Nut butters: their differences, nutritional values and benefits

Nut Butters. Who wouldn't love them? They are tasty, can be consumed directly, but they also serve to prepare fitness recipes. We are talking about nut butters. But do you know the differences between them?

          

Types of nut butters

Even though at first glance it may seem that nut butters are all the same, don't be fooled! The first difference that affects their composition, taste, consistency and nutritional value is the kind of nuts the butter is made from.

        

The basic types of nut butters include:

  • peanut butter
  • cashew butter
  • almond butter
  • hazelnut butter
  • pistachio butter
  • nuts made of various kinds of nuts

           

Nut butters: their benefits, nutritional values and benefits   

     

Classification of nut butters according to consistency

Butters according to its consistency is divided into smooth and butters with crunchy pieces. But what is specific to each of them? [1]

     

Smooth nut butter

Soft nut butters have a soft and creamy consistency. Nuts are minced, and thanks to a creamy texture they are easier to spread and easier to use by cooking and baking.

       

Crunchy nut butter

Crunchy nut butter is characterized by content of crunchy pieces of nuts. It is suitable for cooking, baking or making smoothies.

        

Classification of nut butters according to the proportion of nuts

100% nut butter

Nut butters and spreads with 100 % nut content ensure you eat pure nut butter. Because they do not contain any additives (such as salt, sugar, palm oil, fruit pieces), they are among the most beneficial butters for our organism.

         

Butters with additives

Additives are added to some nut butters to improve their taste, effect, consistency or increase shelf-life. These are, for example, nut butter with added chocolate or pieces of fruit. However, their disadvantage is that they may contain an increased proportion of sugar. Common additives are also salt or palm sugar.

              Butters with additives

          

A special category among butters with additives protein nut butters, which are enriched with proteins from one or more types of protein. They are particularly popular among athletes, whom they can help with the supplementation of the necessary daily protein intake in the form of delicious nut butter.

        

Differences between nut butters

Now that we know what types of nut butter we recognize, we can find out what makes each of these nut butters so unique.

       

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is without doubt the most widespread and well-known among all nut butters. [2] Although we know that peanuts are not real nuts, the taste of peanut butter resembles roasted nuts. [3] Most nuts are characterized by growing on trees. However, peanuts grow in soil, so they are classified as legumes, like peas and lentils. [3]

         

Benefits of Peanut Butter

1. It has high-class nutritional composition

The advantage of peanut butter is that it is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and zinc. [4] This is also evidenced by a study confirming that only two teaspoons of peanut butter contain:

            

  • Proteins, up to 7.02 g depending on the peanut species. This allows you to supplement your recommended daily protein intake, which is 46 g on average for women and 56 g for men. [5] However, be careful, recommended daily protein intake depends on body weight, age and physical activity, find out more in our article - When and how much protein to take for achieving maximum result.  
  • Magnesium - daily intake of magnesium varies between 400 - 420 mg in men and between 310 and 320 mg in women. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 57 mg of magnesium, which plays a role in over 300 chemical processes in the body. [6]
  • Phosphorus - in this portion is found 107 mg of phosphorus, which helps build healthy cells while producing energy. [7]
  • Zinc - peanut butter gives us 0.85 mg of zinc, which is essential for promoting immunity, protein synthesis and DNA building. [8]
  • Niacin - also called vitamin B3, helps digestion, nerve function and helps produce energy. The two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 4.21 mg of vitamin B3. [9]
  • Vitamin B6 - contains up to 0.17 g of peanut butter, covering almost 14% of the average daily intake of vitamin B6 in an adult. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in more than 100 enzyme reactions and is essential for heart health and the immune system. [10]

               

Peanut  butter - benefits

                  

2Contributes to weight loss

Several studies have shown that eating peanuts can help maintain weight or lose weight. This is because peanuts induce a satiety due to protein, fat and fibre content. [11] 

 

A study was conducted in 2018 with results that consumption of nuts, including peanuts, reduces the risk of overweight and obesity. This study compared diet and lifestyle to nearly 373,000 people from 10 European countries over a period of 5 years. [12] In the same year, another study was conducted which has shown that the consumption of two teaspoons of peanut butter with food that has a high glycaemic index was able to stabilize the glycaemic index. [12]

  

There was one more study conducted a little bit earlier recording data from more than 51,000 women. Women who consumed peanuts two or more times a week showed less weight gain over 8 years than women who rarely consumed nuts. [13] However, it should be pointed out that too much of a good thing is never good and this applies to nuts and nut butters too.

