Is “Smart Balance” Peanut Butter Smart?

January 30, 2014   36 Comments

Snack Girl doesn’t like to do this type of post.

Smart Balance Review


The people at Smart Balance mailed me a container of peanut butter for review and I am going to have to flame it.

I am a very staunch supporter of peanut butter. I think it is healthy, tasty, and one of those processed foods (ground peanuts) that you can count on. I even wrote a very brilliant article entitled How To Choose Healthy Peanut Butter in order to guide consumers.

The advice in the article was simple. The ingredients list should look like this:


I know what you are thinking – where can I find such peanut butter. Everywhere! Smuckers, a national brand, sells Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter – their ingredients list is:

peanuts, contains 1% or less of salt

Pretty close, no?

What did Smart Balance do wrong? Here is a photo of the ingredient list:

SUGAR! See the sugar? Dried cane syrup and molasses. And they added oil which I believe is unnecessary.

If you like your peanut butter to be sweet, mix it with some jam, add a sliced banana or apple. You don’t need sugar in peanut butter.

This is one of the MANY examples of a product making that healthy promise – but missing the mark. I buy a peanut butter brand called “Teddy Bear”. It doesn’t make any promises and it is perfect.

Do you like Smart Balance?

This product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.

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The Smuckers Natural is awesome but my kid hates it. It's the lack of sugar and the texture. I love it so I'll keep buying it for me but I bought her skippy natural which has sugar and Palm oil. She eats it - which is the goal after all. I make up for it with home made jelly... It's the best I can do and that's good with me : )

I've tried this peanut butter and after a couple of days it smells! I threw out the jar of it. Plus it's deceiving because you think it's healthy and they throw in all of that sugar and other crap!

I shop at Kroger and they have a natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) that only has peanuts in it. It's really good. I use it as a dip for celery and carrots. You have to carefully read the product labels, even when it says "natural" or "organic".

i did not know there is so many considerations to be made regarding peanut butter, now i know better... pun not intended...

I get a brand Krema, is excellent, only peanuts listed, 0 sodium,2 sugar, not added, 7 carbs, 190 calories, 150 fat, has very good taste and texture... Can only find at Kroger here in Salem, va......highly recommend.

I love Teddy peanut butter above and beyond all others. They have one with flaxseed as a bonus and it is delicious and the texture change is barely noticeable. My 12 and 14 year-old like it, too. It is a product made locally to us, too which I try to promote whenever I can.

Never bought Smart Balance, never will !

for people whose kids won't eat "natural" peanut idea is to slowly start mixing natural with the sugared kind...and gradually decrease the amount of sugary peanut butter. My daughter now actually prefers the natural kind, but it took a while to get her taste buds used to no sugar!

Smuckers also makes a no salt version which is my fave PB.

I thought the point of Smart Balance products was to help control cholesterol, not be a perfect pure food. Keep people off medication. Etc.

A store I shop at has a nut grinder for peanuts and for almonds. You grind your own & the amount you want. I love the texture. Nothing added. No oil separation. At first I added some salt when I got home. Now I don't even miss the salt. I agree it might take time to acquire the taste. For me there is no going back to a jar. Also, it's a discount store so not expensive. I am addicted to it so I have to weigh out my daily allotment.

Kroger natural peanut butter is the BEST. I like the crunchy, but my husband and daughter like the creamy. It is much smoother than Smuckers and tastes much better too. As a Zoo educator it is my job to speak for the orangutans - please make conscious choices and try to avoid products containing palm oil - if that isn't possible please choose products that are certified sustainable and safe. Here is a link to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Palm Oil Crisis page and it contains a link to the app store so you can have tools right at your fingertips to make wise choices!

Years ago I met a gent who managed the Boston Food Bank and he turned me on to "Teddie's. He pointed out it was the only peanut butter on the market that has peanuts certified U.S. grown-- not imported from other countries. There are two ingredients in their regular butter -- peanuts & salt. Or, unsalted is available. We love it -- it's the real taste of peanuts, and if you place the jar upside-down when you bring it home from the market, the natural oil wends its way through the butter and there is very little stirring that needs to be done when you open it. So yummy!

Marlene, I never thought to place the jar upside down, that is a brilliant tip. Thank you.

Thanks for this post. I am bothered by the rewording of ingredient names to trick people into thinking they are healthy or wholesome. In this case, 'natural oils / palm fruit oil'. Thanks again. I enjoy your blog.

PB2 is my fav!!! Use for sandwiches, dipping apples, celery!!


When I need real PB (grandson visiting) I go for Krema - which I love. Since I have a hard time restricting myself to an appropriate amount of PB, I keep PB2 in the house. The chocolate variety tastes nuttier to me; it's not nearly as good as the real thing, but it does the trick.

