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    Archive for the ‘almond butter’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Nut Butters, Nut Milks, Protein, and Satiety

    04314l1395I understand that nuts are filling because, in part, of their protein. Do nut milks (e.g., almond milk) possess similar properties? Are they as “filling” or have as much protein?

    Also, what is a good protein replacement for nut butters? I like nut butters and love the idea of “bulking up” a piece of bread to make it more satisfying, but sometimes find it hard to digest nuts in large quantities. Is there something else I can put on my breads, muffins, etc. that will make me feel as full for as long as nut butters do?

    — Lizzie (Last Name Withheld)
    (Location Withheld)

    Nut milks offer different nutrient values than nut butters because they have have a much higher water content.

    If you make nut milk the traditional way (straining the liquid through a chinois and/or a nutmilk bag before consuming it), most of the “nut mush” (along with its fiber and protein) is caught and does not make it to your beverage.

    This helps explain why the average cup (1 serving) of commercial almond milk has 1 gram of protein, while 1 serving (2 tablespoons) of almond butter has 7 grams of protein.

    In terms of a good replacement for nut butters, you could always do a combination of nut butters with fruit.

    For example, if you normally put 2 tablespoons of nut butter on bread, try 1 tablespoon (or even 2 teaspoons) and then add some sliced bananas or mashed berries.  The fiber in the fruit will help you feel full, while the decrease in fat will make the total snack easier to digest.

    You could also put a small amount of nut butter on bread and add a sprinkling of hemp, chia, or flax seeds for easier digestion.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Peanuts vs. Tree Nuts

    peanuts-peeledA peanut butter sandwich is as American as apple pie.

    What are your thoughts on peanut butter, though?

    I’ve been hearing that peanuts, which I know are actually legumes, aren’t as healthy as tree nuts.

    Should I be making my sandwiches with almond butter instead?

    — Fred (Last name withheld)
    Brooklyn, NY

    I don’t have any issues with peanuts or peanut butter.

    When it comes to nuts (and, yes, for the sake of this post we’ll treat peanuts as such), my recommendation is to always have one serving of some nut every day.

    One serving is made up of 13 walnuts halves.  In the case of almonds, that’s 23 individual pieces.  If you’re talking pistachios, you’re looking at 49 kernels!

    The issue with nuts is that you could label any one as “better” or “worse” than the next, depending on what criteria you use.

    Consider these lists I compiled:

    FIBER CONTENT (per ounce)

    • Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios: 3 grams
    • Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts: 2 grams
    • Cashews: 1 gram

    PROTEIN CONTENT (per ounce)

    • Peanuts: 7 grams
    • Almonds, pistachios: 6 grams
    • Cashews: 5 grams
    • Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts: 4 grams
    • Pecans: 3 grams

    MONOUNSATURATED (heart-healthy!) FAT (per ounce)

    • Hazelnuts: 12.9 grams
    • Pecans: 11.5 grams
    • Almonds: 8.7 grams
    • Brazil nuts, peanuts: 6.9 grams
    • Cashews: 6.7 grams
    • Pistachios: 6.6 grams

    OMEGA 3: OMEGA 6 RATIO (per ounce)

    • Walnuts: 1:4
    • Pecans: 1:20
    • Pistachios: 1:51
    • Hazelnuts: 1:89
    • Cashews: 1:125
    • Brazil nuts: 1:1,139
    • Almonds: 1:2,181
    • Peanuts: 1:5,491

    All of them, meanwhile, are good sources of vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese.  Calorie amounts range from 155 (cashews) to 195 (pecans).

    I always recommend varying your nut intake since each variety contains unique phytonutrients and antioxidants that have been linked to an array of health benefits.

    Peanuts, for example, are a wonderful source of resveratrol (the same antioxidant in red wine and grape skins), while pecans contain high amounts of beta-sisterol, a cholesterol-lowering phytonutrient.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Spicy & Decadent Satay Marinade

    peanut-sauce-lrgThis delicious Thai-inspired marinade is extremely easy to make and imparts wonderful flavors.

    Although traditionally paired with chicken, I have only had this marinade with tofu and tempeh, where it works wonderfully!

    Don’t let the long ingredient list dissuade you — preparation is super quick.

    YIELDS: 1 cup (4 servings)

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
    1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew; natural and unsalted recommended)
    2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
    2 medium garlic cloves
    1 Tablespoon dried ginger
    2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    2 teaspoons Thai chili peppers, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 cup basil leaves
    2 teaspoons chili powder OR cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
    2 Tablespoons lime juice
    1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    5 teaspoons water

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until evenly combined.

    To get optimal flavors, marinade food for at least 4 hours, covered, in refrigerator.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    198 calories
    5 grams saturated fat (see note, below)
    300 milligrams sodium
    2 grams added sugar

    Excellent Source of: Manganese, monounsaturated fat, niacin

    Good Source of: Magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin E

    NOTE: The saturated fats in this recipe come exclusively from the nut butter and coconut milk. Coconuts’ saturated fat is less atherogenic than that of full-fat dairy. Additionally, if using peanut or almond butter, their saturated fats are packaged along with extremely heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

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    “But That Lady on TV Said It!”

