The Real Reason You're Craving Peanut Butter

More than 297 million Americans ate peanut butter in 2019 (via Statista). And honestly, it's a mystery how the remaining Americans who abstained from the spread survived. Even moon jellyfish that have eaten peanut butter were better for it. And don't try to deny that it seems to go with everything. Pad Thai, protein smoothies, brownies, ice cream, oatmeal, hamburgers, and even salad dressings are better with a bit of peanut butter

Peanut butter is an Olympic-diet staple. Just ask Simone Biles. The awe-inspiring Olympic gymnast reportedly eats peanut butter and bananas before her workouts (via Business Insider). And if being the most-decorated American gymnast in sports history is anything to go on, then it works. No wonder. Peanut butter is full of protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins B and E (via BBC). 

So unless you have a peanut allergy or Arachibutyrophobia (the very real fear of having peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth), there aren't many good excuses not to have a stockpile of the spread in your pantry (via Verywell Mind). But if you find yourself craving peanut butter, there are good explanations for that. 

The surprising reason one spoonful of peanut butter is never enough

Just how has peanut butter become a collective, US American craving?  In part, it's got to do with the fact that the nutty spread is an almost perfect combination of salty, sweet, and fatty (via HuffPost). That means, like other sweet and salty foods, eating a bite of peanut butter is likely to provoke the release of dopamine (via Cleveland Clinic). That same hormone gets released when people fall in love (via Harvard Medical School). 

The second reason that you struggle with peanut butter cravings? It's all about the texture. Peanut butter is extremely chewable. "Things that are creamy without much chewing needed aren't as filling as foods that have more chewing involved," explained registered dietitian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. Of course, this has the downside of making it extremely easy to overeat peanut butter.

Our advice? The next time you're hungering for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, stay away from white bread. White bread is refined (via Verywell Fit) and very soft (read: ultra-chewable), and  consuming it may spike your blood sugar and trigger cravings (via the Chicago Tribune). Instead of Wonder Bread, consider pairing your peanut butter with a chewier multi-grain or whole wheat loaf.