Peanut Butter: How Does It Help You Gain Muscle Mass

November 18, 2022

Peanut butter is a great source of protein, but it is also rich in healthy fats and low in sugars. This makes it an ideal food if you are trying to gain muscle mass.

Look at the peanut butter label and buy the one that contains only peanuts and does not contain palm oil or other oils, salt, or sugars.

Peanut butter, a common food in the United States, has become popular worldwide, and more and more people are including it in their diet, especially to gain muscle after exercising.

We have analyzed the properties of this food and to what extent it helps you to gain muscle mass.

What does peanut butter provide your body with?

If you intend to include this food in your diet, the first thing to take into account when you buy it is that it is 100% natural. 

Look at the label and make sure it contains only peanuts and no palm oil or other oils, salt, or sugars. Nowadays, both top brands and supermarket private labels offer quality products.

To get an idea of what peanut butter provides us with, it is enough to check its nutritional composition per 100 grams of the food. 

Why do you lose protein during a workout?

When we exercise, micro-breaks occur in the proteins of muscle cells. Muscle glycogen reserves that we store from carbohydrates are also consumed.

Therefore, after exercise, it is in our interest to take protein to repair the destruction that has occurred during muscle work, and it is also in our interest to consume carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores.

That is why post-workout meals should provide high biological-quality proteins accompanied by carbohydrates. In addition, the amino acids in proteins pass through the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream much better if they are accompanied by carbohydrates.

Right after exercise, you should immediately drink some shakes rich in protein and carbohydrates so that the muscle recovers well.

You don't have to rush to take protein, but if you exercise, you should make sure you get a good supply of this nutrient and carbohydrates on the same day you do the activity. And peanut butter can help you do this.

How much protein do you need if you exercise?

For a long time, it was believed that the ideal amount of protein per day was 2 g per kg of a person's weight, since exceeding this amount could be harmful to the liver or kidney.

Currently, this threshold of 2 g of protein per kg of weight per day has disappeared, and everything depends on the muscle size and the amount and intensity of the physical exercise performed.

However, what is key is that the proteins are of high biological quality, containing all the essential amino acids to repair the muscle protein destroyed during exercise. 

Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids: 9 are essential because the body cannot manufacture them, and they must be introduced through the diet. Therefore, it is important that the protein we take contains these essential amino acids and in the right proportion. Whey is a good example of this, which is why protein shakes are made from this food.

Peanut butter: healthy protein source

Up to this point, peanut butter would pass the test because it contains all the essential amino acids, but another factor must be taken into account: the bioavailability of these proteins, and to what extent they pass through the intestine and are used by the body.

Whey has a bioavailability of 100, while peanut butter has a bioavailability of 43 because of the fiber it contains, which does not allow it to cross the intestinal barrier so easily, although this does not mean that peanut butter is not a good source of protein for repairing and gaining muscle mass.

Peanut butter fat: good and bad

The only problem with peanut butter is its fat content, even though much of that fat is healthy.

Fat slows down gastric emptying, which is why protein shakes you drink right after exercise are fat-free so that they are absorbed quickly.

Therefore, if you are looking for fast muscle repair, peanut butter would not be the most suitable food because it is digested slowly due to its high-fat content. 

In this sense, an alternative is defatted roasted peanut powder, which does ensure rapid absorption of protein after ingestion.

But the fat in peanut butter can also be an advantage. When trying to gain muscle mass by strength training, you need a good energy intake and peanut butter is very caloric. That's why it's a good and inexpensive source of protein that you can eat throughout the day if you want to build muscle mass.

With just two tablespoons of peanut butter (30 grams), you get 10 grams of protein and 200 calories. Not many foods provide so much protein in such a small amount. 

Final Word

Peanut butter is an excellent protein source for working-out enthusiasts, providing 5 g of protein per tablespoon of product. 

However, it is also high in fats that don't digest as fast, so don't exaggerate its intake.