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  • 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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    2 Comments

    1. Julia said on July 26th, 2010

      I don’t understand why people say that nut butters are a good source of protein. By what standard? The ratio of protein to overall fuel is what I would think is what makes a food relatively high/low in protein. Most nut butters are 6-9 grams protein for 170-210 calories. Hell, if I ate 200 calories worth of carrots, I’d get 6-7 g protein. I certainly think nuts and nut butters are nutritious, but could you please help me understand the protein claim.

    2. Andy Bellatti said on July 26th, 2010

      Julia,

      Nut butters are a good source of protein because they contain a fairly high amount of protein *per serving*. Two tablespoons of any nut butter contain 7 grams of protein.

      Yes, you could get that same amount of protein by eating 200 calories of carrots. However, think of the *amount* of carrots you would have to eat to get that much protein. I don’t even know if it would be possible for someone to comfortably eat that many carrots in one sitting.

      In most cases, the golden standard for a serving is 1 ounce. So, ounce by ounce, almonds offer much more protein than carrots.

      Does that shed some light?

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