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Review: Smart Balance Sweetened Peanut Butter: Opinions from expert and readers

Smart Balance Sweetened Peanut Butter

WHAT IT IS: Smart Balance has rolled out a twist on their Omega Peanut Butter. The new Smart Balance Sweetened Peanut Butter:

• has 33 percent (1 gram) less sugar than leading brands.
• is an excellent source of omega 3s.
• is sweetened with organic agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index than table sugar. (It doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much and is more diabetes-friendly.)

The product has about same calories, saturated fat, sodium and fiber as leading brands but more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. We asked two readers and an expert to review it.

Smart Balance Sweetened Peanut Butter

AnnaAnna, receptionist, Penn Yan, N.Y.
Anything new takes getting used to, but it is very good. I did notice a different taste right away. I am sure it was because of the lower sugar. But I really liked it. I have been bimatoprost sugar/fat intake so this is one I will choose when shopping.


SusanSusan, homemaker, Rosedale, N.Y.
While the consistency of the Smart Balance peanut butter was fine, the taste was horrid. I found the peanut butter to be extremely tangy, which would not leave my mouth. I did not taste any peanut butter. My husband felt that the aftertaste was like having eaten bad fish.


MarisaMarisa Neelon, M.S., R.D., registered dietitian, University of California Cooperative Extension, Pleasant Hill, Calif.
As someone who usually eats peanut butter made from 100-percent peanuts, I expected this product to be too sweet. I was pleasantly surprised. However, the smooth variety had a strange aftertaste and an unpleasant sticky texture. The chunky variety came closest to my usual brand in texture, but tasted a little salty.

The balance of different fats used in the product can potentially contribute to a healthy heart. The palm oil contains a significant amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. The flax oil contributes beneficial omega-3s, but in a form not as efficient as in fish.

There is some controversy surrounding palm oil and agave nectar since their health effects are still debated by scientists—specifically whether palm oil negatively affects cholesterol and whether agave nectar’s high fructose level is detrimental.*

The bottom line is that no specific foods or food ingredients can lead to optimal health, and they should be evaluated within the context of a person’s total diet and lifestyle.

*See last issue’s debate on high-fructose corn syrup for more.

Last updated and/or approved: July 2009.
Original article appeared in March/April 2009 print magazine.

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Smart Balance PB
written by Erik , October 30, 2009

I thought I would give this peanut butter a try again after deciding that it just did not taste good the first time I tried it. As I am eating it right now between two pieces of whole graing natural bread and loads of honey and once again, I have come to the same conclusion as I did before. I completely agree with Matt that when the PB first hits your taste buds, you can taste a little fish, which is simply not right. After going back to regular PB (Sunflower seed butter is even better, try Trader Joe's brand)I thought I got back into heaven.

There is simply too much flaxseed oil in this product, although very good for you, they should cut it back. It's better to get your omega's other ways, not PB.

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Smart Balance Omega PB
written by Matt , July 23, 2009

I find this Smart Balance Omega peanut butter truly disugsting. I initially thought it tasted like fish. I couldn't understand how, though. But then my wife, who thought I must be nuts, tried some and alas it did indeed smell like fish. Smells aside, it's quite tasteless. I will never buy it again. How they managed to make peanut butter taste like fish is beyond me. I bought a bottle of pure peanut butter with no additives and, as one would expect, it smells and tastes 100% of peanuts.
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