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#WTFis Plumpy’nut, the Life-Saving Peanut Butter?

October 11, 2012

"At Greatist HQ we’re all peanut butter fiends, slathering the stuff on fruit, bread, and yogurt. So we were excited to learn about Plumpy’nut, a nutritional product not so far from our beloved PB. It’s been used since 2009 to combat severe malnutrition in children across the world. What exactly is this Plumpy’nut stuff? And why did Anderson Cooper compare it to penicillin?

The Lowdown

In the late 1990s, humanitarians and scientists alike were frustrated and befuddled by the problem of malnutrition, which affected hundreds of millions of children every year. The conventional treatment for severe malnutrition since the 1960s — a slow remedy of nutrient-rich intravenous fluids — was pricey and inconvenient, given that it had to happen within a hospital or clinic.

Looking for an at-home solution to severe malnourishment, the humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger invented a nutritionally-dense milk supplement called F-100 in 1994[1]. F-100 proved useful in combating hunger, but it had to be mixed with water, which can be contaminated by bacteria in developing countries. It also tasted awful.

Inspired by a jar of Nutella (who says chocolate breakfast spread can’t save the world?), French pediatrician André Briand invented a paste that combines F-100 with peanuts, sugar, oil, and milk.  The 500-calorie packets are rich in nutritional all-stars like vitamins and minerals, fat, and protein."

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