I eat peanut butter most days of the week. Hands down it makes one of the quickest and most nutritious and filling lunches when I need to fill up fast, packing in protein, B and E vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The fat content is up there but at least it’s a more heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Besides, reduced-fat peanut butters are sometimes hard to spread, too sweet, and really not worth the minus-5 fat grams off the regular that they offer. So I eat the real thing.
I couldn’t resist trying these low-fat peanut butters though: Better’n Peanut Butter (100 calories, 2 grams fat, 95 mg sodium per 2 tablespoons) and FitNutz (50 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 40 mg sodium). Regular peanut butter has about 190 calories, 18 grams fat, and 130 mg sodium. With food technology improving, I wondered if there was a small chance they could taste decent. But a spoonful straight up tasted odd, almost bizarre. I kept thinking “what am I eating?” The color was right, texture pretty close, but a big something was missing. If you remove a common ingredient from a food (i.e., fat from a usually high-fat food), it won't taste right. Reduced-fat peanut butters aren't too far off in taste because only a small amount of fat is removed and then extra sugar and salt is mixed in to help mask what’s lacking. Both of these low-fat peanut butters are low in sodium and sugar, so unfortunately nothing fills in the flavor gap.
I'm guessing that people who would eat low-fat peanut butter absolutely love the sticky spread but are desperate to cut calories. It's this love and desperation that helps create an illusion that they are actually enjoying it. I pass. My advice: eat the real thing in moderation. My favorite peanut butter is actually my Dad's: he stocks up on jars of roasted, unsalted peanuts on sale at CVS and blends them up. No added ingredients, yet nothing missing.