Nut butters are all the rage, but how do you know which is the best choice? Almond and peanut butters lead the pack in terms of popularity – and there is a growing interest in which nut better is best for weight loss. We’ll look at the health benefits of each to help you decide where one or both could fit into your diet. Serving size for each comparison is 1 tablespoon.
Comparing Vitamins and Minerals
Both tree nuts like almonds and legumes like peanuts are packed with nutrients that the body needs to function. For instance, both offer a healthy dose of Vitamin E, an antioxidant known to protect the body from free radicals, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of heart disease. Beyond this, each spread contains a different mix of vitamins and minerals.
Almond butter offers a valuable amount of magnesium, which is vital for bone health, regulating blood glucose levels and blood pressure, nerve function, muscle health, helping to create DNA proteins, and metabolic health. It also contains phosphorous (important to bone health and kidney function), potassium (important to muscle and heart health), and calcium (which is best known for bone health but also helps blood clotting and muscle health).
Meanwhile, peanut butter offers a different selection: folate, niacin, and B6. This family of B vitamins is necessary for a host of functions: digestive health, healing skin, nerve maintenance, producing new proteins, breaking down specific proteins, producing red blood cells, improving circulation, reducing cholesterol, and DNA replication.
Comparing Fats and Calories
When it comes to comparing calories, each spread is quite close to the other (almond butter: 98; peanut butter: 96), and with fats in general, almond and peanut butters are quite close: 8.9 and 8.2 calories, respectively.
However, the differences become drastic when we get more specific. In terms of saturated fat (i.e., bad fat), peanut butter contains more than double over almond butter (1.7 g (grams) versus .7 g, respectively). For both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (i.e., good fats), almond butter offers more than peanut butter: 5.2 g versus 4.2 g and 2.2 g versus 2.0 g, respectively.
It’s worth noting that neither is a heavyweight source of caloric content, especially if used in moderation, and each is low in saturated fats while offering a good amount of unsaturated fats. When evaluating foods for weight loss, the difference is in the details.
Comparing Fiber and Sugar
While the brand you select can impact the nuance of many of the nutritional values we discuss in this post, it’s particularly important to note that choosing the right brands can make a big difference with these two specifically.
Choosing a healthful brand will mean either spread will be a decent source of fiber while avoiding a high sugar count. However, generally speaking, almond butter provides more fiber (1.6 g versus .8 g) and significantly less sugar (.7 g versus 1.7 g).
This is another area where almond and protein butters are very close. Peanut butter takes a small lead, providing 3.6 g over almond butter’s 3.4 g. Now, the proteins offered by these butters are incomplete – you should not rely on just peanut or almond butters to provide your protein intake.
However, when looking for a way to add a little more protein in general, or when trying to make a protein shake or protein heavy snack taste a little better, these spreads are a top choice.
The Final Verdict
Because of the types of fat found in almond butter as well as the lower amount of sugar, it may be slightly healthier to eat it instead of peanut butter while trying to lose weight. Almond butter is generally considered to come out on top nutritionally, especially since with the vitamins and minerals each spread offers, almond butter offers more of them. Also, if your peanut allergy doesn’t coincide with a tree nut allergy, almond butter can make a great replacement.
However, when eaten in moderation and when healthful brands are chosen, you’re likely to benefit from using both almond and peanut butters. It may help to talk to your doctor or dietician about your current intake of vitamins and minerals, proteins, and fats to have a more personalized decision based on your unique health needs.
Are you considering almond and peanut butters because of the protein they provide? Or are you worried that losing weight requires you to give up the proteins you love? Be sure to check out our protein intake tips to find out why protein intake is important and how these spreads may fit in to your diet. Start your weight loss journey today and we’ll contact you to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our medical weight loss doctors.