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Bell Plantation PB2

1 review
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7

Bell Plantation's PB2 is a powdered peanut butter…

Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $4

Summary

Bell Plantation's PB2 is a powdered peanut butter product weighing 1/3 the weight of traditional peanut butter, with a reduced fat content. It is easily rehydrated, but takes time and energy. It shares the same great taste as regular peanut butter, with a grittier texture. The reduced fat content is not necessarily a pro for the long-distant backpacker, needing a higher daily calorie intake.

Pros

  • Weighs 1/3 the weight of regular peanut butter
  • Same great flavor

Cons

  • Less nutritional value
  • Takes time
  • Add too much water and you get a runny mess

I was on the hunt in my local grocery store for a squeezable tube of peanut butter to throw into my backpack, when I happened upon a powdered peanut butter product called PB2 by Bell Plantation (www.bellplantation.com). Curious, I picked up a jar for $4 and decided to try it out.


pb2-12-2.jpg

A lightweight option?

According to Bell Plantation's website, a 6.5oz jar of PB2 has the serving equivalent of an 1lb 2oz jar of regular peanut butter, approximately 15, two-tablespoon servings. On the trail, PB2 could be mixed with a little water, and a backpacker is carrying the same serving ratio at 1/3 the weight of regular peanut butter.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Not quite.

As soon as I mentioned it in the Trailspace forums, a number of voices poo-pooed the idea. Some comments at http://www.trailspace.com/forums/camp-kitchen/topics/146160.html included:

  • TheRambler: “I think I would rather just carry regular pb though as I only use it in quick snack type foods/meals. Having to stop an add water to something and then mix kinda defeats that purpose.”
  • Tipi Walter: “I just can't see possibly ruining a great food and so I gotta leave something NOT in the dehydrated state just for the instant taste treat.”
  • BigRed: “So all in all it's somewhere between silly and a rip-off IMO. I'll stick with trad PB, TYVM.”
  • Gary Palmer: “Doesn't sound appetizing to me, regular jar(s) of PB work for me. I eat it straight from the jar when biking and hiking. At home I love a good PB and Raspberry jam sandwich a couple at a time.”
  • Trailjester: “not much of a weight savings. I'll stick with jif.”
  • Peter1955: “I don't see taking the extra time to mix it up on the trail, though, especially if most of the energy has been removed.”

Are these the voices of wisdom? OR are these the words of bitter naysayers who refuse to try anything new—men who believe silnylon is a passing fad and canvas tents will soon return to the market?

I had to find out for myself...

The discussion had been raised about the nutritional value of Powdered Peanut Butter compared to regular. I found several websites discounting PB2 as stealing the nutrients of regular peanut butter. On hiker sites, the most common objection was the reduction in fat content, a vital component of long distance hiking.

So I dug into a comparison of the nutritional value of the items in question.

Nutritional Values

                                   Peanuts (cup)    Peanuts (1cup)        Jif® Creamy            PB2 Powdered
                                    Boiled                Dry-roasted              PB (2 TBSP)            PB (2 TBSP)

Calories                           573                     854                           190                         45

Total fat                           40g                     72g                           16g                        1.5g

Saturated fat                    5g                     10g                            2.5g                        0g

Polyunsaturated fat         13g                     23g                              –                            –

Monounsaturated fat       20g                    36g                               –                            –

Cholesterol                     0mg                     0 mg                          0mg                       0mg

Sodium                          1352mg                9 mg                          140mg                     94mg

Potassium                       324mg               961 mg                           –                              –

Total Carbohydrate          38g                     31g                              8g                           5g

Dietary fiber                     16g                     12g                             2g                            2g

Sugar                               4.4g                     6 g                              3g                           1g

Protein                             24g                      35g                             7g                           5g

Calcium                             9%                       7%                            0%                          0g

Iron                                   9%                      18%                            4%                          0%

Vitamin B-6                       15%                     20%                            0%                          0%

Magnesium                       46%                     64%                            0%                           0%

Niacin                                0%                       0%                            20%                          0%

Riboflavin                           0%                       0%                            2%                            0%

Clearly, regular ol' peanut butter is the winner in the nutritional battle...BUT WAIT! I also happened to look at the ingredients on both containers:

PB2 Ingredients: Peanuts, sugar, salt

Jif® Creamy Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, salt.

Now, I suddenly realized we are not simply comparing peanuts to peanuts. There are several unaccounted ingredients in the regular peanut butter.

