Almond butter and peanut butter have a lot in common.
Both are known to be a good source of vegetable fats and proteins. Both suit many culinary uses, from spreading on toast to making curries.
However, almond butter is usually at least twice the price of peanut butter, and has a healthier aura than peanut butter.
Is that a huge price tag worth it, or is peanut butter just like almond butter? This article will review and compare its health benefits, drawbacks and uses to tell you which one is the healthiest.
What is the difference between peanuts and almonds?
Peanuts and almonds are whole foods that are used to make each “butter”. Peanuts are actually legumes, members of the same plant family as beans and peas. They are seeds from pods that grow underground.
Peanuts migrate to South America throughout the tropics and subtropics, including Asia, parts of Africa, Spain and the southern United States.
By contrast, almonds are tree nuts. They grow on trees and are closely associated with other nuts, such as walnuts and cashews.
Interestingly, 79% of the world’s almond crop comes from California, although it is also grown in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries (1).
Almonds require a lot of water to grow and also need honeybee pollination. These two factors raise sustainability concerns.
By comparison, peanuts require much less water to grow, and the flowers of the peanut plant pollinate themselves.
The higher price of almond butter is partly due to the resources needed to grow almonds, combined with a higher demand for almonds in all their forms – as a whole, butter, made into almond milk and in food products.
Summary: Almonds are the nuts of a tree, while peanuts are legumes. Almonds require more resources to grow, which is often a high price tag.
Differences in taste and use
It’s hard to describe the difference in taste between almond butter and peanut butter without simply comparing the flavors of almonds and peanuts.
Peanut butter has a characteristic addictive aroma and taste, and a thick, sticky texture.
Almond butter is a little sweeter tasting, smoother and easier to taste than peanut butter.
Almond butter can be made from raw or roasted almonds, while peanuts are always toasted before being stirred into peanut butter.
You can use two nut butters somewhat interchangeably. Both can be spread on toast, used as a dip for fruit or added to a smoothie for extra fat and protein.
It can also be cooked into savory dishes, adding a nutty flavor and creamy texture to stews or curries.
The mild almond taste means it can be added to dishes without being noticeable. For example, you can use it in pesto or hummus.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the distinct flavor of peanut butter, then almond butter will not be a straightforward substitute.
Summary: Almond butter and peanut butter can both be used as a dip, in sandwiches or added to savory dishes. Almond butter has a lighter, sweeter flavor and peanut butter has a thicker texture.
Side by side nutrition comparison
Both almond and peanut butter can be made with just one ingredient.
However, some brands add additional ingredients, including salt, sweeteners, and other flavors and oils.
To facilitate a comparison between the two, the information below is for non-resident, single component items.
Here’s how to make peanut butter with 1 tablespoon of almond butter (2, 3):
|Peanut Butter||almond butter|
|protein||8 grams||5 grams|
|total fat||16 g||19 g|
|unsaturated fats||8 grams||12 grams|
|Saturated fat <3 grams||2 grams||carbohydrates|
|6 grams||7 grams||fiber|
|2 grams||1 gram||manganese|
|23% RDI < 38% RDI||21% red||21% red|
|21% red||4% RDI||4% RDI|
|% my response||11% red||11% red|
|16% red||copper||8% red|
|14% red||Calcium||1% my reply|
|9% red||9% red||9% red|
|6% red||6% red||Iron|
|3% red||6% red||riboflavin|
|2% red||12% RDI Folate||6% red|
|6% red||As you can see, peanut butter and almond butter are very similar, although peanut butter gets bonus points for getting a bit fewer calories and more protein.||However, almond butter provides a higher proportion of some nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, manganese and calcium, which are important for health.|
|Plus, the crunchy varieties of almond and peanut butter have a bit more fiber than the smooth versions.||Summary:||Almond butter and peanut butter have similar amounts of calories, healthy fats, and protein. Almond butter has higher amounts of several vitamins and minerals, which gives it a slight edge.|
Proven health benefits
In terms of overall health benefits, almond butter and peanut butter are similar.
Scientific literature and research often classify peanuts in the nut category.
