Is it bad to eat PB and J every day? (Nutrition facts)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is it bad to eat PB and J every day?”. We also will discuss the health effects of PB&J, the risks of peanut allergies and some substitutes for peanut butter.

Is it bad to eat PB and J every day?

The answer largely hinges on the quality of the ingredients you use. Sandwiches made with enriched white bread, hydrogenated peanut butter, and corn syrup-sweetened jelly have been criticized as being detrimental to health.

Concerns about individuals’ physical well-being have driven the health food movements, which have transformed societal norms surrounding nutrition over the past few decades of the twentieth century. 

Historically, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been a staple in children’s diets, often found in school lunches, with statistics suggesting that the average child will have consumed around 1,500 of these sandwiches before graduating from high school.

Despite the widespread popularity of peanuts, there is a growing concern regarding potential adverse health effects, notably in the form of food allergies.  (1, 2)

What is the nutritional content of PB&J?

The nutritional composition of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can significantly vary depending on the quality of the ingredients used.

For instance, a PB&J made with 100% whole wheat bread, standard peanut butter containing 6% added sugar, and common grape jelly with 18% added sugar will provide approximately 380 calories, 18 grams of fat (with 13.5 grams comprising mono- and polyunsaturated fats), 460 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates (comprising 18 grams of sugar and 6.5 grams of fiber), and 12.5 grams of protein.

Importantly, this sandwich is entirely devoid of cholesterol and trans fats. However, it’s worth noting that there are certainly healthier options available to consider, like peanut butter and jelly with no added sugars. (3)

What are the health concerns of PB&J?

Concerns regarding food safety, obesity, and allergies collectively led to a decline in the popularity of PB&J sandwiches. These concerns were primarily centered around issues related to peanut butter.

The first widely publicized incident of mass contamination in commercial peanut butter production occurred in a Chicago factory that produced Peter Pan peanut butter in the 1970s. However, the 2000s witnessed a series of contamination scandals that shook the peanut butter industry.

Peanut butte­r and jelly sandwiches also faced scrutiny when obesity rates appeared to be reaching epic le­vels at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Health advocate­s, who had previously overlooked the high fat and sugar content of these sandwiche­s in the 1980s, began voicing different concerns in the 1990s and 2000s.

As warnings about the high-fat content of the sandwiches eme­rged, their sales de­clined in the early 1990s. However, the most prominent health concern during this period was the e­scalating prevalence of pe­anut allergies. Peanut alle­rgies surged in the 1990s and continued to rise through the 2000s, becoming a significant global health concern. (1)

What are the risks of peanut allergy?

Food alle­rgies, including peanut allergie­s, have emerged as a significant global health concern over the past two decades, affecting millions of people worldwide. These allergies typically manifest with immediate symptoms affecting the skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, or cardiovascular system.

While the exact reasons for the rising prevalence of peanut allergies remain a subject of debate, there has been an increase in reported peanut allergies among American children during the 2000s.

Food allergy is defined as an adverse health reaction triggered by a specific immune response that consistently occurs upon exposure to a particular food. In the United States, the most common food allergens include milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish.  (4)

What are the symptoms of peanut allergies?

Skin-related symptoms may encompass hives (urticaria), swelling, itching, and redness or flushing. Respiratory symptoms can involve coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, throat or chest tightness, sneezing, nasal drip, and nasal congestion.

Gastrointestinal manifestations may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Cardiovascular symptoms might manifest as dizziness, fainting, bluish discoloration, chest pain, and shock. (4)

What are the alternatives to traditional PB&J?

Restrictions on nuts in school and daycare settings have sparked a growing demand for alternative spreads. As a result, the market now offers a variety of spreads tailored to health-conscious consumers, including options like almond or cashew butter infused with nutrient-rich seeds like chia, promoting their antioxidant benefits. (5)


In this brief guide, I answered the question “Is it bad to eat PB&J every day?”. We also discussed the health effects of PB&J, the risks of peanut allergies and some substitutes for peanut butter. In my perspective as a food scientist peanut butter jelly sandwiches can be eaten every day, but sugar-free products should be preferred to avoid excess calorie intake. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



ESTES, Steve. PB&J: The Rise and Fall of an Iconic American Dish. Gastronomica, v. 17, n. 2, p. 5-15, 2017.


LAND, Michael H.; BURKS, A. Wesley. New Therapeutic Strategies for Peanut-Related Allergy. In: Peanuts. AOCS Press, 2016. p. 363-379.


CHRISTIANSEN, Peter. PB&J: A Different Kind of ‘Hero Sandwich’. Voices: On Stage and In Print, 2010, p. 82.


LAND, Michael H.; BURKS, A. Wesley. New Therapeutic Strategies for Peanut-Related Allergy. In: Peanuts. AOCS Press, 2016. p. 363-379.


CHAKER, Anne Marie. Alternatives to Peanut Butter are taking over Lunch. The Wall Street Journal, 2015.