                 

3. Promotes heart health and low blood sugar

Peanut butter contains a number of nutrients that improve heart health, including:

  • monounsaturated fatty acids
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • niacin
  • magnesium
  • vitamin E

  

In diet, the ratio of unsaturated fatty acids to saturated fats plays an extremely important role for heart health. Peanut butter has a similar proportion of healthy fats as olive oil, which is known for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. [14] Regular consumption of nuts can lead to a reduction in heart disease deaths. Researchers recommend just peanuts as an affordable way for better heart health. [15] [16]

       

Peanut  butter - health benefits                  

Studies from the American Diabetes Association also suggest that consuming 46 grams of peanut butter over a period of 6 months can lead to improved heart health, blood lipid profiles, and weight loss in people with diabetes. [17] [18] Peanut butter is a relatively low-carbohydrate butter that contains fats, proteins, and fibre. These properties of peanut butter, without added sugar, do not have a significant effect on blood glucose levels. That's why peanut butter can also be a good choice for people with diabetes. [19]

   

Benefits of peanut butter for athletes

Daily calorie intake varies based on body weight, degree of activity, and metabolic rate. Typical daily recommended calorie intake ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for active women, and more than 3,000 calories per day for men. Thanks to its high calorie content, peanut butter is an easy way to increase calorie intake and unsaturated fat intake. Therefore, many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts include peanut butter in their eating plan. [20]

    

Peanut butter is also a source of protein that is essential for building and regenerating muscle mass. Although peanut butter does not contain the complete protein composition - it does not have all the essential amino acids the body needs, it is counted in the daily protein intake. [21]

           peanut butter for athletes

                    

Disadvantages of peanut butter

In addition to the advantages, however, peanut butter may also have drawbacks with increased consumption. Due to the high content of calories, saturated fats and potassium, [22] high doses can cause weight gain. One portion of peanut butter contains an average of 3.05 g of saturated fat, which represents up to 23.5% of the average daily intake of saturated fat by the American Heart Association. [23]

     

Cashew butter

Compared to peanut butter, cashew butter contains less protein. However, it is richer in iron, copper and phosphorus. Also, compared to peanut butter, it contains almost half less sugars. [25] Cashew butter is rich in calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E and has a significant proportion of healthy fats that the body needs. [26]

          

Cashew butter can be divided into raw and salted cashew butter. The biggest difference is that when you eat raw cashew butter you receive more nutrients than in salted cashew butter, which is usually made by roasting cashew nuts. The advantage of raw cashew butter is that without any added salt it contains almost no potassium and cholesterol. [27] [28]

            

cashew butter

                

Benefits of Cashew Butter

1. It is a source of magnesium and sodium

Cashew butter is a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays an important role in maintaining the body's health. Magnesium intake is important for metabolic functions and the immune system. Magnesium also regulates blood pressure levels and promotes calcium absorption. [29]

       

If you are looking for a suitable source of sodium intake, we recommend that you consume unsalted butter. Unsalted cashew butter contains up to 26% of the daily sodium intake. [30]

          

2. It contains less fat compared to other nuts

Cashew nuts contain less fat compared to other types of nuts. They are therefore beneficial not only for overall health, but this nutritional fact is also important for athletes who take care of their calorie intake.

        

Below, you'll find a comparison of the fat content of different types of nuts compared to cashew nuts at a dose of 28g: [31]

  • walnuts: 183 calories and 18 g fat [32]
  • Brazil nuts: 184 calories and 19 g fat [33]
  • almonds: 164 calories and 14 g of fat [34]
  • pistachios: 156 calories and 12 g fat [35]
  • cashew nuts: 155 calories and 12 g fat [36]

                

benefits of cashew butter

           

Of course, with cashew butter, nutritional values may not always be maintained. When additives are added to the butter, its nutritional composition changes, which can lead to an increase in fat and calories.

     

Disadvantages of cashew butter

Unlike other nut butters, cashew nuts or cashew butter do not contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent high blood pressure. [37]

     

Almond butter

Almond butter has enjoyed great popularity among fitness enthusiasts in recent years. Although it appears to have similar nutritional values compared to peanut butter, they are not the same in everything. Almond butter contains more fibre, vitamins and minerals. [39]

      

It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. It also contains a large dose of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Below, you will find a comparison of the nutritional values of a teaspoon of almond butter versus peanut butter: [40] [41] [42]

           

Almond butter (teaspoon) Peanut butter (teaspoon)
98 calories 94 calories
3,3 g protein 3,8 g protein
3,01 g carbs 3,4 g carbs 
1,6 g fiber 1,1 g fiber
8,8 g fat 7,9 g fat

                                             

Benefits of almond butter

1. Maintains a healthy digestive system

Based on a clinical test published in 2018 in the Nutrients Journal, almonds promote digestive health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Almonds contribute to the formation of butyrate, which helps to increase the protection of the digestive tract and affects glycaemic control. At the same time, it reduces inflammation in the digestive tract. Fibre and probiotics contained in almonds "feed" digestive bacteria, leading to a healthy microflora. [43]

       

In addition, both raw and roasted almonds contain probiotic compounds. This means that no matter what type of almonds you choose, you will prosper from both of them. [44]

             

Almond butter          

2. Naturally promotes skin health

Already a quarter of a mug of almonds provides 40% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E. [45] Almond butter is somewhat more concentrated and provides more nutrients in a single dose compared to the same amount of raw almonds. [46] Vitamin E, one of the main components of almonds, helps the skin in several ways.