You must be careful while reading the labels! "Smart" balance isn't always smart, and Skippy All Natural still has added sugar. Even the Peanutbutter and Co. that is all organic still contains added sugar (which is why it is so delicious :) ). Notice that in supermarkets the cheaper the PB is, the more sugar/ingredients it contains. Name brand stores like Wegmans and Topps charge as low as $2.50 for PB sometimes, where Teddy's/All Natural Smuckers is close to $4 a jar.

I also eat a lot of peanut butter, but I exclusively eat the fresh-ground stuff. It is delicious and has just that one essential ingredient: peanuts!

Never heard of Krema or Teddy - are they US brands?

PB2 or Betty Lou's JUST GREAT STUFF powdered peanut butter - I like them both better without adding the water. I measure out two tablespoons (45 calories) and dip my apple slices in the powder every single day! DELICIOUS!!

Both can be purchased on Amazon, but the Just Great Stuff is also in many grocery stores like Kings.

Having read your previous post on peanut butter, I find it humorous that they sent you a sample to review. Looking forward to reading your book!

I make my own peanut butter however I do add oil just not a lot. I didn't like the texture without the oil. Trust me you really don't have to add a lot at all. I add also maybe a 1/4 tsp salt to help enhance flavor. Plus, it is fun to make your own. You can add whatever you like.

So happy to see the shoutout for Teddie peanut butter, made right here in Massachusetts. I really appreciate your stance against processed foods. You understand, as few seem to do, that low fat, sugar free, etc., do not necessarily equal healthy.

I too eat Teddie PB!! I get the unsalted smooth old fashioned with the only ingredient being "Roasted Peanuts". It's the only PB my 5yo eats too. I just don't understand why food manufacturers put sugar in PB. Here's the Teddie site...

Jeanne great idea to get the kids use to the natural p.b. Also I don't have any in the house but doesn't PB2 have sugar in it? Please remember it's good fat. You need fat to be healthy. Years ago I went on the low fat craze and had to have gallbladder out because of it.

Telling your public the honest truth is not a flame. I eat jiff whipped peanut butter - I know it isn't perfect but it goes on my vans power grains waffle so smoothly. I also adore better n peanut butter - but I'm not sure what exactly it is. I've read the label but that was long ago before I scrutinized labels.

Have you ever made jam? It's more sugar than fruit. I'd rather have a little sugar in my peanut butter that a ton of sugar in my fruit.

So Smart Balance isn't ok because it has sugar, but PB2 is ok even though it has sugar?

One of the great thing is life was discovering peanut butter without sugar. I grew up on peter pan PB. I had no idea is should taste different. The first time I tried Smuckers natural PB I didn't like it. Over several years it grew on me and I will never go back. I'll concur with the commenter above that Kroger makes a good inexpensive natural PB. Whole Foods also had a great priced option.

I have been using Laura Scudder's unsalted natural peanut butter for years. It only has one ingredient, "peanuts". It is also available salted. It costs about $4 a jar but I don't mind paying a little bit more for a healthier product.

Victoria -- I have never heard of Krema brand either, but Teddie Peanut Butter is very common here on the east coast (Boston area). I think it's neat that there is a small American flag on the back label -- only U.S. grown peanuts.

I buy Crazy Richard's from Shoprite - contains only peanuts. Am trying to eliminate added sugar as much as possible. Noticed Smart Balance and others contain ingredients I don't need. I usually use a fruit spread with my peanut butter for a sweeter taste, or you can use honey, as I heard an English woman commenting on the bus about how we have peanut butter and jelly.

One more kudo for Teddie Peanut Butter. In addition to being an All Natural PB, Teddie is a non-gmo, gluten free product. All products are from USA. Teddie is a 3rd generation FAMILY owned and operated company in Massachusetts--I like that !!!!. Teddie also comes in organic--I like that too.

Smart Balance PB has 3 grams of added sugar - that is not a lot. It tastes great, though! The added healthy oils not only give it the Omega 3s that are heart healthy, but they give it a smooth, creamy consistency. The 3 grams of sugar on this PB is ALL the sugar I eat on a daily basis so I'm not worried about it. I've tried a number of different brands to find the one that with the best nutritional profile AND the best taste, and this is the one. The pure "peanuts and salt" versions are good, but just not as creamy and satisfying as Smart Balance. So I accept the trace of sugar and the healthy fats which make this one more palatable and enjoyable.

It would be good if you could actually taste the PB. Way way too much salt! All I taste is SALT. Please make some with a whole lot less salt. Like 50mg or even LESS. Best PB is the kind they make with NO sugar & NO salt by grinding it at the grocery stores like Publix or Ingles. It is sometimes easier to have a jar with a lid instead of the plastic weird containers they use, however! Thank You & Please Have A Very Nice Day! & please make some PB without the salt & goo...

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