Bulking up can be a real challenge for some people.
Attempting to eat large quantities of food all day every day can become very difficult, especially for those with naturally small appetites.
Thankfully, certain foods contain a few more calories than others, while still allowing us to maintain a healthy diet and reach our goals
One food that is often used for a bulking phase is peanut butter and while it’s often utilized, is peanut butter good for bulking or is it a food you should be avoiding?
What is Peanut Butter?
For those of you that don’t know, peanut butter is a nut butter made from ground up dry peanuts. You may see it used on toast, used in a P&J sandwich, or even in a high-calorie protein shake.
The main reason for its popularity on bulking diets though is its macros.
Peanut butter contains roughly 4 grams of protein per tablespoon and about 600 calories per 100g, depending on brand and consistency. Not to forget its great natural fats and sugars.
How Many Calories Are in Peanut Butter?
To be more specific, here are the exact calories within 100g of peanut butter.
|100g crunchy peanut butter||616||50.2 g||11.8 g||26.7 g|
|100g smooth peanut butter||639||53.4 g||13.7 g||25.6 g|
The most common way to consume peanut butter when it comes to bulking is by putting it in a protein shake. Most people would recommend roughly 2 tablespoons to start with, which still equals around 200 calories and an extra 8 grams of protein to your shake.
The more traditional way would be on toast or in a sandwich, which when accompanied by 2 slices of bread (about 100 calories each) is still a great way to add easily digestible calories to your meal plan.
Is Peanut Butter Good for Bulking?
In short, yes, peanut butter is good for bulking as it can be a great way to get in excess calories needed to gain weight. But like most food, it is only good in moderation and when accompanied by a healthy diet incorporating clean food.
It is highly calorific, so while most of the calories in it are healthy, some saturated fats can lead to unwanted fat gain if eaten too much, or you find it easy to gain mass.
I would recommend starting with around 2 tablespoons (about 32g) a day, consumed how you wish. This will help you give a feel for how easy it is to consume, whether you like it, and how it impacts your weight without damaging your diet.
If you see good results and really want to increase your intake, try adding a tiny bit more to your day while also watching your weight carefully to ensure that you don’t go too far and start gaining unwanted fat.
The main attraction to the food is how calorie-dense it is.
It may take roughly 4/5 bananas to achieve the same calorie intake as a peanut butter sandwich, however, the bananas would be a much healthier option.
So from a volume perspective, peanut butter is perfect if you have a low appetite and are already struggling to reach your calorie goals for the day, but needs to be eaten alongside more healthy foods and an active lifestyle (whether that be fitness or sports).
On the other hand, for someone that has an average/low metabolism and doesn’t see much difficulty in consuming their daily calorie goals; it’s unneeded.
For someone already reaching their goals, the excess sugars and fats are just unnecessary. It would make more sense to stick with cleaner, more nutritious foods while working towards your goals.
However, if you find yourself running out of hours in a day and need to get the last few calories in, then peanut butter could be your savior.
How to Eat Peanut Butter When Bulking
When it comes to incorporating it into your diet, I would choose the form that you find most enjoyable and suitable for your lifestyle. If you live a busy life with not a lot of spare time, maybe a sandwich, or a bowl of warmed oats would make the most sense.
Related – Are oats good for bulking
However, there are much more creative yet slightly more time-consuming ways of intaking the calorie-dense food.
If spare time is not an issue, maybe baking it into a protein bar alongside other nuts or oats would work for you. One google search would introduce you to a variety of protein bar or ball recipes that may suit your liking.
If appetite is your main concern, then I believe the best form would be a few tablespoons in a protein shake.
It is proven that liquid calories are much easier to intake, and if the shake is already in your meal plan, you will barely notice it’s even there. The main thing is eating it in a form you like, because if you don’t like it then you won’t eat it!
Peanut Butter Alternatives
For many people, peanut butter is simply not an option when it comes to incorporating it into a diet. This can be for many reasons such as allergies or just not liking the taste. Therefore, here are some alternatives.
The obvious yet far more unhealthy option is Nutella or any other hazelnut spread.
They have a similar amount of calories per 100g which is great for gaining weight however Nutella does contain a lot more sugar and unnatural fats than peanut butter, making it to be more unhealthy.
Sunflower butter is a great alternative as it can be consumed by people that are not only allergic to peanuts but also tree nuts. On the other hand, if you are only allergic to peanuts then other nut-based butter. such as almond butter are great options.
Finally, you can look at some other nut-butter alternatives. Cashew butter is slightly lower in calories and has a more favorable macro profile. The nutritional value per 100g of cashew butter is:
|100g Cashew Butter||587||49g||28g||18g|
Protein and calories may be lower but the macro ratios are more balanced.
To finalize, there are several factors to take into consideration when deciding whether peanut butter is not only good for bulking but also good for your diet.
Some of these things include whether you like it or not, how easily you gain weight, your appetite, and your allergies.
I would say that if you have a high metabolism, alongside a small appetite, then peanut butter would be a great addition to your diet when bulking.
Having a peanut butter sandwich before or after work is a great way to get in 400 calories while adding it to your shake can be less time-consuming and also more digestible.
However, this needs to be kept in moderation. If you allow yourself to get carried away, you may experience some unwanted fat gain that will just take more time to burn off depending on your goals.
So try it out, put a tablespoon in your shake, and see if your weight gain changes after a week. There is no harm in trying it. And if you don’t like it, try out one of the alternatives listed above. However, if you do like it, be sure to watch how much and how often you eat it.
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