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Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

The 5 Reasons to Avoid Caffeinated Peanut Butter Like the Plague

Touted as a pre-workout option, caffeinated peanut butter is just one of the many deceptive foods present on the market today. It wouldn't be such a huge problem if most of us didn't already have high caffeine intakes without added caffeine in our peanut butter.

The 5 Reasons to Avoid Caffeinated Peanut Butter Like the Plague


Touted as a pre-workout option, caffeinated peanut butter is just one of the many deceptive foods present on the market today.

Peanut butter is naturally caffeine-free, and contains mostly fat with some protein. Food manufacturers have decided to add a drug - a bit of white powder known as caffeine - to that natural peanut butter. It wouldn't be such a huge problem if most of us didn't already have high caffeine intakes without added caffeine in our peanut butter.

Many of us probably have a cup (or two) of our favorite joe in the morning, providing between 120-200mg of caffeine to our daily tally.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends limiting daily caffeine totals to between 300-400mg per day. Too much, and you might begin to feels shaky, jittery, anxious, nervous, and some people can experience diarrhea or acid reflux from too many caffeinated beverages.

Caffeinated peanut butter contains 120mg of caffeine in 1 serving - which 1 tablespoon. Let's be honest. How many of us go back for a second spoon of that smooth, buttery stuff? Do we even measure out what a tablespoon is? If you're like us, it's hard not to have a bit more. Peanut butter is one of those trouble foods that can be extremely hard to regulate because it's just so delicious.

To add insult to injury, food manufacturers have taken an addictive food - like peanut butter - and have added an addictive substance-caffeine-to it. Talk about too much of a good thing.

Hopefully most of us are not in danger of eating the entire container of peanut butter, but if we did we would be getting 1200mg of caffeine in the whole container - enough to cause heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and even chest pain.

Caffeine and Sleep

Depending on what time you grab your gym clothes to go sweat it out at the gym, if you have caffeine later in the day it can affect your ability to fall asleep. Caffeine peaks after about 1 hour of drinking a caffeinated beverage, and then it stays in the bloodstream an average of about 6 hours before your liver and kidneys break it down and excrete the byproducts. If you choose to have a spoonful of peanut butter at 5pm before your work out, then you might suffer from poor sleep quality, or be unable to fall asleep at bedtime.

Why you probably shouldn't have peanut butter prior to a workout

Peanut butter -with or without caffeine in it-is not the best option prior to a workout. First, peanut butter contains mostly fat with a little protein. If you are at a normal body weight, then this could be a good option. However that's not true for many. If you are trying to lose weight, eating fat prior to a workout stops your body from burning through the fat that is already in your bloodstream. You're doing yourself a disservice by eating peanut butter before a workout when you are trying to lose weight. A better pre-workout option would be a glass of milk, which has a few carbohydrates, and a bit of readily-absorbed protein.

Kids and Caffeine

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that adolescents should get no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day. So if your teenager makes a PB&J with a single serving (one tablespoon) of caffeinated peanut butter - then they are already getting too much caffeine for the day. Most kids already have a caffeinated soda or two during the day - so it could be unsafe to also serve them peanut butter with caffeine.

Save the Animals

Peanut butter is usually safe for animals, but caffeine is absolutely not. Some cats, dogs, birds and other animals have trouble digesting caffeine and so giving it to them in this way could cause serious health problems. So think twice before putting a smear of caffeinated peanut butter inside your dog's chewy ball toy. It just might do major damage to Fido's kidney's.

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