Is peanut butter a good source of protein (1 tablespoon & 1/2 banana) or just too much fat? What type of cheese has the best protein and least amount of fat? I know I need fat in my diet, but I get that from animal protein and hummus.

– Anne F.


Peanut butter is richer in fat than it is protein by two-fold! It’s comparable to other nut spreads like almond paste, cashew butter and sesame butter. Soynut butter is only slightly higher in protein and lower in fat. A typical 2 tablespoon serving of any is a “good source” of protein, providing at least 10% of a reference daily intake of 60 grams. There are certainly lower-fat proteins (eggs, cottage cheese, extra lean ham, soy sausage) though they don’t spread on a banana.

To answer your second question, cheese is a little better in its protein to fat ratio, with the best regular-fat ones being 2½:1 cottage cheese, 4:3 fresh Parmesan, 1:1 provolone and 1:1 mozzarella. Any cheese made with skim milk will have less fat and reduced and low-fat cheeses are plentiful. I’d recommend avoiding non-fat solid cheeses with their added stabilizers and sodium, not to mention their poor texture.

*nutrient values per USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, April 2018

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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