Peanut butter has been a North American pantry staple for decades, but in the past number of years, almond butter has entered the market as a healthier alternative to peanut butter, but is almond butter actually better for you? Let’s compare and review almond butter vs. peanut butter
The Difference Between Almond Butter and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. Although often considered a nut, peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are a legume and are, therefore, related to beans and lentils. Peanuts are the edible seeds of the plant, widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, and are a source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fats. (1)
Almond butter is made by grinding almonds, raw or roasted, into a spread or paste. Although called a nut, almonds are in fact seeds rather than true nuts. Almonds are a source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fats. (2)
Both peanut butter and almond butter can be made solely of peanuts or almonds, contain additional ingredients, or be made in smooth or crunchy formats.
Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: Nutritional Comparison
Nutritionally speaking, both almond butter and peanut butter are a source of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber. Here is a comparison of 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of almond butter vs. peanut butter.
|NUTRITION PER 2 TBSP (32g)||ALMOND BUTTER||PEANUT BUTTER|
|Calories||202 calories||200 calories|
|Protein||4.8 grams||10.0 grams|
|Fat||19.0 grams||16.0 grams|
|Carbohydrate||6.8 grams||6.0 grams|
|Fiber||1.2 grams||2.0 grams|
|Sugar||0.0 grams||2.0 grams|
- CALORIES: A 2-tablespoon serving of natural almond butter contains 202 calories, while a 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 200 calories, making it a tie.
- PROTEIN: Since peanuts are a legume and almonds are a nut (seed), peanut butter contains slightly more protein than almond butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of natural almond butter contains 4.8 grams of protein, while a 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 10.0 grams of protein, making peanut butter the winner.
- FAT: Given nuts contain more naturally-occurring fats than legumes, almond butter contains slightly more fat than peanut butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of natural almond butter contains 19.0 grams of fat, while a 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 16.0 grams of fat.
- CARBOHYDRATES: Almond butter and peanut are very similar in terms of carbohydrate content; 2 tablespoons of almond butter contains 6.8 grams of carbs, while 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain 6.0 grams of carbs, making it a virtual tie.
- FIBRE: Although all nuts and seeds contain fiber, legumes contain more, so peanut butter contains more fiber than almond butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of natural almond butter contains 1.2 grams of fiber, while a 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 2.0 grams of fiber.
- SUGAR: While peanut butter does contain slightly more sugar than almond butter, the sugar is naturally occurring in the peanuts given they are legumes and the difference is minimal. A 2-tablespoon serving of natural almond butter contains 0.0 grams of sugar, while a 2-tablespoon serving of natural peanut butter contains 2.0 grams of sugar.
- VITAMINS & MINERALS: Both almond butter and peanut butter are a source of vitamins and minerals, however, there are differences between the two. While peanut butter has more B vitamins, almond butter contains more vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and iron, making almond butter a richer source of micronutrients overall.
Other Factors to Consider
In addition to the nutritional value, another very important factor to consider is the ingredients used in the production of both almond butter and peanut butter. Although many natural versions of almond butter and peanut butter are made solely of almonds and peanuts (as per the nutritional comparison above), that is not the case with all brands. In fact, beloved conventional peanut butter brands, such as Skippy, Kraft, and Jif, are often made with added oils, such as soybean oil and vegetable oil, and added sugars in the form of white sugar, corn maltodextrin, monoglycerides, and diglycerides. (3)(4)(5) Although these additives are less common in almond butter, added sugars and vegetable oils can still be found in some almond butter brands. Therefore, whether you are shopping for almond butter or peanut butter, it is important that you read the ingredients and opt for brands made solely of almonds, peanuts, and/or salt to ensure you are getting the most nutritious options.
Both almonds and peanuts are common allergens. Peanuts are a legume and are one of the top allergenic foods in North America and, while less common, almond and tree nut allergies are becoming increasingly prevalent. (6)(7) If you have allergies or are pre-disposed to gut health issues and food intolerances, this may be a factor to consider, if not, both almond butter and peanut butter are a great choice.
The average jar of peanut butter is significantly less expensive than the average jar of almond butter. Most brands of natural peanut butter can be found in the $3 to $6 range, while almond butter tends to be found at $10 or more per jar. The reason for the difference in price, in addition to supply and demand, is due in large part to their method of production and processing. Peanuts grow underground in many regions around the world, with relatively low property costs, while almonds are tree nuts and depend on very specific climate and soil conditions, limiting the areas in which they can be farmed. (8) Although a higher price point can give the consumer the illusion that a product is of higher quality, that is not necessarily the case with almond butter and peanut butter.
So, is almond butter healthier than peanut butter?
The differences between almond butter and peanut butter are minimal. While peanut butter contains slightly more protein and more fiber, almond butter contains less sugar and more nutrients, and they both contain a very similar amount of calories, carbohydrates, and fat.
The Bottom Line
Almond butter and peanut butter have very similar nutritional profiles and both can be included in a healthy diet. The best option will vary from one person to the next based on personal preference, nutritional goals, price point, and allergies. Regardless of what option you choose, be sure to read the ingredients and opt for versions made solely of almonds, peanuts, and/or salt whenever possible.