Iowa vs. Iowa State, Cubs vs. White Sox, Microsoft vs. Apple, Taylor Swift vs. all of her Exs…….
Peanut butter vs. Almond butter.
Which one of these nut butters is the healthier option? Is the hype that almond butter gets all it’s cracked up to be? Which one should I be buying? Let’s talk about it.
Confession of a dietitian: The number of times I’ve been caught in my kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a jar of nut butter in the other, eating it like it’s cereal, are too many to count. I love nut butter and it definitely ranks in my top 5 favorite foods.
Has anyone else been caught red-handed in their kitchen? Perhaps mid-bite you took a glimpse at the nutrition label just to see how much damage you would do if you ate the entire jar. Well, whether you were chowing down on peanut butter or almond butter, both have very similar nutrition labels. So what’s up with the claims that almond butter is better for you? If the nutrition labels are similar, what’s the diff?
Well, for starters, peanuts are actually legumes. Who knew ?! They grow underground, along with beans and peas, as opposed to nuts, which grow on trees. This is more of a fun fact 🥜.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what each nut butter has to offer from a nutritional standpoint.
Calories: Both peanut butter and almond butter contain roughly 190 calories per serving (~2 Tablespoons). If you are looking at nut butters that contain extra ingredients (sugar, honey, chocolate…), this will likely be different, but when comparing the two nut butters in their simplest form, calories are typically equal. It’s a tie.
Protein: This is a close battle; however, peanut butter comes out on top, but just barely. One serving of peanut butter (~2 Tbsp) comes in at 8 grams of protein, whereas one serving of almond butter comes in at 7 grams protein. Peanut butter wins by an inch.
Fat: Do not fear the fat. Having a sufficient amount of fat in your diet is essential for metabolism and brain function. Healthy fat intake does not lead to increased weight gain or increased cholesterol. We need the good fats! Nuts (and nut butters) are a great source of this key macronutrient.
When comparing fat amounts in both nut butters, the number of fat grams per serving are very close, if not the same. However, some researchers claim that because almond butter has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, it is superior. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are both essential to body function and must be obtained through food; our body cannot produce them on its own. The higher ratio of omega 3s is favorable because omegas 3s have more anti-inflammatory properties than omega 6s. Almond butter wins.
Vitamins and Minerals: Almonds are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin E, which is not found in many foods. Vitamin E is important for maintaining a healthy immune system as it plays an antioxidative role and protects our cells from free radicals. Almonds also contain more calcium and iron than peanuts. But, we can’t forget about what peanuts have to offer either. Peanuts contain B vitamins, copper, manganese, phosphorus and a little Vitamin E. When looking at the vitamin and mineral profile of each, both have their advantages, but in my opinion, almond butter does come out on top. Almond butter wins.
Verdict: Almond butter wins, but not without a fight.
To be completely transparent, I buy both peanut butter and almond butter. Both have their strong suits and both are healthy options. For me, a lot of it depends on price. Almond butter is often 3x more expensive than peanut butter; unless you find a deal (hey Costco and Trader Joe’s 👋🏻). My biggest piece of advice, regardless of which butter you buy, is to choose natural. Does this mean you just have to look for the word natural on the front of the jar? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Some brands claim to be natural, but still have a lengthy list of ingredients that includes sugar and other food additives. Take a peek at the ingredient list before you buy. Look for the fewest ingredients, preferably the nut of choice and a little bit of salt. Some do contain added oil and I’m okay with that, preferably peanut oil or palm oil. And because I’m keeping it real and being transparent, I’ll admit I get some of the ‘fun’ nut butters once in a while. My current obsession is a cinnamon raisin nut butter sweetened with honey, cinnamon and raisins. I try to use this as a treat and not spoon it out of the jar like I’m eating cereal, but I’d be lying if I said I never did.
What are your favorite brands of nut butter? Or maybe you have a good recipe for making your own? I’d love to hear! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.