        

This fat-soluble vitamin protects the skin from free radicals, UV radiation, oxidative stress, and at the same time helps wound healing. Also, it can help with symptoms of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, or yellow nail syndrome. [47]

      

3. Reduces weight and cholesterol

If you look at the nutritional value of almonds, you will find that they have more calories and fats. However, as a healthy snack, you can use almonds and almond butter to maintain weight during your diet. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that replacing high carbohydrate snacks with almonds can lead to fat reduction and cholesterol levels. People who have made this change in diet have experienced a significant loss of weight and fat, especially in the abdomen, already in 6 weeks. [48]

               Almond butter benefits

         

Due to its high protein content, almond butter suppresses appetite and helps to keep the muscles in shape during the diet. Research has shown that high protein breakfasts can increase satiety and cause positive changes in appetite hormones. Thus, treat yourself to almond butter for breakfast and enjoy its full benefits. [49] [50]  

         

Moreover, almond butter is a great source of fibre and polyunsaturated fat. Both of these nutrients are involved in weight and appetite control by reducing hunger sensation and increasing satiety. [51]

          

Disadvantages of almond butter

The biggest disadvantage of almond butter seems to be its price. In many cases, it is more expensive than peanut butter. Of course, it is also necessary to take into account the composition of the butter, which can be converted into a calorie bomb due to additives.

      

Hazelnut butter

Hazelnuts, although they contain high amounts of calories, provide nutrients and healthy fats. They contain the amounts of vitamin B6, phosphorus, folic acid, zinc and potassium. In addition, they are a rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats. They lack omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, such as oleic acid. [53] [54]

         

Benefits of hazelnut butter

1. Relieves inflammation

Hazelnuts are associated with a reduction in inflammation due to their high healthy fat content. Experts have conducted a study that investigated how hazelnuts are consumed by “triggers” of inflammation. For example, this is a highly sensitive C-reactive protein. The study was conducted on 21 people with high cholesterol. The researchers noted a significant reduction in inflammation after 4 weeks of diet, where hazelnuts represented 18 to 20% of the total caloric. [55] [56]

           

Hazelnut butter           

Even consuming of 60 grams of hazelnuts every day for 12 weeks has helped to reduce the triggers of inflammation in overweight and obese people. [57] Another study has shown that eating 40 g of hazelnuts can reduce inflammatory responses in healthy people. [58]

        

2. It has a high content of antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress, which can cause damage to the cell structure and promote aging or heart disease. [59] [60] The most abundant antioxidants in hazelnuts are phenolic compounds. These have been shown to reduce cholesterol and inflammation. They can also be beneficial for heart health and prevent cancer. [61] [62] [63]

        

Disadvantages of hazelnut butter

Hazelnuts contain phytic acid, which has been shown to weaken the absorption of some minerals, such as zinc and iron. [64] [65]

         

Pistachio butter

Pistachios are foods that contain the most vitamin B6. It is important for the regulation of blood sugar or the formation of haemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen to red blood cells. [67] Pistachios are also a rich source of potassium. Already 28 g of pistachios contain more potassium than half of the large banana. [68] 

             

Pistachio butter

                        

Benefits of Pistachio Butter

1. It has few calories and a lot of protein

Pistachios are among the low-calorie nuts. The 28 grams of pistachios contains 156 calories compared to 183 calories in walnuts or 193 calories in pecans. [69] [70] [71]

           

Protein accounts for almost 20% of their total weight, making the pistachios ranked second in protein content, just behind the almonds. They also have a higher content of amino acids, which more support the growth of protein "blocks" than other kinds of nuts. [72] [73] These amino acids are considered essential because the body cannot produce them themselves. Other amino acids are considered semi-essential, so they may be essential under certain conditions, depending on the human health condition.

          

One of these semi-essential amino acids is L-arginine, which accounts for 2% of the total amount of amino acids in pistachios. L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide in the body, causing vascular enlargement and thus providing better blood circulation. [74]

       

2. May help with weight reduction

Pistachios are rich in fibre and proteins that increase feeling of satiety. In a 12-week weight loss program, one group consumed 53 grams of pistachios a day as a snack. The result of this study was that this group had twice as much a reduction in body mass index. [75]

                 Pistachio butter - benefits

         

Another 24-week study with obese people showed that those who consumed 20% of calories from pistachios reduced the waist circumference by 1.5 cm, compared to those who did not. [76]

        

Disadvantages of pistachio butter

Increased consumption of pistachios or pistachio butter can lead to increased sodium levels in the body. This may cause an increase in blood pressure. [77]

         

Comparison of nutritional values of nut butters

In the following table, we compared the nutritional values of various nut butters to 100 g: [24] [38] [52] [66] [78]

                                 

Nutritional values

Peanut butter

Almond butter

Cashew butter

Hazelnut butter

Pistachio butter 

Calories 589 kcal 614 kcal 587 kcal 646 kcal 572 kcal

Proteín

24 g 21 g 18 g 15 g 21 g
Fat 50 g 56 g 49 g 62 g 46 g
Carbs  22 g 19 g 28 g 18 g 28 g
Fiber 8 g 10 g 2 g 9.4 g 10 g

                   

We believe that through this article we have brought you closer to the differences that you should notice when choosing nut butter. What is your favuorite nut butter? Let us know in the comment and share it if you like the article.

     

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