As you may know, I’m not necessarily a fan of the word “diet,” per se, but recent reading about the primal diet trend seems to be more of an eating plan, as opposed to a “diet.” The focus leans heavily toward protein consumption, with a bias against the anything that’s refined or processed – primarily grains. Although I don’t agree with everything I’ve read, there are certainly some excellent tips that can be incorporated into my eating. One of those suggested is the use of almond butter in place of peanut butter. Last night, I went searching for a jar.
Comparing Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter Health Benefits
Most of us have consumed peanut butter at some point in our lives. When I was a kid, I ate it by the tablespoon. And why not? It’s a tasty product with a long shelf life. It’s high in protein, which is an added plus, and nothing quite hits the spot like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I particularly like the “crunchy” varieties these days.
The knock against traditional peanut butter is that most are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil. Many of us equate “hydrogenated” with “trans fats,” and there is a difference in how they interact in the body. But, as an alternative to these, you can now choose from a wide selection of “all natural” varieties that eliminate the hydrogenated vegetable oil. Most of these suffer products suffer from two drawbacks, the first being that they must be refrigerated after opening, and the second being their tendency to “separate” with the oil floating to the top of the jar. I’ve tried this stuff and don’t like the handling or consistency, but taste is quite good. Some manufacturers have started supplying “No Stir” varieties that contain a small amount of palm oil, which is a saturated oil. This is a way of getting around the whole hydrogenated oil controversy.
Comparing the nutritional information of some off-the-shelf peanut butter in our pantry against the crunchy “no-stir” organic almond butter, they stack up quite similarly, with both having 190-calories in 2-tablespoons. Surprisingly enough, the peanut butter has slightly more protein than the almond butter (8 grams vs. 6 grams), and less fiber (2 grams vs. 3 grams). A review of the fat content shows the peanut butter to marginally more saturated and polyunsaturated fat. However, between the two, almond butter definitely contains the healthier cooking oil, with almost 50% more monounsaturated fat. Neither contains trans fats. From the standpoint of nutrient content, peanut butter provides about 20% of your daily niacin needs, while almond butter give 40% of vitamin E and 20% of magnesium.
My favorite ways to eat crunchy peanut butter are on the ever-so-favored PB&J sandwich and spread on a toasted bagel. So far, I’ve tried almond butter on both. Although it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like PB&J, an AB&J sandwich is quite tasty, being a bit “richer” in flavor than the peanut butter standby. The same can be said of the bagel. I can certainly attest to the idea that it keeps you feeling full for a long time though, and there are no more calories in a bagel with raw almond butter than peanut butter.
I don’t know if I’ll end up making almond butter a staple of my diet. It’s tasty, but I’ve got the flavor of peanut butter pretty heavily ingrained in my taste buds. Two limiting factors to my adopting it are availability and cost. It took three tries to find some at a local store, and it wasn’t cheap. The variety I purchased was about 50% more than the same size jar of peanut butter, and I got the least expensive variety. The other varieties they had in stock ranged from $6.99 to $10.99 for a 12-ounce jar. At those prices, I doubt I’ll be replacing all the peanut butter in my pantry tomorrow.
How many of the readers have ever tried almond butter? If you have, what’s the verdict? Thumbs up or thumbs down?