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Should I eat Peanut Butter Before bed?

Eat Peanut Butter Before Bed

Peanut butter before bed has become quite the holy grail within the fitness world. Whether you are trying to build muscle, or deep into your calorie deficit, it is a healthy fat source that can be the perfect snack to supplement a healthy diet, especially those who are on a keto diet looking to supplement their protein intake. Yet, for those that are jumping on the bandwagon and choose to eat peanut butter, knowing the exact health benefits of what comes from this bedtime snack is essential. For that very reason, within today’s blog post, I will be explaining exactly why eating peanut butter helps, and why you should eat it before going to bed.

Sure, peanut butter does have more calories than other snack alternatives that are out there, it can be added to your diet intuitively to aid weight loss, fat loss, and muscle building. Keep on reading to understand why you will never want to part with this perfect bedtime snack again!

Is peanut butter really healthy?

Is peanut butter really healthy?Peanut butter is a great snack because it contains healthy fat (polyunsaturated) for its main macronutrient. In addition to that healthy fats, there is a source of protein, which is great for vegans and vegetarians that are struggling in sourcing plant based protein. In terms of micronutrients, peanuts are rich in Vitamin E and Arginine, which are essential to build muscles.

When looking at the exact energy content of this world renowned spread, peanut butter has within each 100 gram portion, 22 grams of carbohydrates- with 5% of that content being dietary fibre. In addition to this, there are 26.5 grams of protein, which of course is very dense in comparison to alternative plant based proteins out there. Furthermore, for the highest percentage of calories within this snack, 72% of it comes from fats, with each portion equating to 51 grams of fat in total. [1]

In essence, peanut butter is really healthy and a great snacking option to reach out for, provided that you account for the calories per weighted serving that you take. Therefore by ensuring you track the moderate amount that you eat, there is no problem at all with indulging in it. Just make sure that you are opting for the purest forms of protein butter, that are just mainly vegetable oil (like coconut oil), the roasted nut itself and no added sugar. Often large franchises like MyProtein will select sugar alternatives such as honey, as a way of sweetening up the peanut butter itself, without making it a bad source of nutrition. Eating foods with added sugar and trans fatty foods has been linked to multiple health conditions like heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses. [1]

Is it good to eat peanut butter before bed?

So, down to answering the main question in a nutshell, what are the properties and health benefits that come with eating peanut butter before bed? The benefits include factors such as improved sleep quality/a good night’s sleep, less late night cravings, improved digestion, a health booster, and much, much more. All the health benefits are listed down below.

7 Benefits of eating peanut butter before bed

1. A large source of protein

Source of proteinAs I mentioned briefly above, the major micronutrient within peanut butter is the protein content. With 26 grams of protein per 100 grams, you cannot really go wrong-especially if you are in the process of trying to build muscle for example (I will get on to that later). When you sleep, your body can often attack your muscle reserves for a source of energy, via Ketogenesis. By taking peanut butter before bed, the protein within the spread will be released slowly throughout the night and support sustaining your existing muscle mass.

However, due to peanuts belonging to the legume family, it is pretty low on the essential amino acid methionine. Usually, animal protein is the best place to source amino acid derivatives like cysteine and methionine. Currently, methionine animal studies have come to the idea that this essential amino acid contributes to lengthened life span. Yet, due to the fact that there are not many human studies to support this, the results are still inconclusive. [1]

Should you consider using peanut butter as your main plant based protein source, do consider taking supplements to source the essential animal protein. Deficiencies in these proteins can affect metabolism and protein synthesis in the long run.

2. Low in carbohydrates

Calling all Keto diet followers! Yes good news, peanut butter is a great snack for your body, and for most people who are on a Keto diet, reaching for your peanut butter jar will bring great benefits such as low blood sugar levels throughout the day. Peanut butter makes sure that your blood sugars sustain themselves without too much fluctuation. Meaning, your insulin levels will stay put, which is not something common for carbohydrate dense diets. Peanut butter stabilising your insulin means that diabetes sufferers can enjoy peanut butter, however, most importantly hunger hormones such as ghrelin and leptin are kept at bay. You can essentially say hello to satiety, and goodbye to any more cravings before you sleep, and when you wake up!

