Peanut butter is a food you’ll find in virtually every household. However, lately, people have started swapping this staple for other kinds of nut butter, such as almond butter. Almond butter, in particular, is often marketed as the healthier alternative to peanut butter. But is that really the case?
Given that the price of almond butter is often higher than that of peanut butter, you may question whether it is truly worth the price. Let’s compare the nutritional value of peanut and almond butter and try to determine which of these two nut butters has greater health benefits.
Comparing the nutrients in peanut and almond butter
Generally speaking, all nut butters are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, as they’re rich in healthy plant-based fats and have plenty of other beneficial nutrients. But there’s a catch - many nut butter manufacturers sometimes add lots of sugar, trans fat, and salt to nut butter to improve the taste.
"Buy peanut butter with only a little bit of salt and avoid ones with more than three ingredients," advised Marysa Cardwell, a nutrition therapist, and dietitian to Eat This. For example, the popular Skippy brand of peanut butter has lots of added sugar and trans fats listed on the ingredient list - not the best choice. In this article, we mostly focus on natural peanut and almond butter that contains no additives.
If you’d like to make your own natural peanut or almond butter, consult these easy recipes:
So which nut butter is the healthier choice? In the table we compiled for you below, we compare the basic nutrient value of 1 tablespoon of peanut- and almond butter.
As you can see, the two nut butters are actually fairly similar in terms of their caloric value, as well as the number of carbs and proteins (peanut butter has slightly more protein). Almond butter is lower in sugar and higher in fiber than peanut butter, which does make it the healthier choice overall. Fiber is extremely important for spreads like nut butter because we usually combine it with bread, which is already low in fiber and may cause digestive issues and sugar spikes.
In addition, almond butter is higher than peanut butter in monounsaturated fat, which is a type of fat associated with better heart health and blood sugar control. Peanut butter, on the other hand, contains more saturated fat, which isn’t necessarily harmful but should be consumed in moderation due to cardiovascular risks.
What about vitamins and minerals?
Almond butter is the leader in this regard too because it contains 7 times more calcium than peanut butter, 3 times as much vitamin E, and twice as much iron too. These vitamins and minerals are very important for bone and cardiovascular health. It also needs to be noted that both of these butters are equally rich in zinc, magnesium, potassium, and biotin. So, as far as beneficial vitamins and minerals go, almond butter packs a bigger punch too.
Health benefits and risks of peanut and almond butter
Current research actually doesn’t draw a line between various kinds of nut butter. Nutrition studies do point out that, in general, nut butters decrease one’s risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues. One study in 6,000 diabetic women found that 5 servings of nuts or nut butter weekly decreased their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Even though nut butters are high in calories, studies point out that they do not contribute to obesity. This means that you can confidently enjoy snacks with nut butters in moderation, even if you're losing weight. It needs to be pointed out, however, that peanuts have a higher risk of being contaminated with the highly toxic aspergillus mold. Even though peanuts are processed to remove much of this mold as they’re made into peanut butter, tree nuts like almonds are very unlikely to be contaminated by this mold, which makes almonds the better option. Nuts are also common allergens.
In summary, almond butter has a somewhat better nutrient profile, but you can expect roughly the same benefits from almond- and peanut butter. Given that peanut butter is lighter on your wallet, it’s still an excellent choice. You can also opt for mixtures of the two, or just alternate between almond and peanut butter if you’d like. But in the end, it all boils down to your personal preference.
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