How Many Calories in Almond Butter? (Too Much Fat?)
With so many healthy options out there, how are we so sure if these are right for our diet?
Almond butter, for example, has been a suggested alternative to enhance sandwiches or fruit pairings. But is it really as great as people say it is? How does it compare to peanut butter? Does it contain good fats? Aren’t nut butters high in calories?
These are just some of the questions people ask when it comes to almond butter. To better understand how you can incorporate it into your diet, let’s have a look at what almond butter is made of.
What is Almond Butter Made Of?
Ideally, almond butter should only have one ingredient: almonds. Yes, just almonds.
When almonds are churned, they release oils that turn it into a spreadable consistency. However, not all manufacturers make their nut butters this way. To extend the product, they add other oils, some of which are hydrogenated, to add bulk. However, hydrogenated oils degrade the quality of the nut butter, making it less beneficial for your health.
Organic nut butters such as organic almond butter are king because they are fresher, have a better nutrition profile, and are free of pesticides. Best of all, they are extremely tasty.
Non-organic almonds are less flavorful, so sugars and flavorings are added to make it taste more palatable. If you’re used to sugary nut butters, the real organic almond butters may taste a little unusual to you at first, but that’s because you are tasting the actual nut.
Are Nuts Part of a Healthy Diet?
The popular belief is that nuts are too fattening to be part of any weight loss diet when in fact, one tablespoon does not yield more than 10 grams of fat.
That’s still under 100 calories, which is not bad at all considering they are good fats, and are satiating than your typical carbohydrate meal.
Research suggests that nuts are actually very beneficial to weight loss. Nuts are healthful, natural foods that are full of great nutrients and phytochemicals. (1) It’s not just the fat content that makes certain foods healthy or not.
It’s the nutrient content— specifically vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nuts are an excellent source of macro and micronutrients, so you would do well to incorporate them into your diet.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats – What’s the Difference?
We have all seen it on television or in just about every other magazine out there. Good fats and bad fats. LDL and HDL. Bad cholesterol and good cholesterol.
Most of us are aware of what the bad fats are—margarine, hydrogenated oils, and trans fats to name a few—not realizing that a lot of these are actually household staples. From Oreos to cake, these bad fats offer little to no nutritional value, and can increase your risk of developing a host of diseases.
Despite efforts to clean out our pantries of trans-fats, it’s hard to stop once you have started. Hence, the rise of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancer. (2)
Health aside, these fats also contribute towards body fat storage in the abdominal region, so if you’re a fan of a flabby midsection, you would do well to find a way to avoid bad fats.
Good fats are those that are found in avocados, olive oil, salmon, coconut oil, almonds, and many more. When consumed, these fats not only give you a feeling of satiety, but they can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Almond Butter: A Good Source of Healthy Fats
One of the easiest and yummiest ways to consume good fats is with almond butter. Spread on toast or mixed into your oatmeal, almond butter can make any dish rich and creamy, almost like a desert.
For lunch or for a snack, spread it on an apple, mix it into a homemade salad dressing or just top some wholesome, whole wheat crackers with it.
Almond butter is a dieter’s best friend. With its bounty of protein, nutrients and essential fatty acids (good fats), it will keep you satisfied and full. So, if you’re trying to get the most nutrients into your daily diet and lose weight, you can’t go wrong with an all-natural or organic, sugar-free almond butter such as this one by Thrive Market.
Here are the essential nutrients in almond butter:
- Vitamin B2 (important for growth and red cell production)
- Calcium (bone strength, brain function, and nervous system)
- Cooper (brain function and nervous system)
- Vitamin E (essential for immune function and red cell formation)
- Manganese (immune system, reproduction, digestion, bone growth)
- Magnesium (blood pressure and bone health)
- Phosphorus (teeth and bone health)
- Iron (carries oxygen in the bloodstream)
- Resveratrol (antioxidant)
- Catechin (antioxidant)
- Epicatechin (antioxidant)
- Kaempferol (antioxidant)
- Quercetin (antioxidant)
- Carotenoids (antioxidant)
Almond Butter Nutritional Content
Not all almond butters are created equally. However, for this particular purpose, we will be using a brand called Thrive Market.
The Thrive Market Almond Butter is an excellent option if you’re tired of the same old PB&J. It has 7 grams of protein, which is 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
When it comes to plant foods, almonds are among the top of the list for protein. Almonds have as much protein as an egg.
It’s a good source of fiber, too. Most of us neglect to have enough intake of fiber in our daily diet. Thrive Market Creamy Almond Butter has 3 grams of fiber, which is 11% of the recommended daily allowance.
Fiber helps control your cholesterol levels, and when eating a diet that is rich in fiber, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (3)
Almond butter also has low sodium, so there is no need to worry about retaining water or bloating.
Is Almond Butter Good for Weight Loss?
Each serving of almond butter contains 15 grams of fat which are primarily made up of unsaturated fatty acids. This is a healthy form of fat that will help improve your cholesterol levels and fight against cardiovascular disease. (4)
The good fats and fiber slow down gastric emptying, making your meals that contain almond butter satiating for an extended period of time. This means that you are consuming fewer calories from other foods throughout the rest of the day.
If you are trying to lose weight, you should not avoid almond butter. In fact, adding almond butter to your diet will help in weight loss.
Because almonds contain a spectrum of nutrients including LDL-lowering phytosterols, vitamins, and minerals, they are considered nutrient dense.
When dieting, you want to pack in as many nutrients per calorie as possible. This will give you more nutrients which will give you more energy, thus making you more active.
Of course, too much of a good thing can be bad. Almond butter should not be eaten in excess. If you are trying to lose weight, one serving once a day should suffice. However, if you are slim and physically active, you can increase your consumption of almond butter to accommodate the higher energy expenditure.
Almond butter is becoming more and more popular due to its diversity and high nutritional profile.
Its fat content is healthy for the heart, and if you choose a good brand of almond butter that has no artificial ingredients, then all the better. It can be eaten on its own or added to smoothies, used in homemade baked goods, and put into sauces.
The bottom line is almond butter is packed with nutrients and good fat, therefore making it a worthy supplementary addition to your diet especially if you are trying to lose weight or shifting to a healthier lifestyle.