It’s War: Peanut Butter vs. Almond Butter [Poll]
Growing up, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch and not once did I ever question the integrity of it.
That may have been either because it tasted good or because I wasn’t worried about my micronutrient intake at age 5. Ahh, to be young.
Now as the number of children with peanut allergies rises, more people are turning to alternatives like almond butter for their jelly mate while some think almond butter is a healthier option. I get this question a lot so let’s compare the two and see which is the best fit for your sandwiches, fruit, and smoothies.
Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter
Both are naturally low in carbohydrates and sugar, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on your needs. If you are trying to decrease your carbohydrate intake, then it is a great choice, but if you are trying to a have quick pre-workout snack neither of these choices may be the best. This is because the protein and fat content slow digestion. It won’t give you that quick burst of energy you need to push hard in your workout.
Both nut butters are a source of the “good” fat, monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease with regular consumption. In a nutshell (no pun intended), a good fat is typically good for your heart and your blood lipids while “bad” fat, like saturated fat, contributes to plaque buildup and can lead to buildup in the arteries.
Peanut butter has a higher protein content with about 8 grams per serving while almond butter has about 6 grams. This is because peanuts are a legume, which typically have a higher protein content than nuts. Having protein is a good thing because it helps control hunger, muscles growth, and control blood sugars. Both butters are great for pairing with fruits, whole-wheat crackers or bread to help balance out the carbohydrate and protein ratio in your snacks. The difference in protein isn’t that significant, so either is a good choice in this category.
Almond butter is known to be more nutrient dense when it comes to micronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis for our body to function properly. These nutrients are needed in smaller quantities than your macronutrients, but don’t let the word “micro” fool you. Even though micronutrients are needed in smaller amounts, micronutrients play a vital role in our health as well.
Iron is a micronutrient that assists in the role of oxygen transportation to the lungs and the rest of the body. If someone isn’t getting enough iron, they may feel fatigued or tired, and eventually be diagnosed with a form of anemia.
Almond butter has a higher amount of iron, but unfortunately, iron that comes from plant sources is not processed by the body as well as iron from meat sources. So we may not be absorbing the full amount of iron almond butter offers.
This vitamin is classified as an “antioxidant” that can attack free radicals in our body that cause things like cancer. This doesn’t mean that vitamin E can prevent someone from having cancer, but it may have a protective effect. Almond butter is high in vitamin E, and consuming it may increase your antioxidant intake.
Magnesium is known for its role in the nervous system, muscle contraction, and healthy bone tissue. Almond butter also wins with this micronutrient with a higher amount than peanut butter.
While all of these micronutrients boost almond butter’s nutrient profile, it’s not enough to make or break your health bank. What might break your actual bank is the much higher price of almond butter.
Peanut butter wins this category hands down. In all types, brands, and styles peanut butter is the more affordable choice. Even at the fresh nut grinder, almond butter can be a whopping $11.00 a pound while peanut butter is $3.99 a pound. Peanut butter is often on sale, comes in a variety of store brand types, and is available in bulk at an affordable price.
Either of these nut butters can help you with your weight loss efforts since the protein and higher fat content of both butters should help curve cravings and slow digestion. However, something to think about is that they both are very dense in calories.
In general, fat contains nine calories per gram, which is more than double the amount in a gram of carbohydrate or protein. That is why one serving of either butter (about two tablespoons) is between 180 and 200 calories. If you are a big eater, two tablespoons will not seem like a full serving. It is best to use a measuring spoon if you are counting calories because it is easy to over-consume.
Both of these options can be healthy if you choose the right kind. Watch out for added salts, sugars, and oils because this is what makes either choice the loser. Keep in mind these are processed products, so your best option is to find a fresh grinder (fresh grinders not only taste amazing, but you also know exactly what you’re getting.)
The next best option is to check the ingredient label and make sure it has nothing more than “peanuts” or “almonds.” Stay away from flavored kinds like honey peanut butter or reduced fat because those typically have added sugars.
If you read your nutrition label and pair your nut butter with something healthy, like an apple or banana, then they are both winners! Just make sure you are not choosing one stuffed with artificial ingredients or added sugar, oil or salt.
So it looks like it comes down to taste for this battle because there isn’t one clear winner here. Which nut butter do you prefer?
Peanut butter and Banana Smoothie
- 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
- 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
Place all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
Strawberry Almond Smoothie
- 4 ice cubes
- ½ cup of frozen strawberries
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
Put ice cubes into a blender and blend until crushed. Add berries, almond milk and almond butter and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
“Is Almond Butter Really All That Better for You Than Peanut Butter?” One Green Planet. N.p., Oct. 2014. Web. 24 May 2016.
Market, Thrive. “Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: A Food-off between Everyone’s Favorite Spread.” Mashable. N.p., 26 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 May 2016.
“Nut Butter Battle: Almond vs. Peanut.” Well+Good Nut Butter Battle Almond vs Peanut Comments. N.p., 04 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 May 2016.
Kelsey graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition and is currently working on her Master in Nutrition and Dietetics. Since becoming a registered dietitian, she works at a hospital providing medical nutrition therapy, teaches at Pure Barre, and dances for a professional cheerleading team in the NFL.