Molasses: We're not told how much molasses is included in 2 TBSP of Jif, but the nutritional value in 1 TBSP of Molasses is 58 calories, 7mg sodium, 293mg potassium, 15g sugar, 4% calcium, 4% iron, 5% B-6, 12% magnesium.

Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils: One should note there is a huge nutritional difference between partially & fully hydrogenated oils. While Jif is fully hydrogenated, brands like Skippy are only partially hydrogenated. According to the Mayo Clinic website, “partially hydrogenated” is code for “transfat.” Transfat is known to raise cholesterol. Again, Jif does not tell us how much of these oils are in two tablespoons of their peanut butter, but here are the nutrition labels:

                                            Soybean                                       Rapeseed
                                             Oil (1 tbsp)                                  Oil (1 tbsp)

Calories                                 120                                                 120

Calories from fat                    120                                                 120

Total fat                                13.5g                                               13.6g

Saturated fat                        1.944g                                             0.966g

Polyunsaturated fat              7.818g                                            4.026g

Monounsaturated fat            3.144g                                            8g

Cholesterol                           0mg                                                 0 mg

Sodium                                  0mg                                                0 mg

Potassium                              0mg                                               0 mg

Total Carbohydrate                0g                                                 0g

Dietary fiber                          0g                                                   0g

Sugar                                    0g                                                   0 g

Protein                                   0g                                                   0g

Calcium                                  0%                                                 0%

Iron                                       0%                                                  0%

Vitamin B-6                            0%                                                  0%

Vitamin B-12                           0%                                                 0%

Magnesium                             0%                                                 0%

Niacin                                      0%                                                 0%

Riboflavin                                 0%                                                0%

I had to look up mono and diglycerides, to see what they were. In a nutshell (sorry for the bad pun), they are a bonding and preservation agent. However, what stood out to me on a number of websites, including livestrong.com is that mono and diglycerides often contain TRANSFAT, but the Food & Drug Administration does not require labeling in these areas. So when a product, like Jif® Creamy lists it does not contain Transfat, that may not be the actual case.

I'm not a nutritionist, and I welcome any feedback. My conclusion in all this comparison is that, if one were to take away the additives in Jif, one would have close to the same nutrition content as PB2. In other words, the fat content of regular peanut butter comes from vegetable oils, not from peanuts. One is left with the discussion of whether or not vegetable oils are a healthy additive or a cause for many of today's food allergies and other illnesses (A discussion I am neither qualified, nor interested in pursuing).

TheRambler's response to my vegetable oil revelation:“Natural PB, none of that other crap in it. Stay away from jiff, Peter Pan, skipy etc.”

Not bad advice, but not readily available in my middle-of-nowhere town.

In any case, PB2 IS lower in valuable fat content than regular peanut butter. So is there a solution? Maybe. A handful of chopped peanuts sprinkled into the mix adds a healthy fat source than Jif® Creamy.

So were the naysayers correct?


Summation:

  • PB2 provides less fat and nutrients than traditional peanut butter.
  • The taste is dead on, because it is, after all, peanuts.
  • The rehydrated texture is a bit gritty.
  • The weight savings is negligible and negated by the need to add chopped peanuts to raise the fat content.
  • And it is a lot of work for minimal return.

PB2 is probably best reserved for power protein shakes and left out of the backpack while on the trail.

Once again the voices of the Trailspace forum community have proven to be a valuable resource for discussing all things outdoors.

trouthunter MODERATOR

`Thanks for the research, it would have driven me nuts.


9 months ago
trouthunter MODERATOR

I hit "enter" before finishing my comment - anyhow your videos are set to private and would not play, I did the same thing a couple weeks ago. I had to change the setting on YouTube


9 months ago
G00SE

Just fixed it, trouthunter. Thanks for pointing that out.


9 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice work on the "powdered peanut butter product" front, Jeffery! I vote for Justin's Nut Butter personally.


9 months ago
Peter1955

So I'm not a 'bitter naysayer' after all? Whew! And I like silnylon.


9 months ago
G00SE

I don't know, Peter. I think canvas is going to make a comeback one of these days. LOL!


9 months ago
G00SE

Alicia, my local Walmart doesn't carry the individual packets. That was actually what I went shopping for when I found PB2. I think I'll just order them for future use.


9 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Our Hannaford grocery store has both the packets and jars of Justin's now, which is nice.


9 months ago
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Bell Plantation PB2

MSRP:
$3.99

The Bell Plantation PB2 is not available from the stores we monitor.

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