June 14, 2024

Often featured smeared on toast or as a part of a healthy snack, nut butters have a reputation for being good for you — but are they really? That’s up for debate. While traditional nut butters that contain mostly nuts and a few basic ingredients do tend to do the body good, there are some nut butter varieties out there that may do more harm to your body.

Now, before you sign off and head off to another article, we want you to know that we are well aware of the healthy fats associated with nut butters. Rather than focusing on the amount of fat in each serving, we instead will focus on the high amount of added sugar, additives, and carbs (when applicable) in order to give you an overall assessment of whether or not a nut butter is healthy.

Through a thorough analysis of nut butter ingredient lists and nutrition fact labels, we’ve compiled a curated list of nut butters that contain a bit more sugar, carbs, and additives than we’d like to see. Trust us, some of these stats may just surprise you! Join us as we get into the sticky details concerning the unhealthiest nut butters we’ve found on the market.

Read more: 16 Little-Known Facts About Salt

1. Nutella Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa

jar of nutella

jar of nutella – Nutella

When it comes to hazelnut spread, we can all agree that Nutella is a delightful original. It’s thick, creamy, and uniquely chocolate-hazelnut-flavored, quickly becoming one of America’s favorite spreads. But when it comes to nutrition, it might not be quite what you’d expect.

Nutella drizzled on hearty bread, waffles, or crêpes can make it seem like breakfast bliss. And while it can be part of your morning routine, don’t go overboard on the chocolate hazelnut joyride. Nutella is notorious for packing an unruly amount of sugar in its jars. In fact, only 2 tablespoons of this stuff can send your blood sugar soaring, with 22 grams of carbs and 19 grams of added sugar.

Yep, you read it here. There are 19 grams of added sugar in only 2 tablespoons of Nutella. That means only a few smears will get you close to your daily allotment of 25–36 grams of sugar, according to the American Heart Association. Yes, it tastes good and it’s often featured as part of a balanced diet, but the sugar content may cause you to do a double-take.

2. Nuts ‘N More Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Spread

nuts n more spread

nuts n more spread – Nuts ‘n More

If you’ve never heard of the Nuts ‘n More brand, well, this is your opportunity. Nuts ‘n More advertises itself as a high-protein, low-carb, low-sugar snack, but we did some digging, and there are a few things we’d like you to know. When it comes to Nuts ‘n More Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Spread, expect to get 5 grams of added sugar per 2 tablespoons. And while this might not sound like a lot, consider that a “normal” unflavored peanut butter usually runs about 0–1 grams of added sugar on average.

In addition to the added sugar content, this “low-carb” grab still packs a punch in the carbohydrate department, particularly if you’re following the keto diet. Just 2 tablespoons of the Nuts ‘n More Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Spread yields 11 grams of carbs, which is quite a bit more than your average peanut butter, which typically runs about 8 grams of carbs per serving.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger here, we think the stuff sounds just as delicious as you do. But as for claims about the spread being “low-sugar” and “low-carb”, well, you judge for yourself. Oh, and don’t forget that the xylitol found inside might cause diarrhea and gas in some individuals. Fun, right?

3. Justin’s No Stir Vanilla Almond Butter

justins vanilla almond butter

justins vanilla almond butter – Justin’s

Justin’s Almond Butter is a well-known almond butter brand, and it’s got quite a few tasty almond butter grabs out there. Still, it’s important to note that, like many other flavored nut butters on the horizon, Justin’s flavored almond butters might bring some elevated sugar and carb counts that could make you think twice before blending them into your next smoothie or spreading them over breakfast toast.

Justin’s No Stir Vanilla Almond Butter gets glowing reviews, but it is a bit sugary compared to other almond butter varieties on the market. When comparing it to Justin’s original almond butter, you’ll see that you’ll ingest 5 grams of added sugar in the vanilla variety, as opposed to the 0 grams of added sugar you’d get in the original. Carbohydrates are also double what they are in Justin’s Classic Almond Butter when opting for the vanilla flavor, with 10 grams of carbs per serving versus 5 grams of carbs in the flavorless option. This is likely due to the addition of “powdered sugar” in the form of cane sugar combined with tapioca starch found in the ingredients.

All in all, Justin’s No Stir Vanilla Almond Butter is a tasty grab, and it isn’t the worst we’ve seen in terms of carbs and sugar. Even so, it’s worth making note of, especially if extra carbohydrates and sugar are something you’re keeping track of for your specific dietary needs.

4. Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolatey Dreams Peanut Butter Spread

Peanut Butter & Co. spread

Peanut Butter & Co. spread – Peanut Butter & Co.

Peanut butter fiend? Totally understandable. Imagine combining the sticky goodness of peanut butter with creamy chocolate to make the spread of your dreams. Well, Peanut Butter Co. has nailed it and set the bar high. And though it certainly sounds delicious with raving fans, when comparing this peanut butter spread against traditional peanut butter, the added sugar and carbohydrate count is a bit high.

