuts. It is mostly used for peanut oil since its oil content is higher than the others. It is commonly used for salted peanuts, peanut butter, and candies.
  1. Runners: Runner peanuts is on top of the industry which are the chosen type used in various peanut snacks and candies. Top producers come from the southern states such as Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma.
  1. Virginia peanuts: customarily used as cocktail nuts. Peanut butter labeled “natural” can use only peanuts and oil, usually peanut oil. The oil separates to the top of the jar and must be stirred in to blend with the peanut butter. This breed of peanuts usually is plump pods that is large which contains two crunchy nuts and are mainly produced in Virginia and North Carolina.


  1. Valencia: These peanuts are sweet which are commonly sold roasted in the shell. It’s also excellent for fresh use as boiled peanuts. It yields solely in New Mexico which usually bears three or more dark-reddish to bright-red nuts inside a long pod.

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

Detects Alzheimer’s Disease – peanut butter was used to test and distinguish Alzheimer’s disease by assessing the patient’s sense of smell through each nostril. Each nostril is given 14 grams of peanut butter to smell from a distance of 10 cm. If the subject cannot detect the aroma of the peanut butter at that range, the individual may be experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.

Builds Muscles – Protein is a dietary component that builds muscle. According to the leading magazine, Men’s Health, “Men should eat 0.73 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.” More significant results will occur if the protein is consumed within the day rather than loading one meal with protein.

Better Brain – with only two tablespoons of PB (peanut butter), it already provides the 14% daily need of vitamin E. DHA (polyunsaturated fat) is crucial for the brain to properly function which peanut butter may contain. Consuming food such as olive oil, avocados and peanut butter aids in keeping vitamin E at an optimal level.

Lowers the Risk of Colon Cancer– according to researchers at Yale Cancer Center, eating peanuts at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts each week can relatively lower risk of stage III colon cancer recurrence and mortality than those who don’t.

Also contains the following vitamins:

  • Manganese
  • Choline
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Vitamin B6


What Happens When You Overeat Peanut Butter


Eating peanut butter have benefits, but overeating can affect your weight, complexion and even your skin.  Processed peanut butter contains additives which affect the body, then leads to acne breakouts if overeaten.

What Causes Acne


Acne is an inflammatory skin condition caused by hair follicles clogging oil and dead skin cells. The presentable symptoms are whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cystic lesions and lumps beneath the skin. Another cause of acne is a poor diet which is from consumption of oily food like peanut butter. The reason for this is due to the filler ingredients which can trigger acne such as omega six fatty acids, sugar, salt and imbalance of androgen hormones.  

Ingredients in Peanut Butter that Trigger Acne

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids prevent inflammation while omega six fatty acids cause inflammation. The human body needs a balance of omega three fatty acids and omega six fatty acids with the ideal ratio of 4:1 is omega 6: omega 3. You can balance the omega three fatty acids by consuming more vegetables and other foods rich in omega-3’s like:


Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and sardines

  • Walnuts
  • Avocados
  • Chia seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Grass-fed beef

Hydrogenated oils (trans fat)

Wholly hydrogenated oils do not consist of any trans fat, but if it is not mentioned, stay away from it. Sugar replaces low-fat peanut oils.


Trans fatty acids are considered by some physicians to be the worst type of fat that you can consume as it will both raise your “bad” cholesterol levels as well as lower the “good” cholesterol levels.  This increases your risk of heart disease.


The rise of blood sugar levels increases the androgen production in the body and produces sebum in the follicles. Oil mixes in with the dead skin cells inside the pore and creates a clog and acne appears.

Sugar and Unhealthy Substitutes

Whether it’s plain refined white sugar, cane syrup, molasses, maltodextrin, sugar causes acne. Most jars contain an estimated 15 grams of refined white sugar. Refined white sugar produces insulin, and once there’s too much insulin, the body will receive this as stress.


The stress hormone cortisol will be released; as a result, trigger inflammation and excess oil. Two tablespoons of peanut butter have three grams of sugar per serving- minimum.  


These are peanut lectins which are anti-nutrients which damage the gut lining and triggers the immune system to react. It may lead to foggy brain, joint pain, fatigue, etc.


A way to prevent this is the way you cook it, so if it’s sprouted, soaked, cooked or fermented, it will minimize the adverse effects of lectins it may have in the body.



A type of sweetener obtained from wheat, potato corn, or rice utilized as a cheap substitute. It’s related to sweetening agents like crystalline fructose and high fructose corn syrup.


The issue with maltodextrin is that it came from genetically modified corn which contains toxic chemicals coming from pesticides. This can cause significant problems and damage vital organs such as kidney, lymphatic and digestive system, liver and bladder.


Health risks:

  • Infertility
  • Immunity problems
  • Insulin problems


L Aflatoxin is a mold produced by two types of mold called the Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These two molds have been linked to a wide range of health problems including:


  • cardiovascular issues nutrient deficiencies
  • gastrointestinal problem
  • growth impairment in children
  • impaired immune function


It is also considered to have a high risk of liver cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.


Peanut butter Allergy


Since peanuts are identified as one of the eight major allergens (along with tree nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, etc.), it must be avoided.


It is possible to obtain allergic reactions to peanut butter for the first time. There is a specific way at how it happens though. Even if there hasn’t been any allergic reaction to the nuts for the first time, it has been eaten the body produces antibodies are called immunoglobulin.


It is a protein produced by plasma cells and lymphocytes which attach to foreign substances, such as bacteria and assist in destroying them. Once the peanuts are ingested again, the immunoglobulins see the peanut protein and release several chemicals with a chemical called histamine, which generates a particular allergic response.  


Allergic reactions are due to exposure of peanuts. They can develop in different situations:


  • Direct contact. The usual cause of peanut allergy is consumption of peanuts or upfront contact on the skin.


  • Cross-contact. It is an accidental inclusion of peanuts in food or commodities. It’s generally the result of food left uncovered from peanuts during assembly.


  • Inhalation. An allergic response may take place when there are peanut particles present in the aerosol products such as peanut oil, cooking spray or peanut flour.

Common allergic reactions:


Inside the respiratory system, the allergic reactions are a runny nose, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes swollen lips, tongue, tightening of the throat, nasal congestion or labored breathing.


Other common skin reactions are skin rashes, itching, hives, eczema, redness or swelling.

The gastrointestinal system may also be affected and develop stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.


The severe reaction called anaphylaxis is life-threatening — It’s much worse if the victim has asthma or a family history of anaphylaxis. The blood pressure drops suddenly, and consciousness is lost. Seek an allergist/ immunologist for accurate diagnosis.


The Oily Truth

Peanut butter may and may not cause acne; depending on the type of peanut butter you eat. It also depends on a person’s reaction to peanuts. Basically, it is still dependent on hormone change which is caused by the peanut butter on individuals.


One thing for sure, anything that is overly consumed will have adverse effects to one’s health. Peanut butter should be eaten moderately especially if you think your skin is prone to acne growth.


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