Why is almond butter considered health food, but peanut butter is not?

They are both creamy....or crunchy if you prefer... tasty nut spreads good for snacking, sandwiches, baking and cooking. What's the difference? Is one better for you than the other? Let's break it down!!

First pros and cons list for each nut butter spread:

Almond Butter: 

Pros: Essential fatty acids, source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium

Cons: Nut allergies, calorie dense

Peanut Butter: 

Pros: Essential fatty acids, source of protein,  vitamin E, magnesium

Cons: Nut allergies, calorie dense

Hmmm.... that seems remarkably similar. Ok let's looks at the ingredients that make up the two nut butters. If you we're making it at home (super simple with a food processor), what would you need?

Almond Butter:

Almonds, salt and/or sugar/honey/sweetener to taste, oil (The type of oil used will effect flavor).

Peanut Butter:  

Peanuts, salt and/or sugar/honey/sweetener to taste, oil (the type of oil used will effect flavor).

Ok....those are basically the same recipe with the different nuts swapped out. The recipe ingredient list didn't help much, but fear not! Most of us don't make our own nut butter anyway. We buy it from the store! 

So let's compare the nutrition facts of the top store bought brands....according to Google. 

Barney Almond Butter:

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Jif Peanut Butter:

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Right.... one could make the argument that the ingredients used to make Barney's Almond Butter are of higher quality. The sugar is organic, the salt comes from the sea, and the oil comes from fruit palms. 

I do however feel the need to stress the fact that these are still sugar, salt, and oil. 

The nutrition label for both nut butters is almost statistically identical. There are negligible differences in a couple of the numbers, but not enough to effect the nutrient levels of each jar.

If sustainably and humanitarian practices of how the nut butter ingredients are selected, harvested, and used is of importance to you, then so far this would be the defining point on why to choose almond butter over peanutbutter. Keep in mind however, this is a comparison of the top selling brands for each type of nut butter. The precision and care of ingredients that Barney describes can also be found in other peanut butter options. 

Ok for our next comparison, let's take a look at the display labels for each jar:

Barney Almond Butter:

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Right off the bat, the Barney logo let's us know that not only does this product not contain peanuts, but it was also produced in a peanut free facility. So if you have a peanut allergy, this product is safe for you to consume.

Jif Peanut Butter:  

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The Jif logo opts to remind us that peanut butter is a good source of protein. Indicating that this may be good for you to eat. 

Ok both jars have claims on the logo regarding your health or trying to appear healthy. So that's a tie once again.  

For our final comparison, we will look at price.  

Barney Almond Butter comes in at around $10 for a 16oz jar.

Jif Peanut Butter clocks in around $2.50 for a 16oz jar. 

Now before you cry highway robbery, remember the quality of ingredients and the process used to produce the Almond Butter are considered higher and thus cost more to make.  

Remember that peanut butter can easily be found with higher quality ingredients as well. Those tend to sit around the $6-$7 dollar range, which is still a few dollars less than the almond butter. My take away from this is that almonds cost more in general.

 

Ok! The part we've all been waiting for: the verdict! The info we have gathered tells us that almond butter and peanut butter are extremely similar. Choosing one over the other comes down to a few things: 

- Allergy concerns. Are you allergic to peanuts or almonds?

- Priority to the quality of ingredients and humanitarian practices. 

- Priority to price point or the bottom line. 

- Unfortunately the previous two don't tend to mix. 

- Flavor preference. 

Your personal priorities will determine which nut butter is healthy and which is bad for you.

Are you allergic to peanuts? Then peanut butter is unhealthy. 

Are you allergic to almonds? Then almond butter is unhealthy. 

Is the quality of your food ingredients and the personal practices of the companies you give your money to a priority? Then almond butter may be a better option for you. While peanut butter can be found to fit such a bill, you will have more options going with almond butter. 

Is the cost convenience and accessibility of your food your top priority? Then peanut butter is going to be healthier for you.  

Do your goals, programing, and eating habits require a calorie deficit or a lower calorie level in general? You may want to spread your calories around with as much variety as possible, so a calorie dense food like a nut butter would be unhealthy! Regardless of if it's almond or peanut butter, it does not fit with your needs and is UNHEALTHY for you.

Knowining your priorities ahead of time will help you wade through the barrage of advertising and marketing and allow you to make educated decisions. A label claiming to be healthy, or that a product contains healthier ingredients is lying to you. The company is betting on you to not know any better. Dont let them be right.

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