As previously mentioned, traditional peanut butter typically runs about 0-1 grams of added sugar and roughly 7-8 grams of carbs. With that in mind, you can expect Peanut Butter Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Spread to deliver 6 grams of added sugar and 11 grams of carbohydrates per 2 tablespoons. For reference, that’s roughly the amount of sugar you’d find in two Chips Ahoy cookies. While we realize it’s a small price to pay to add a little extra flavor to your crackers, toast, and chocolate peanut butter banana milkshakes, it’s still worth paying attention to, especially if you tend to consume a little more than the typical 2 tablespoons. Hey, we all do!

5. Great Value Hazelnut Spread

hazelnut spread with cocoa

hazelnut spread with cocoa – Walmart

Great Value Hazelnut spread, a wallet-friendly alternative, competes with Nutella on both flavor and value. With that said, Great Value’s rendition of the popular spread doesn’t fare any better than Nutella in terms of sugar and carbs, although you can expect to at least spare yourself a few grams of sugar by buying the cheaper stuff.

To be specific, Great Value Hazelnut Spread yields 17 grams of added sugar compared to Nutella’s 19 grams of added sugar. Let’s be honest, both brands contain a lot of sugar, and that 2-gram difference doesn’t really amount to much. In the same way, Great Value Hazelnut Spread also differs from Nutella by about 2 grams of carbs, yielding 20 grams per 2 tablespoons compared to 22 grams per 2 tablespoons. As for ingredients, the two are comparable, with the most notable difference being the addition of “whey” in the Great Value brand versus Nutella. With all things considered, both brands are sky-high in terms of sugar content, so, if you tend to go a little “nuts” with hazelnut spread, the nutritional content here might just be your reality check!

6. Great Value Honey Roasted Creamy Peanut And Honey Spread

great value honey roasted spread

great value honey roasted spread – Walmart

Great Value Honey Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter and Honey Spread certainly comes cheaply priced at $1.98 depending on location. But is it healthy compared to other types of peanut butter out there? Not quite. As it turns out, this high-protein yummy option is endowed with plenty of sugar and honey, causing the added sugar and carbohydrate content to spike. In just 2 tablespoons, you’ll get 6 grams of added sugar and about 12 grams of carbs. When combined with other goodies, like sugar-laden jellies and carbohydrate-filled white bread, for example, you could be looking at surprisingly high sugar and carb totals in something as seemingly innocent as a PB&J.

No, it isn’t the worst spread on the list, and the fact that it’s so cheap only makes it more tempting. But if you’re trying to curb your sugar intake or watch for carbs, you may wish to opt for the original version of peanut butter over flavored varieties like these.

7. Las Sevillanas Gloria Spreadable With Pecans

Las Sevillanas Gloria Spreadable

Las Sevillanas Gloria Spreadable – Las Sevillanas

This brand was new to us, but we soon discovered that those in the know consider it a fan favorite. Las Sevillanas Gloria Spreadable With Pecans might not sound like any nut butter you’ve ever heard of, but that’s what makes it so unique. Formulated with pecans as the third ingredient, this spreadable would likely pair well on a croissant with coffee. But is it good for you? Not hardly.

Sadly, this promising spread contains just as much sugar as hazelnut butter varieties, only this time, the ingredient list isn’t so minimal. There are a handful of additives in this pecan butter variety, and though most don’t pose serious health risks, the monoglycerides in it contain small amounts of trans fats that can eventually lead to stroke and heart disease when consumed in large amounts. Not only this, but there are about 20 grams of added sugar per 2 tablespoons, which is a lot. Needless to say, it’s best to think twice if you find yourself reaching for it multiple times a day.

8. Simple Truth No Stir Creamy Honey Almond Butter

simple truth almond butter spread

simple truth almond butter spread – Kroger

When it comes to clean ingredients, this flavored nut butter is the star of the show. It’s got dry roasted almonds, organic sugar, organic honey, oil, and salt for a perfectly minimal, yet undoubtedly tasty spread we’re sure you could make an awesome 3-ingredient peanut butter cookie with. Still, this Simple Truth No Stir Creamy Honey Almond Butter isn’t without flaws as it still contains a bit more sugar than we’d like to see when compared to traditional peanut butter — but it isn’t the most terrible option either.

Allow us to explain. When examining the nutrition facts for Simple Truth No Stir Creamy Honey Almond Butter, we came away comforted but also a bit disconcerted. Although the ingredients are simple, there are still 4 grams of added sugar compared to the 0–1 grams of added sugar in other almond butter varieties. And although this is one of the lowest added sugar amounts in flavored almond butter varieties on this list, it still requires a mention, especially if you plan to use more than 2 tablespoons of it in your next almond butter recipe.

9. Simple Truth Vanilla Almond Butter

simple truth vanilla spread

simple truth vanilla spread – Kroger

The Kroger-owned Simple Truth brand strikes again with another minimally delicious rendition of flavored nut butter. This time, it’s Simple Truth Vanilla Almond Butter, but, once again, the amount of added sugar in this one is higher than what you might see in other almond butter varieties. In this case, there are 5 grams of added sugar in every 2 tablespoons, along with the addition of high oleic sunflower oil.

