Here’s the Scoop: Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter
From school day lunches to dorm room snacking, peanut butter has been a dietary staple of many Americans over the years. Even for adults, there’s still something satisfying about scoping out a dollop to spread, dip or add to your favorite smoothie recipe. Nuts have risen in recognition as a healthful addition to the diet, creating a surge in the variety of nut butters produced.
Supermarkets now carry jars of nut butter made from cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts and more, as well as creative nut blends. Almond butter is one that has gained a substantial following, leaving many to wonder if it’s a healthier alternative to their old standby. Here’s a comparison of some of their main components.
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Better Source of Fiber?
Fiber is an important dietary element, helping to aid in regularity and in creating the feeling of fullness. Almond butter is a better source of fiber in your diet than peanut butter — offering double per serving. In one tablespoon, almond butter contains 1.6 g of fiber, while peanut butter provides just 0.8 g.
More Healthy Fats?
Fats are an area highly monitored by many individuals trying to steer toward a healthier diet. When comparing almond butter to peanut butter, it may initially seem that they’re fairly similar; a tablespoon of almond butter contains 8.1 grams of fat, and an equal amount of peanut butter contains 7.9 grams. But what is important is the type of fat, where the two differ substantially. Almond butter is lower in saturated fat (linked to cardiovascular disease) and higher in beneficial unsaturated fats, making it the better choice in terms of fat.
Sugar is added to most commercially prepared nut butters, although some brands offer a low sugar or sugar-free option. With regular varieties, almond butter has half the sugar than peanut butter — 0.7 per tablespoon versus peanut butter’s 1.7. Another option is to make your own, so you can limit the added sugar.
More Additional Nutrients?
Almond butter does offer some additional nutrients — magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and iron. It also contains more calcium — 56 mg per tablespoon, versus 8 mg in peanut butter. Both butters provide a good source of vitamin E.
Both butters are fairly equal in terms of shelf life. Most nut butters remain fresh for two to three months at room temperature when kept tightly sealed. You can extend this shelf life by storing it in the refrigerator, although it will be harder to spread when cold. Freshly made or all-natural nut butters may have a shorter shelf life.
As for convenience, the sky is the limit with both butters. They’re great right off a spoon, on a slice of bread, or topping off an apple or banana. They can be the basis for pasta sauces, salad dressings or baked goods. They’re fairly interchangeable as an ingredient in a recipe — if you prefer the taste of one versus the other, go ahead and make an equal swap. Some cooks even swap a nut butter for fats or sweeteners in baked goods — but always experiment when changing up a recipe’s ingredients.
So which is healthier? Like most dietary decisions, it’s a personal choice, depending on what factors are priorities in your diet. Your best option: enjoy a variety!
For some deliciously healthy options, check out the links below and be sure to let us know which is your favorite!
Debbie Swanson is a freelance writer, published in numerous national and local outlets. An avid vegetarian, animal lover and reader, she loves learning about healthy eating and finding natural cures for everyday ailments.