It wasn’t long ago that the only choice when it came to nut butters was smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Not anymore!
Nuts can play a role – in the right portions – in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Most of the fat in nuts is the healthy unsaturated type, plus they are a fabulously well-rounded source of protein, vitamins E and B, and minerals including copper, zinc and magnesium and fibre.
Here, Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant surgeon and founder of www.vavistalife.com, analyses the pros and cons of the nut butter aisle.
Pros: A good source of protein; highest folic acid content as well as being high in healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E.
Cons: Some brands have a little added sugar.
Pros: Highest in zinc, copper and iron – naturally sweeter than many other nut butters.
Cons: Less protein than other nuts.
Pros: One of the lowest in calories and the highest in protein, fibre and calcium.
Cons: Relatively few, although some brands can have a bitter aftertaste.
Pros: Good for men, as 1-2 Brazil nuts deliver your recommended daily intake of the mineral selenium.
Cons: The most expensive option when it comes to nut butters.
Pros: One of the few vegetarian sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, known to be involved in
Cons: Bitter aftertaste, slightly lower protein and slightly higher in fat than some other nut butters.
Pros: One of the lowest percentages of saturated fat (along with pine nuts and almonds); highest proanthocyanidins (PACs) content of all nut butters. The antioxidant capabilities of PACs are likely to be 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than vitamin E.
Cons: Often found to be coupled with chocolate spreads, so read the label carefully!