True or false: Is almond butter better for you?
Better than good ol’ peanut butter, that is.
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I think one of the biggest lies I’ve believed from diet culture is the idea that some foods are better than others. Milk is bad, almond milk is good. Oats are fine, steel-cut oats are best. And then, of course, there are the almond butter pushers. The people who believe that eating almond butter is far better for your health than peanut butter, and tell you to skip the usual jar of Skippy and go for the expensive stuff.
What’s so fascinating about this idea is how these almond-butter pushers completely avoid what the actual nutrition of these products is saying. Because when you put them side-by-side, they’re really not that much different.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Almond butter vs. peanut butter
So I think the original argument here is the fact that almond butter has less fat than peanut butter, which is true. But, the difference is so dang small, it’s almost comical. Let me show you.
It’s not even the amount of total fat that is the difference here, it’s the amount of saturated fat—by just under 1 gram.
We all know that eating too much saturated fat can be detrimental to our health—increasing inflammation in the body, as well as the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Nevertheless, the American Heart Association states that your saturated fat intake shouldn’t take up more than 5% or 6% of your total caloric intake—around 13 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Both kinds of nut butter here have some saturated fat; two tablespoons of peanut butter has 2 grams, while almond butter has 1.5. That is some, but again, not enough to make a big difference.
Secondly, almond butter pushers argue that it is more nutritious. It does have more fiber (by only a gram, as you can see), calcium, and vitamin E. It is true, there is a lot of vitamin E in almond butter—but that’s just the nature of almonds in general. Almonds are known for being a rich source of vitamin E already, so of course almond butter is going to have a significant amount of it.
But peanut butter, on the other hand, has more protein. Again, not a significant difference! But protein certainly is higher here, even though almond butter pushers would tell you it’s “unhealthy.” Plus, both kinds of nut butter provide a good amount of potassium, biotin, magnesium, or zinc.
Now, of course, nut butter can have some added sugar depending on the brand that you buy. But this is true for both peanut butter and almond butter, so it’s not really much of an argument point here.
Lastly, calories. They are…the same. The exact same. Need I say more?
Truth: Choose the nut butter you like
I probably sound like a broken record to you…I feel like I keep writing the same things over and over. But hey, as a former dieting addict who is continually reminding herself why restriction is terrible and breaking up with dieting was the smart decision in her life, sometimes I need to hear the same things over and over again.
Here it is: Choose the food you like.
Whether that be almond butter or peanut butter, Greek yogurt or plain, rolled cut oats or steel cut, cow’s milk or almond milk…it’s all just food.
Because at the end of the day, it’s not exactly about the food that we eat—although don’t get me wrong, food is important, and getting all of the amazing nutrition for our bodies is wise. But really, it’s all about the healthy habits we create. About the lifestyle, we live.
For some of us, we can’t go back to drinking a protein shake with almond milk because cow’s milk is just so much better (hi, me). For others, we prefer to blend up a shake with almond milk and almond butter because it’s a taste you love, and that’s lovely and perfectly okay.
Creating a healthy life that works for you won’t work if you’re trying to live someone else's. You have to like it…and you have to like the food you eat. It’s honestly the only way it works. Any nutritional expert will tell you so.
For more reads over your morning cup of coffee, check out my latest published work!
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