What’s in Your Favorite Nut Butter? A Comparison of Peanut, Almond, Cashew, and Other Favorites

Tags: Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts

It all began when South American Inca Indians discovered that grinding peanuts into butter made for a delicious treat. Then came Harvey Kellogg, a physician and the creator of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. He thought his patients needed a protein substitute for meat, so he invested in his very own version of peanut butter in 1895.

Fast forward to the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when peanut butter became commercially introduced to the world. The next thing you know, peanuts and peanut butter had become an important part of the Armed Forces rations during World Wars I and II.

Naturally, all varieties of nuts contain important nutrients (and some people simply don’t like peanuts or are allergic to them), so other types of nut butters have grown in popularity over the years. While some nutrition experts have gone so far as to say peanut butter isn’t healthy at all — is this true? How does peanut butter really really stack up against other nut butters?

The following comparison will shed some light on this topic. We have a graphic here, and more details below.

What's in Your Favorite Nut Butter? See a Comparison of Peanut, Almond, Cashew, and Other Top Nut Butters

How Nut Butters Compare

Based on 2 tablespoon servings.

Peanut Butter
When you stack peanut butter (the daddy of all nut butters) up against the others, you’ll quickly find that it isn’t as bad as some “experts” think. It contains 190 calories, 17 grams of fat, and very little sugar. It’s also high in selenium, which are important to enzyme function. The key to buying the very best peanut butter is to make sure that it’s all-natural and doesn’t include added sugar. If you’d like to sweeten your favorite natural brand of peanut butter up, you can use honey — one of our favorite SuperFoods.

190 calories
17 grams of fat
2 grams saturated fat
7 carbs
1 gram sugar
3 grams fiber
8 grams protein
20 milligrams calcium

Almond Butter
Almond Butter is quite close to peanut butter when you’re talking about calories, fat, saturated fat, and carbs. However, almonds offer a whopping 80 milligrams of calcium. It’s also packed with vitamin E, iron and magnesium. If you are allergic to peanuts (which are legumes) and not allergic to tree nuts, almonds are a great replacement.

190 Calories
16 grams fat
2 grams saturated fat
6 carbs
1.6 grams sugar
4 grams fiber
7 grams protein
80 milligrams calcium

Cashew Butter
Cashews are also tree nuts, but often times people with peanut allergies are also sensitive to cashews. If you’re going to enjoy cashew butter, it shouldn’t necessarily be because they are healthier than peanuts or almonds. In fact, they have a high starch content and offer the least amount of protein per serving. Additionally, cashews don’t offer any omega-3 fatty acids like peanuts and almonds. On the positive side, cashew butter offers copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

190 calories
15 grams fat
3 grams saturated fat
10 carbs
1.9 grams sugar
2 grams fiber
6 grams protein
20 milligrams calcium

Cashew, Almond and Sunflower Seed Butter
This is an exciting mixture of two nuts and one seed, all deliciously blended together. If you’re allergic to peanuts but can handle cashews, you may be able to enjoy — but be very cautious if unsure! Each serving contains nearly the same amount of calories, fat, and saturated fat as the above nut butters. It’s lower in protein than pure peanut and almond butter.

188 calories
15.8 grams fat
2.2 grams saturated fat
9 carbs
1 gram sugar
2.2 grams fiber
6 grams protein
40 milligrams calcium

Hazelnut Butter
Hazelnut butter’s rich flavor can either lead to instant delight or fright, based on your taste-buds’ preferences. Hazelnut butter offers fewer calories, above average fat content, and less saturated fat than peanut and almond butters. Its calcium levels are also on the lower end of the spectrum. Where hazelnut butter has an edge is vitamin E — it has two times the amount of peanut butter and is rich in magnesium.

180 calories
17 grams fat
1 gram saturated fat
5 carbs
0 grams sugar
3 grams fiber
4 grams protein
40 milligrams calcium

Macadamia Nut Butter
If you’re looking for a sinful treat, look no further! Macadamia nuts are very high in fat (4 grams saturated fat) and contain 230 calories. It isn’t recommended that you make it a part of your everyday life; rather, it should be a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Macadamias do offer quite a bit of iron, copper and fiber, which can definitely do a body good. Moderation is key for this one.

230 calories
24 grams fat
4 grams saturated fat
4 carbs
1 gram sugar
3 grams fiber
2 grams protein
20 milligrams calcium

Soynut Butter
Soynut butter is an excellent substitute if you’ve got a nut allergy, as it’s made with roasted soybeans, but it does have a grainy texture.  Each serving offers a whopping 9 grams of protein per serving and 60 milligrams of calcium. It doesn’t, however, stack up to peanut butter where vitamins are concerned. Peanuts contain high amounts of vitamin E, niacin, iron and riboflavin, while soy butter offers much less.

190 calories
15 grams fat
3 grams sugar
2 grams saturated fat
10 carbs
5 grams fiber
9 grams protein
60 milligrams calcium

Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower seed butter is another great option if you’re allergic to nuts. It’s also more rich in magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin E than peanut butter. Sunflowers are lower on the spectrum where fat and saturated fat are concerned, which is great for your cholesterol levels. The only real negative is that it doesn’t contain any calcium.

180 calories
12 grams fat
1.5 grams saturated fat
8 carbs
4 grams fiber
9 grams protein
0 grams calcium

Final Thoughts

While nut butters are generally healthy for you, they’re not something you should go overboard with. A serving a day should be the maximum amount you consume.