Here’s exactly what happens to your body if you eat Peanut Butter and Jelly every day

The Report Desk

Published: May 2, 2024, 11:15 AM

Here’s exactly what happens to your body if you eat Peanut Butter and Jelly every day

Representational Image

Peanut butter and jelly may have been your go-to lunch as a child (cut into four triangles and never squares, obviously). And if you find yourself gravitating toward it as an adult, too. We don‍‍`t blame you. It‍‍`s delicious.

But if you‍‍`re eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day, is that a problem? Good question.

"Knowing how foods affect you can be a great way to determine what foods to include or exclude in your diet," says Rhyan Geiger, RDN, the owner of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian. "For example, if a food causes gastrointestinal issues every time you eat it, it may be best to exclude it. On the other hand, if you eat a certain food often and have no symptoms, including it more often wouldn’t be an issue."

What about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? They taste good and may provide a heaping helping of nostalgia, but are good-ole PB and Js healthy?

"Generally speaking, there’s nothing inherently bad or unhealthy about PB&Js," says Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, of Street Smart Nutrition. "The combination of bread, peanut butter, and jelly hits all the necessary macronutrients—carbs, protein, fat—and can provide smaller amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are also important."

The biggest concern is allergies, which can cause severe and even life-threatening reactions, Harbstreet says. However, if you and the people around you don‍‍`t have an allergy, eating PB&J every day is on the table. What might it mean for your health? Experts share their thoughts on what happens to your body if you eat peanut butter and jelly every day—here‍‍`s what you should know.

7 Things That (Could) Happen To Your Body If You Eat Peanut Butter and Jelly Every Day

1. You might be less stressed out

Yep, we‍‍`re starting with the mental perk of eating PB&J daily—the mind is part of the body, after all. Eating the same thing daily offers predictability, which might be your jam, especially when peanut butter and jelly is involved.

"Eating the same thing every day—in this case, PB&J—can help you create a...comfortable or safe routine," Harbstreet says. "This can be helpful for anyone with a chaotic schedule, limited time, disinterest or apathy towards meals or sensory challenges around eating."

2. You also might get bored

While some crave predictability, others lean into the whole "variety-is-the-spice-of-life" idea.

"With PB&J being as simple as it is, there’s not much opportunity to mix things up," Harbstreet says. "This could quickly lead to a sense of repetition, which you may not enjoy if you prefer more variety or excitement in your meals."

3. You‍‍`ll probably stay full longer

Peanut butter may reduce cravings and actually help you consume fewer calories throughout the day. "Peanut butter has both fiber and protein, helping to keep you feeling full for longer, which can reduce unnecessary snacking later," Geiger says.

According to the USDA‍‍`s FoodData Central, one serving of peanut butter has more than 10 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

4. Your digestion could improve

Speaking of fiber, peanut butter and jelly can keep your gut healthy and your bowel movements regular. "Not only are peanuts high in fiber, but they also contain a good amount of niacin, which can help aid digestion," Geiger says.

Cleveland Clinic notes that one of the many benefits of a diet with adequate fiber includes reduced GI issues, including constipation and hemorrhoids. However, keep in mind that peanut butter has two grams of fiber, so that alone won‍‍`t get you to the daily recommended value of around 25 to 30 grams.

"The fiber content is low in peanut butter," Destini Moody, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian specializing in sports performance, body composition changes and injury recovery with Top Nutrition Coaching, says. People can also increase the fiber content of a PB&J but using whole wheat instead of white bread.

5. You may experience blood sugar fluctuations

Harbstreet says some people, such as people with pre-diabetes or diabetes, may need to pay attention to the impact PB&J has on blood glucose levels.

"A pattern could emerge with daily consumption, cluing you into the unique way your body responds to the sugar and carbohydrates in PB&J," she says. "This might be helpful for predicting an increase, and thus indicating a change is needed for medications or insulin."

However, everyone‍‍`s body is different, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have some elements that could help stabilize blood sugar. "Because peanuts contain fiber and protein, they can help stabilize blood sugar and prevent it from rising quickly," Geiger says. "They are also a low-glycemic food, which can be helpful if you want to help manage blood sugar levels."

Monitoring your levels (if needed) and speaking with your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you customize your meal plans.

6. Weight gain is a possibility

Weight gain isn‍‍`t always a bad thing or cause for concern. However, it can be something some people may need to watch out for. And unfortunately, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day could prompt weight gain.

"Peanuts, while high in healthy fats, are also higher in calories, and overdoing it on peanut butter may lead to weight gain with overconsumption," Geiger says.

Another RD agrees. "One serving of peanut butter is 220 calories, 1 tablespoon of grape jelly is about 50 calories and, depending on the size of the bread, it can add another 230 calories," says Moody. "This makes a 550-calorie meal."

While research published in 2022 noted that people with high cardiometabolic risk experienced weight gain but no increases in body fat or BMI after peanut intervention, another extensive study of nearly 100,000 people in 2019 indicated that people who consumed peanuts had lower odds of being overweight or obese.

In short, your mileage may vary. Sticking to serving sizes, such as two tablespoons of peanut butter, can help ensure a well-balanced diet.

7. You could experience a heart-healthy boost

Yes, peanut butter contains fat, but its nutrient profile may also help protect your ticker.

"Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in peanuts are beneficial against heart disease," Geiger says. One 2015 study suggested people with higher nut intakes had lower risks of dying from heart disease.

How Much Peanut Butter Is Too Much?

That‍‍`s a tricky one to answer. "What seems like too much for one person might feel like not enough to someone else," Harbstreet explains. "Generally speaking, a greater variety in the number and types of foods we eat is associated with higher overall diet quality."

TL;DR: "You cross the too-much threshold when it starts to displace other foods in your diet," Harbstreet says. "No nutrition professional will recommend eating any food — PB&J or otherwise — for every meal, every day. Don’t take it to extremes, but know that if it’s a food you enjoy, can afford, and want to have, you can safely include it multiple times per week with no major concerns."

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?

Generally, yes, but some top tips can help you get the most benefits from eating PB&Js regularly. "To start, look for a whole grain or whole wheat bread for some added fiber," Harbstreet says. "Most Americans only eat about half of the recommended daily amount of fiber, so every gram counts."

Also, Harbstreet recommends considering breads that are lower in sodium and without added sugar—ditto for your peanut butter of choice. Let‍‍`s not forget about the "J" in PB&J.

"Many types of jelly rely on added sugar for sweetness," Harbstreet says. While not necessarily a bad thing on its own, you might consider looking for a lower sugar option if you eat or drink a lot of added sugar from other sources regularly."

Want to get fancy? "Instead of using a store-bought jelly, try mashing fruit with lemon juice and chia seeds to make a filling, healthy jelly at home," Geiger says. Sounds pretty good to us!

Link copied!