Are you under the Nutella spell, like most of us? Yes, this blog will be about Nutella, but I will also be discussing other nut butters out there on the shelves of your local Coborn’s. Be ready to have many of your questions answered, including which nut butter is best for you.
First of all, let’s talk about Nutella – here are the facts: 200 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 15 mg of sodium, and 21 grams of sugar in JUST TWO TBSP. Nut butters will have a lot of fat, but the type of fat is more important according to recent studies. Here are the concerns I have with this spread:
At most, we should have 20 total grams of fat for our day, however those with heart disease should have more like 12-15 grams; Nutella has 12 grams of total fat, with 4 grams coming from the saturated fat. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to spread it thick over some bread or crackers. Something else to consider is the amount of sugar (21 grams PER SERVING). According to public health agencies adults should have no more than 24-36 grams of added sugar per day, and for Nutella’s 21 grams of sugar, you really aren’t getting any nutrition. For example, I would prefer if you ate a yogurt with 21 grams of sugar, because at least you are getting some protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Finally, there is only 1 gram of fiber per serving. As Americans we tend to not get enough fiber on a daily basis so it is of great importance to consider the amount of fiber you are consuming from foods. Basically, think of this as a sometimes food, or a dessert. This is not something I would encourage even though I know it is made with hazelnuts, which are the third ingredient behind sugar and palm oil. NuVal Score = 2
Let’s increase our nutritional value by trading up to peanut butter. I choose Skippy creamy peanut butter. Looking at this compared to Nutella, we increased in the total fat, but lost a gram of saturated fat, went up a gram in fiber, lost 18 grams of added sugar, gained some B vitamins and Vitamin E. Whoa! Yes, I did say it went up in total fat, but the most important part is that we lost a gram in saturated fat. Remember, I said the type of fat is more important according to recent studies so this is a great alternative to Nutella, however as I access the ingredient list I notice that there are hydrogenated vegetable oils listed. This is something to avoid as it can increase the saturated fats. Sodium is at 150mg, which I know can drop lower. Finally, the protein is at 7 grams, which is 5 more grams that Nutella. NuVal Score=20
What about the “natural’’ versions of peanut butter? Well here we go…. I choose low sodium (see, I told you that sodium could go down) natural Jif creamy. The fat stayed at 16 grams, the saturated fat stayed at 3 grams, sodium dropped to 80mg, fiber stayed at 2 grams and sugars stayed at 3 grams compared to Skippy creamy peanut butter. Protein is at 7 grams. Now I move to the ingredient list and we have lost the hydrogenated oils so we have traded up even further to a NuVal Score of 25. NuVal Score =25
Now let’s talk about Sunbutter. Total fat is the same, but the saturated fat dropped to 2 grams (any drop in saturated fat is great, even if it is just 1 gram) compared to Jif natural. The sodium did go up, however it is still considered low sodium. The fiber doubled to 4 grams, sugars and protein are the same. All of this brings the NuVal score up to 41. NuVal Score=41
Finally, we get to almond butter, my personal favorite, not only because it is so nutritious, but the taste is fabulous! The total fat went up to 17 grams… remember what I said before in regards to total fat… and the saturated fat dropped half of a gram. The almond butter I choose is Full Circle (not all almond butter is the exact same in nutrition content, just as you saw with the peanut butters) and it’s SODIUM FREE! Now, for those of you who know me, THAT IS AMAZING; life can’t get any better at this point! Fiber is at 3 grams, and sugar is at 2 grams with protein at 6 grams compared to Sunbutter. Because of the NO sodium and all of the heart healthy fats in this product, the NuVal score is an 84. NuVal Score =84
Some of you may question why the score on almond butter is so high. I did discuss two reasons the score was higher, the no sodium, and the type of fats. Let me elaborate on those fats. Basically there are three types of fats: trans, saturated, and unsaturated. Trans fats… just say no! Now to the saturated fats; these fats are the ones we want to decrease in our diet as they are linked to increases in cholesterol levels, which put us at risk for heart disease. The unsaturated fats… there are several types of these and we want to include a variety of all of them, however because of our food supply and typical American eating habits, we tend to get a lot of one type of these fats and the goal is to get all of the healthy fats. The most prominent type of heart healthy fat that is in almond butter is different than the type that is in peanut butter and sunbutter. The type of fat in these nut butters we get so much of, but we really want to include that variety of heart healthy fats; that is most ideal! That is the main reason I recommend almond butter over the others.
All of these butters are great (minus the Nutella) and nutritious, some more than others, but it is really the type of fat found in almond butter that Americans could benefit from including in their diets more often. I hope this blog article helps to answer some of your questions regarding the different types of nut butters and their fats.
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