peanut butter alternatives

Peanut butter alternatives

Peanut butter is a very popular food worldwide. However, peanuts are one of the major food allergens, affecting approximately 1 in 50 children and 1 in 200 adults (1). Fortunately, those not affected with other nut allergies can enjoy peanut butter alternatives available in the market.

Why choose peanut butter alternatives

Below are a few reasons why you might avoid peanut butter and choose something else:

  • As mentioned before, peanut allergy is the main reason why someone would choose alternative products. Keep in mind that someone with peanut allergy is 25% more likely to be allergic to other tree nuts (1).
  • Disliking the taste or texture. Believe it or not, I know people who fall into this category.
  • Preferring other nut butters.
  • You avoid all legumes including peanuts because you follow a paleo diet.
  • You avoid peanuts because you’ve heard they contain aflatoxin.

Butters vs spreads

There is no consensus in the use of the words “butter” and “spread” when referring to food products that are made by grinding nuts. Commercially, the terms are interchangeable and thus they give no indication of the actual content of the product. Therefore, I recommend you read the ingredients list and nutrition information before purchasing.

What is available

Nuts

Most commonly, nut butters are made with almonds, cashews and ABC (almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews). There are a few brands that use macadamias, hazelnuts and pistachios, but these are not widely available.

Raw vs roasted

Some manufacturers use raw nuts, some use roasted ones. The nutrient composition is similar, so choose whichever you like best.

Other ingredients

Salt is the most common additional ingredient. Some brands also includes seeds (such as chia or hemp). Finally, the most processed nut butters out there also contain vegetable oil, sugar and other less-than-wholesome ingredients.

Ingredients

Other brands

Hand’N’Hoe Organics make delicious macadamia butters and Royal Nut Company makes nut butters using other nuts, including hazelnut, macadamia and pistachio.

Nutrition comparison

I have included nutrient information per 100g due to the disparity of serving sizes in different products. Some list 10g as a serve (about 1/2 level tablespoon), some 20g, some 22g.

Almond butters

Nutrient Pic’s Almond Butter
Per 100g
Mayver’s Almond Spread
Per 100g
Mayver’s Almond & Chia Spread
Per 100g
Honest To Goodness Almond Butter
Per 100g
Bega almond spread
Per 100g
Melrose Almond Butter
Per 100g
Energy (kJ) 2520 2500 2370 2500 2420 2610
Protein (g) 26.5 22.1 20.5 22.1 7.1 19.7
Fat, total (g) 52.0 52.8 47.2 52.8 42.0 61.0
– Saturated (g) 4.1 4.0 3.9 4.0 8.2 27.8
Carbohydrate (g) 8.5 19.3 24.2 19.3 43.0 11.0
– Sugars (g) 5.9 4.9 3.6 4.0 19.0 6.1
Sodium (mg) 2.0 1.0 2.8 1.0 290.0 46.0
Dietary fibre (g) 7.9 11.8 14.6 ? ? 10.6

Cashew butters

Nutrient Pic’s Cashew Butter
Per 100g
Bega cashew spread
Per 100g
Melrose Coconut Cashew Butter
Per 100g
Melrose Macadamia Cashew Butter
Per 100g
Energy (kJ) 2470 2430 2753 2558.5
Protein (g) 21.2 5.8 13.2 14.9
Fat, total (g) 42.0 41.0 61.0 54.9
– Saturated (g) 7.9 13.0 27.8 10.4
Carbohydrate (g) 32.6 47.0 11.0 12.7
– Sugars (g) 8.8 19.0 6.1 7.0
Sodium (mg) 8.0 288.0 46.0 7.1
Dietary fibre (g) ? ? 10.6 8.5

ABC butters

Nutrient Mayver’s Almond, Brazil Nuts & Cashew Spread
Per 100g
Honest To Goodness ABC Almond, Brazil & Cashew Spread
Per 100g
Melrose ABC Butter
Per 100g
Pureharvest ABC Hemp Spread
Per 100g
Energy (kJ) 2860 2860 2651 2680
Protein (g) 18.4 18.4 16.5 21.7
Fat, total (g) 61.8 61.8 58.1 57.2
– Saturated (g) 11.0 11.0 10.4 10.0
Carbohydrate (g) 15.5 15.5 6.4 8.6
– Sugars (g) 4.0 4.0 4.3 3.7
Sodium (mg) 5.0 5.0 5.0 27.6
Dietary fibre (g) 7.3 ? 14.0 8.1

Nut butters compared

Nutrient Pic’s Cashew Butter
Per 100g
Mayver’s Almond Spread
Per 100g
Honest To Goodness ABC Almond, Brazil & Cashew Spread
Per 100g
Hand’N’Hoe Organic Macadamia Butter – Natural Crunchy
Per 100g
Energy (kJ) 2470 2500 2860 3080
Protein (g) 21.2 22.1 18.4 9.2
Fat, total (g) 42.0 52.8 61.8 74.0
– Saturated (g) 7.9 4.0 11.0 10.0
Carbohydrate (g) 32.6 19.3 15.5 7.9
– Sugars (g) 8.8 4.9 4.0 4.6
Sodium (mg) 8.0 1.0 5.0 2.0
Dietary fibre (g) ? 11.8 ? 6.4

Summary and recommendations

If you are allergic to peanuts and not other nuts and/or if you dislike peanut butter, you might enjoy other nut butters as peanut butter alternatives. Make sure you read labels to make sure the ingredients contain ideally just nuts (and maybe salt).

Even though natural nut butters can be part of a healthy diet, they are energy dense and easy to overconsume. Make sure you don’t eat too much if you are watching your weight.

You can try peanut butter alternatives in the following recipes:

References

  1. Sydney Local Health District. Peanut Allergy2019. Available from: https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/rpa/allergy/resources/allergy/peanutallergy.pdf.

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