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Regularly including peanuts and almonds and their butters in your diet may provide the following benefits: Reducing the risk of heart disease:
Research has consistently linked eating nuts with a lower risk of heart disease. A 2014 review found that just one serving of nuts per day may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by 19% (4, 5, 6, 7).
Help lower blood pressure:
Nuts contain several compounds, such as magnesium and copper, that help the body better regulate blood pressure. Just a daily serving may help lower blood pressure (8, 9, 10, 11).
Improve cholesterol levels:
- Eating different types of nuts may help lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol in healthy people and those with moderately high cholesterol (12). Helping maintain a healthy weight:
- Although nuts are high in calories, research has shown that eating them regularly is not associated with weight gain, but rather a lower risk of obesity (13, 14). Improve blood sugar control:
- Eating nuts regularly improves glycemic control in diabetics, ex-patients, and healthy individuals, likely because nuts are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and protein (15, 16, 17, 18, 19). Protection of cell membranes:
- Nuts are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes from harmful free radicals. Almond butter contains more than peanut butter, but both provide a good amount (2, 3, 20). Reduce the risk of gallstones:
- Several large studies have found that people who eat nuts more often have a lower risk of gallstones. This is likely thanks to the unsaturated fat and fiber content of nuts (21, 22, 23). Summary:
- Both almonds and peanuts, as well as butter, have many health benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT
- Why is almond butter seen as healthier? Despite the obvious similarities between almond butter and peanut butter, many people consider almond butter to be healthier.
There may be several reasons for this. It is likely that peanuts are legumes and almonds are tree nuts.
While other types of legumes, including beans and lentils, contain easily fermentable carbohydrates that can make you gassy, peanuts and peanut butter do (24, 25, 26).
Another thing that is often raised is that peanut butter contains nutrients, such as phytic acid, which reduce the absorption of other minerals.
While this is true, almond butter also contains nutrients.
Furthermore, research increasingly indicates that the nutrient may have some benefits, despite its drawbacks. For example, phytic acid is also an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of certain cancers (27, 28, 29, 30, 31).
Believe it or not, the extra price of butter may lead some people to think almond butter is better for them than the less expensive peanut butter.
Recent research has found that people believe that healthy food is more expensive. And many equate to a higher price tag with a healthier product (32).
Finally, some bias against peanut butter may simply be due to a misunderstanding.
Many articles claiming almond butter is healthier than peanut butter cite “facts” that are simply incorrect, such as almond butter having lower amounts of carbohydrates, or no risk of aflatoxin (33).
Aflatoxins are toxic compounds produced by molds that can grow in a number of raw foods. The truth is that peanuts and almonds are equally at risk (34).
There are several reasons people might think almond butter is better than peanut butter. However, they do not hold up well to scrutiny.
Most of the time, almond butter and peanut butter are healthy foods without many negatives.
However, there are some concerns that need to be addressed. Here are the most important ones
About 1% of people in the United States are allergic to peanuts and 0.5% are allergic to almonds and other tree nuts. Both allergies can be severe and potentially life-threatening (35, 36, 37, 38).
Slight risk of food poisoning:
Oftentimes, there is a mention of nut butters, as there are many foods. Both almond and peanut butter can tolerate aflatoxin and
- . High in oxalates:
- Both almonds and peanuts are high in oxalate, a class of natural compounds that can cause kidney stones. This can be a concern for people who are prone to kidney stones (39, 40). Additional Ingredients: Many brands add sugar, oils and other fillers to enhance taste, extend shelf life and prevent separation of natural oils. Look for ingredient lists with just one ingredient: peanuts or almonds. Damage:
- Natural nut butters will usually last for five to six months if stored in the refrigerator. If they start to smell rancid, toss them (41). the cost:
- Natural almond butter can cost up to three times the cost of an ounce of natural peanut butter. Summary:
- Almonds and peanut butter usually do not carry significant risks, except for people with peanut and almond allergies. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT
- Summary Peanut butter and almond butter are healthy options.
Almond butter delivers slightly higher levels of vitamins and minerals, making it a slightly healthier option. However, they both bring about the same major health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart disease and helping to keep blood sugar steady.
At the end of the day, a healthy one is one you have to eat regularly. So choose whichever you prefer and can afford it.