Here at Men’s Fitness, we really like peanut butter. And most Americans do too. Seriously—together, we eat 700 million pounds of peanut butter in a single year. So when we heard that a new variety of peanut is about to storm the market, we went straight to the research to find out what the change will mean.
The OLé Peanut, developed by the USDA with Oklahoma State University, will fill in the gaps that the original Spanish peanut leaves in the market. Like the Spanish peanut, the OLé has high oil content, and is packed with the healthy fats that make for creamy, rich peanut-butter. But unlike its natural counterpart, the new breed is resistant to many diseases and has a long shelf life that eliminates the need for preservatives.
The OLé peanut has a high ratio of oleic acid to linoleic acid. That’s a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid replacing a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 is critical for recovering from injury and infection, but it can work as a pro-inflammatory and interfere with the work of less common omega-3. Reducing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-9 means that omega-3’s can do their job better. Plus, the omega-9 in the new peanut can help to regulate cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.
Most peanut butter on the market now is made from natural Spanish peanuts, but research is ongoing for several new brands.
The new peanut butter probably won’t hit stores for at least another growing season, as the new seeds have just been released.
Correction: An earlier version of this post implied that the new variety of peanut is genetically modified. This has been corrected.