    3716_GoodMorningAmerica_logoLast weekend, Good Morning America did a segment titled “What To Eat When.” For it, they booked Kimberly Snyder, a self-proclaimed nutrition expert who, in this particular instance, spouted off a variety of inaccurate facts and misleading information.

    Even more disturbingly, several magazines have recently turned to Miss Snyder for nutrition tips.  SOS!!

    Watch the video (linked above) first, and then read my detailed response below.

    Protein bars are unhealthy because they contain soy protein isolate, a heavily processed ingredient than can impair thyroid function.

    Yes, soy protein isolate is processed, but the main reason to limit protein bar consumption is because they are high in added sugars, generally low in fiber, and do not offer the same amount of nutrition real foods do.  While soy can exacerbate already-existing thyroid problems, it does not cause them.

    100% fruit snacks are not the best choice for children because they are too dense.

    I agree that 100% fruit snacks are not as healthy as they sound (they are basically pure sugar), but what on Earth does her critique of “it’s too much density” mean?  The problem isn’t that fruit snacks are calorically dense, it’s that they offer very little nutrition.

    “Peanut butter has a lot of sugar.”

    WRONG. You can find plenty of peanut butter brands that do not add sugar.  Additionally, even the ones that do add sugar do not add a lot (two grams, or half a teaspoon, per serving is the average).

    Almonds are better than peanuts because they have vitamin E and protein.

    Absolutely misleading.  Peanuts have just as much protein and vitamin E.  Besides, both almonds and peanuts contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and plenty of mineral and phytonutrients.

    Artificial sweeteners score high on the glycemic index.

    Wow.  Absolutely incorrect.

    Besides, if this ‘expert’ is so worried about the glycemic index of foods, why does she then recommend watermelon, which has a very high glycemic index?

    “An acidic body tends to hold on to more weight.”

    Oh, no — not that school of thought!

    No fruit after dinner — it sits in your stomach on top of what you ate and bloats you.

    Pardon me while I repeatedly smack my head on my desk.  This is absolutely false.  The human digestive system can handle a piece of fruit at any time of day.

    Good Morning America producers, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Almond Butter

    Any idea how much almond butter you need to eat to get the same benefits in one ounce of almonds?

    Oddly, I love almond butter but don’t care for whole almonds.

    — “wife2abadge”
    Via the blog

    Yes, slightly less than an ounce (or two tablespoons.)

    The nutritional profile of an ounce of pure almond butter is equal to 1.1 ounces of whole almonds.

    Another way to think about it: it takes approximately 25 or 26 individual almonds to make one ounce/two tablespoons of almond butter.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Almond Milk

    I am trying out almond milk and wondering why calcium is listed [on the nutrition label] as 0% [per serving] when it is made from almond base made from almonds.

    What are your thoughts about almond milk, anyway?

    — Dennise O’Grady
    Bay Head, NJ

    “Almond base” is basically a combination of almonds and water.

    In order to save money, many companies that sell almond milk use a pretty high water to almond ratio.

    Consider the following: 23 almonds contain 7% of the Daily Value calcium.

    Thereby, if your brand of almond milk contains zero percent of the calcium Daily Value per serving, it’s fair to conclude that each serving probably contains two or three actual almonds (eleven almonds provide 3.3 percent of the Daily Value, 6 almonds provide 1.82 percent, and three almonds provide .91 percent.)

    Almond butter, meanwhile, lists almond as its sole ingredient.

    It is no surprise, then, to see that two tablespoons provide ten percent of the calcium daily value (this means that it takes approximately 35 almonds to make two tablespoons of almond butter!)

    My thoughts on almond milk aren’t particularly strong either way.

    I enjoy the taste quite a bit myself, but I wouldn’t suggest that anyone specifically seek it out or avoid it.

    I do, however, recommend that people choose varieties fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Nut Butters

    I am allergic to peanuts, so peanut butter is out of the question for me.

    Of all the other nut butters, which is the most nutritious?

    — Danielle Spolner
    San Francisco, CA

    All nut butters share similar nutritional profiles.

    Peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, and soynut butters all offer protein, healthy fats, and between 175 and 200 calories in a 2 tablespoon serving.

    One big plus about almond, cashew, and sunflower seed butters is that they are only available in natural form (meaning they exclusively made of crushed nuts and, in some cases, salt), whereas some brands of peanut and soy butters add partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and sugar.

    That said, there are a few differences worth pointing out.

    Almond butter is the most caloric, but it also offers the highest amount of monounsaturated (heart healthy) fat, vitamin E, and manganese. Of all the nut butters, it has the lowest protein content (4 grams per serving.)

    Cashew butter offers the same amount of calories as peanut butter but offers the least amount of vitamin E per serving (2 percent of the Daily Value.)

    Sunflowerseed butter is very similar to peanut butter, but offers half the monounsaturated fats.

    Soy butter is the highest in protein and lowest in calories. It also, however, provides the lowest value of monounsaturated fats.

    Since the differences are quite minimal, I suggest you simply pick the one you enjoy most.

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