All Nut Butters Are Not Created Equal

Find out if you’re choosing the healthiest nut butter.


Photo by: cheche22


Today there are all kinds of nut butter lining store shelves. And while variety is great, finding the healthiest option may be confusing since each variety of nut (or seed) provides a different array of nutrients. Here’s an inside look at the most popular nut butters and the nutrients each kind provides.

Peanut Butter

One tablespoon of crunchy or smooth peanut butter provides about 94 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. The fat is mostly from heart healthy unsaturated fat. Peanut butter also provides nutrients such as the antioxidant vitamin E, niacin, manganese, and selenium. It also contains the antioxidant resveratrol, also found in red wine.

Regular peanut butters, even the “natural” ones may have add-ins like palm oil so be sure to read the label. Reduced fat peanut butter may seem like a smarter choice, but oftentimes it contains more sugar compared to the full fat version.  

Recommended buys:

Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter

Trader Joe’s Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter

Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

Walnut Butter

One tablespoon of walnut butter contains 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 2.5 grams of protein. Like all nut butters, the fat is mostly the unsaturated, healthy kind. You’ll also find a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6, folate, manganese, and magnesium.

Some walnut butters contain other nuts, like cashews, or have flavors added. Read the labels to make sure sugar isn’t added to the ingredient list.

Recommended buys:

Futters Walnut Butter

Almond Butter

Almond butter has become more popular, especially with some folks allergic to peanuts. One tablespoon of almond butter has about 100 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein. It also provides vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese and smaller amount of fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc.

When buying almond butter read the ingredient list as some food manufacturers add sugar or hydrogenated oils in order to increase the flavor or shelf-life.

Recommended buys:

Trader Joe’s Creamy Almond Butter

Cashew Butter

One tablespoon of cashew butter provides 94 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein. It also provides 18-percent of your daily recommended amount of copper, and 10-percent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium. You’ll also find smaller amounts of manganese, zinc, and phosphorus.

Always read the label as some brands add extra unsaturated fat from oil, which can increase calories, while other brands may add additional nuts to the blend, hydrogenated fat or added sugar.

Recommended buys:

Sunflower Seed Butter

Although not technically a nut, sunflower seed butter required an honorable mention. The delicious flavor and ability to bring a sunflower seed and jelly sandwich to nut-free schools has made this spread popular. One tablespoon of sunflower seed butter provides 93 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein. It also contains several B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper.

Recommended buys:

Mixed Nut Butter

Some companies have put all the goodness of nuts and seeds, or some combination of them, into one jar. This is one way to get all your “eggs” (or nuts in this case) in one basket. Calories, protein, and fat vary per jar, so read the label to make sure you know what you’re getting,

Recommended buys:

Nuttzo Power Fuel Nut and Seed Butter

Trader Joe’s Best Mixed Nut Butter

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