Are boutique food companies replacing tech start-ups as the business to be in in the 2020s? With nut butter creators bursting onto the scene and (seeing overnight success (helped along by star-making platforms like TikTok), it might just seem that way.
But with success comes product proliferation. And today, there are a ton of different nuts being turned into butter. Macadamia, cashew, pecan, walnut… Even sunflower and pumpkin seeds are getting paste-ified. However, the market is still dominated by two nuts: the traditional peanut and the trendy almond.
When it comes to almond butter vs. peanut butter, people are confused. Which is healthier, more eco-friendly, or has the most protein? If you’re keen to find out which is best to spread on your morning toast, read on.
What Is Nut Butter?
Made famous by passionate nutrition-focused Instagrammers, nut butter is made by grinding nuts–tree nuts, groundnuts, water-grown nuts, and seeds–into a spreadable paste-like food. While it has the word “butter” in the name, the two condiments bear no resemblance to one another outside of their spreadability.
Nut butter is renowned for having high amounts of fiber, essential fatty acids, and protein.
The history of nut butter is longer than you’d think. There is evidence of almond paste dating back to the ninth century Baghdad, and Napoleonic and WWII soldiers carried ground hazelnut spread as an emergency food ration. In fact, this is where Nutella came from!
Why Choose Peanut Butter?
One benefit of peanut butter is that it’s easy to find almost anywhere. However, not all peanut butter is made equal. While this spread is a good source of protein (peanuts are actually legumes) and numerous helpful vitamins and minerals, commercial jars can also be packed with sugar and salt.
Most of us grew up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, satay chicken, and many more family favorites. This is because peanut butter offers a concentrated source of calories packaged in an easy-to-use, spreadable condiment.
Peanut butter is a good source of numerous essential vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
There are a ton of studies out there on the health benefits of peanuts. Research shows that eating peanuts every day decreases the overall risk of death by over 20 percent and heart disease by almost 40 percent. This is due to the high levels of oleic acid, omega-6, and arginine found in this delicious spread. Peanut butter also contains some powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants like coumaric acid and resveratrol.
If you’re looking to add peanut butter to your diet, be sure to shop around for a natural brand. It should contain only peanuts and maybe a little salt. Alternatively, make it at home in a food processor or blender.
While natural peanut butter contains so-called “healthy fats,” commercial brands might have high volumes of harmful saturated fats, white sugar or sugar syrup, and salt. Because peanuts are high in calories and potential additives, you need to control your portions. The general rule is to stick to one to two tablespoons a day.
It’s also worth noting that about 3 million Americans. have peanut or tree nut allergies. Consuming peanut butter or foods containing peanut butter could lead to severe illness or even death for someone with an intolerance or allergy.
Finally, peanuts contain decent levels of phosphorus. This compound limits the absorption of zinc, iron, and other vital minerals, which could pose a problem if you’re already deficient. The total recommended daily intake for phosphorus is between 1,189 mg for women and 1,596 mg for men.
Why Choose Almond Butter?
Almond butter is, of course, made of pureed almonds. Like peanut butter, it’s full of good fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is, however, also high in calories.
The difference between these benefits and issues could have you Googling “how to make almond butter at home”–or not.
We all know eating whole almonds is excellent for health, so why would almond butter be any different?
For starters, almond butter is chock full of monounsaturated fats, which help keep harmful LDL cholesterol levels low while peaking HDL cholesterol. It also contains omega-3, Vitamin E, and L-arginine, compounds that are all great for the health of your arteries.
For people who don’t eat dairy, almonds are a great way to meet your calcium needs. One tablespoon of almond butter contains over 55 milligrams of calcium–around 2 percent of your daily intake. Better yet, the magnesium in almonds helps with calcium absorption. Magnesium also plays a role in controlling insulin and blood sugar levels, making almond butter a valuable dietary aid for people with diabetes.
This nut buttery spread also contains good amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, manganese, and even iron.
Like peanut butter, almond butter calories need to be controlled. It’s best to buy natural almond butter with no or as few additives as possible. Check the ingredients list, and if you spot copious amounts of salt, added oil, or sugar, put the jar back on the shelf.
Almond butter, also like peanut butter, isn’t suitable for people with tree nut allergies. Ingesting it could cause breathing difficulties, nausea, itching, or, at worst, anaphylaxis. However, not everyone with tree nut allergies is allergic to almonds, so if you’re keen to try this deliciously healthy spread, visit a doctor and get tested.
Almonds are high in oxalates, which can lead to a person developing kidney stones. If you’re already prone to this painful condition, you should restrict your intake.
Finally, the farming of almonds has been a subject of ecological concern in recent years. Some people argue almond farming depletes valuable freshwater sources and contributes to the decline of natural pollination areas for bees.
Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: Eat What You Like
The almond butter vs. peanut butter debate comes down to taste preference and price. An almond butter recipe tends to be the pricier option, but if you don’t mind traditional brands, you can pick up a jar of good ol’ peanut butter for a few bucks. Peanut butter might have more protein, but some people prefer the flavor of almond butter.
If you’re looking for more advice on how best to fuel your body, take some time to read the other blogs on our website.