November 13, 2018
Nut butter spreads

What’s in Your 'Nut Butter'?

by Erica Ilton, RDN, CDN  

Whether made from ground tree nuts (as in almond, cashew, pistachio, and macadamia butter), legumes (as in peanut and chickpea butter), or seeds (as in sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seed butter), most of these "nut butter" spreads are rich in protein, healthful fats, and a range of nutrients.

Still, there are some notable differences among them (and some notable duds).

Did you know, for instance, that two tablespoons (the standard serving) of almond butter provides about 110 milligrams of calcium? That's more than 10 percent of the Daily Value for this essential bone mineral. And walnut butter is a good source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA). On the other hand, the main ingredient in Nutella hazelnut spread is sugar.

This chart shows how these "nut butter" spreads compare and some things that stand out (for good or bad) in each one. Brand names are included in cases where nutrition information is not available from the USDA.