3. Healthy high fat source

Olive OilSo, you are probably aware by now that peanut butter is a high source of healthy fats. Of course with the 55 grams of fat in every 100g serving, comes the hefty dose of extra calories too. You may think that this should be a food that you need to avoid, especially if you are in a calorie deficit. However, this is where I stop you right there.

Peanut butter has been proven to aid an improved insulin sensitivity-especially when eating it before bed! The Oleic acid within the spread is responsible for that. Furthermore, due to the stabilisation of insulin, your general energy levels will be massively consistent throughout the day/night, but especially when you wake up in the morning. You should feel fresh, ready to go and not raging with hunger in the morning, due to this very reason.

4. Muscle building

You know how I mentioned that eating peanut butter helps with sustaining muscle mass within the body when you sleep? Well, it can also aid with the muscle building process too. When you eat peanut butter before you sleep, especially when you are on a muscle building programme, your body will repair, heal and grow bigger as you sleep! Sleeping without eating the right protein before bed can really hinder the muscle building process, due to the fasted state your body goes through. If you are not too keen on taking protein supplements like Casein for example, you can count on peanut butter being a great slow absorbing alternative.

Peanut butter aids muscle building

5. Improves your ability to fall asleep and the overall quality of sleep cycle

Who can ever say here that a restful sleep is not important? Peanut butter may be the solution to those that wish to fall asleep faster, and have a better deep sleep overall. You may be thinking how? Well, within peanut butter is the amino acid tryptophan. This essential branched chain amino acid serves other functions beyond protein synthesis. It can also be converted into 5-HTP, to make melatonin and serotonin. These compounds are key for brain and intestinal functions, and can influence the sleeping quality of your sleep cycle. By having a small portion of peanut butter, you will fall asleep faster and get a good night’s sleep before you know it. [2]

6. Improves mental health and wellbeing

Oh, did I mention that peanut butter acts as an antidepressant too? In fact, those who consume peanut butter are at less risk of depression, due to the serotonin and its effects on your mood and mental well being. The phytonutrients within the peanut butter will also act as anxiety relief too. It has been clinically proven to stabilise the cortisol hormone responsible for stress and anxiety that can be generated within the body. [3] Therefore, in an attempt to reduce all the negative feelings such as anxiety, stress and depression, why don’t you incorporate peanut butter and see the difference that it can make to your overall quality of life?

7. Weight loss and raised basal metabolic rate

Peanut butter aid weight loss and raised basal metabolic rateYou may be wondering, how could peanut butter ever aid anyone in their goal to lose weight, when it has such a high energy content? Well, by having just a small portion before bed, you would be keeping your body weight in check for the long-term. Research shows that peanut consumption resulted in lower body mass index in both adults and children, due to satiety achieved from the dietary fibre content within them, that prevented further snacking and indulgence later on throughout the day. [4] In addition to this, nut butters require large amounts of energy to digest, meaning if you happen to consume them before bed, you would increase thermogenesis within your body as you sleep, meaning you burn calories and energy at a greater capacity overall while you get that beauty sleep. Who knew that fat burning could be achieved through eating peanut butter, right?

It is very important that you do not underestimate exactly what the energy content of your peanut butter carries. Two tablespoons can be as much as 200 calories. So, while it certainly can keep you fuller for longer and the ability to wake up without any morning cravings, make sure you weigh out your servings so you know exactly what you are eating. Too much peanut butter that doesn’t match your level of energy expenditure will result in weight gain-even if you do happen to eat before bed.

How do I incorporate peanut butter into my every day diet?