While high oleic sunflower oil is often viewed as being beneficial for heart health, it has also been known to emit potentially harmful compounds, particularly after being exposed to high heat, according to Healthline. The omega-6 found in high oleic sunflower oil also poses risks as it is often associated with inflammation when eaten in copious amounts. Lastly, there are 10 grams of carbs in each serving of 2 tablespoons, so, if carb count is of concern, know that Simple Truth Vanilla Almond Butter has slightly elevated carb content compared to lower carb options, like Justin’s Classic Almond Butter which features only 5 carbs per 2 tablespoons.

10. 365 By Whole Foods Market Organic Hazelnut Cocoa Spread

365 hazelnut spread

365 hazelnut spread – 365 by Whole Foods Market

365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Hazelnut Cocoa Spread might earn bonus points for being organic, but when it comes to being healthy, this isn’t exactly what’s deemed as a good-for-you grab. Like so many other hazelnut spreads, this delectable spread comes chock full of sugar, despite being sold at a popular health foods market. It comes packed with 19 grams added sugar, and yes, all of it is refined. In fact, like Nutella, you can expect sugar to be the very first ingredient mentioned on the 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Hazelnut Cocoa Spread ingredients list, with the word “organic” being the only distinction between the sugar used in this and the Nutella brand.

One difference we did notice between Nutella and Whole Foods hazelnut spread is the absence of artificial flavoring in the form of vanillin. Instead of using artificial flavoring, Whole Foods hazelnut spread uses “natural” flavoring, which, we know, is still a very vague term. Nevertheless, with all things considered, there isn’t much difference between buying the Whole Foods version of hazelnut spread and the Nutella version. At most, you’ll get the benefits of organic ingredients and the absence of artificial flavoring, but be advised that the refined sugar is very much still there.

11. Nuts ‘N More Cocoa Hazelnut Butter Spread

nuts n more hazelnut

nuts n more hazelnut – Nuts ‘n More

This one’s kind of a balancing act, with some good and some bad qualities. Starting with the good, Nuts ‘N More Cocoa Hazelnut Butter Spread is yet another hazelnut spread, but this one’s a bit different than the rest. It features a significantly lesser amount of sugar per 2 tablespoons than the others, and also fewer carbs. Even so, each serving size still contains more sugar than what you’d get in a traditional peanut or almond butter, and thus, we still can’t deem this one as part of the “healthy” nut butters category.

To be specific, the Nuts ‘N More Cocoa Hazelnut Butter Spread contains 6 grams of added sugar, and about 10 carbs per 2 tablespoons. As mentioned, this is a stellar option in terms of hazelnut butter selection, as there has yet to be a hazelnut spread mentioned on this list to contain such a low amount of sugar in the hazelnut butter category. Nevertheless, 6 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons is still a lot, especially considering that many flavorless traditional nut butters only run about 0-1 grams of added sugar per serving.

Whether or not this one is on your radar for health reasons is completely up to you. While 6 grams of sugar is certainly high per 2 tablespoons, it isn’t quite as high as the usual 19 grams of sugar in most hazelnut butter spreads. It’s worth looking into.

12. Chocolate SunButter Sunflower Butter

Chocolate SunButter Sunflower Butter

Chocolate SunButter Sunflower Butter – SunButter

Chocolate SunButter Sunflower Butter is technically made from sunflower seeds, but we’ll mention it here anyway, in case you get your hands on a jar and are curious. Similar in looks to the infamous Nutella spread, this less popular rendition of chocolatey deliciousness still contains quite a bit of sugar compared to other flavorless nut butter varieties. In 2 tablespoons, you’ll get 5 grams of added sugar along with 9 grams of carbs. Despite the higher sugar and carb totals, you can at least relax knowing that there are little to no additives in this stuff — in fact, we’re seeing nothing but seeds, sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla.

Still, we know that sunflower butter isn’t necessarily everyone’s first pick, especially when it comes to things like PB&J or other traditional nut butter recipes. But if you’re looking for something different or would like to include the healthy fats associated with sunflower seeds in your diet, just know that added sugar and carbs are coming right along with it. For a lower-sugar alternative, opt for the no sugar added SunButter sunflower spread variety instead.

Methodology

assortment of nuts on table

assortment of nuts on table – SNeG17/Shutterstock

In order to get you the scoop on the unhealthiest nut butters on the market, the amount of added sugar and carbs in each jar were taken into account. Only nut butters with amounts of added sugar that exceeded most plain varieties were mentioned here, and each nut butter was compared to the lowest sugar nut butters in its category. Some nut butters, such as hazelnut, already prove tremendously high in sugar, so you may notice a major discrepancy in terms of sugar added between this type of nut butter and others.

Also, we’d like to point out that although nut butters tend to have a hefty amount of fat per tablespoon, these fats are often viewed as healthy fats. Because of this, fat did not play a huge role in determining whether or not a nut butter was unhealthy. Ultimately, the point of this article was to give a realistic and comparatively accurate look at which nut butters tend to be the unhealthiest, with the goal of helping you select the best nut butter for you, on the basis of your dietary need. Hope it helps!

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