Okay, so first and foremost, you will need to address what your goals are for you and your body. Incorporating peanut butter into your diet will depend on whether you are looking to gain weight and build muscles, or if you wish to lean down and lose weight. Being on a bulk means you will obviously be eating more calories and can afford to indulge in more of this high protein/fat-based snack. Losing weight however, will need you to really pay attention to your calories and not be too generous when it comes to servings. People shy away from eating peanut butter when cutting. However, with the meal ideas down below, you will still be able to get the full benefits from eating peanut butter before bed, and stick to your strict body driven goals!

Bulking and muscle building meal ideas

Baked Peanut Butter Oats

FYI

This meal is great if you have a sweet tooth, yet you are wanting to make sure that you are still hitting your macros without adding too much sugar content.

Baked peanut butter oats

This meal will constitute a great supper or dessert before bed. Say goodbye to cravings, and hello to a satisfied and fulfilled full stomach.

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg
  • 250ml of almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 2 Cups of oats
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate flakes
  • 80 Grams of peanut butter
  • 2 Scoops of protein powder of choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a baking dish with some cooking spray.
  2. Combine all the ingredients and stir until emulsified within a bowl.
  3. Pour the entire batter into the baking dish and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the mixture appears golden.

Peanut butter banana protein shake

Peanut butter banana protein shake

If you have been hitting the weights hard and you are wanting to drink something to settle your stomach before falling asleep and calling it a night, this shake is the perfect addition.

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana
  • 250ml of almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2 Scoops of protein powder of choice

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients within a blender and serve once thoroughly mixed.

Weight loss and cutting meal ideas

Apple peanut butter bites

Apple peanut butter bites

Apple and peanut butter is the perfect snack combination that can be eaten to achieve the extra protein needed before bed or any other time of the day!

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple sliced in halves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoon of protein yogurt

Instructions

  1. Place the peanut butter, protein yogurt and cinnamon within a bowl and mix together.
  2. Add the mixture within the core of the apple halves and enjoy!

Banana peanut butter bites

Banana peanut butter bites

If apples are not your thing, you can count yourself lucky with this alternative delicious recipe. Maybe you’re watching a movie before bed, therefore, eating something healthy and filled with protein seems like a perfectly good idea, right?

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana sliced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoon of protein yogurt

Instructions

  1. Place the peanut butter, protein yogurt and cinnamon within a bowl and mix together.
  2. Dip the sliced banana in the mixture and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is best to eat peanut butter?

The best time to eat peanut butter is before bed. The protein content within the food source is slow absorbing, meaning you can sustain your muscles during the fasted sleeping state. However, most importantly, the serotonin and melatonin created from the protein amino chains, will allow you to have better sleep quality overall.

Is it bad to eat peanut butter every night?

Not at all! Eating peanut butter every night before bed can promote great quality of sleep, as well as promote muscle growth and sustenance as you sleep. Keeping your calories in check however, is super important, as you can gain weight unintentionally otherwise.

Is peanut butter a good late night snack?

Peanut butter is the perfect late night snack if you are feeling a little peckish. Due to its macronutrient content, it can regulate blood sugar levels, hormones and can actually promote fat burning as you sleep, because of the energy needed to digest it. You are less likely to wake up hungry or have cravings when eating peanut butter before bed.

 

References

  1. Gunnars, K. and Link, R., 2021. Is Peanut Butter Bad for You, or Good? A Look at the Evidence. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-peanut-butter-bad-for-you#what-it-is> [Accessed 12 July 2021].
  2. Tinsley, G., 2018. How Tryptophan Boosts Your Sleep Quality and Mood. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tryptophan> [Accessed 12 July 2021].
  3. Whelan, C., 2018. Craving Peanut Butter: What Does It Mean?. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/craving-peanut-butter#causes> [Accessed 12 July 2021].
  4. Liu, X., Li, Y., Guasch-Ferré, M., Willett, W., Drouin-Chartier, J., Bhupathiraju, S. and Tobias, D., 2019. Changes in nut consumption influence long-term weight change in US men and women. [online] Available at: <https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/early/2019/08/27/bmjnph-2019-000034> [Accessed 12 July 2021].

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