Are you a longtime lover or devotee of peanut butter and have had to give it up due to allergy or health concerns? You’re likely missing that slightly salty, creamy and tongue sticking spread and looking for the ideal alternative. Depending on your criteria, this substitute may not be so easy to find and could leave you still very much longing for peanut butter.
We’ve tracked down the most popular alternatives and compared them for you so you can find the perfect fit for your needs.
Why Do Some People Need To Skip Peanut Butter?
There are two main reasons that peanut butter is usually eliminated from someone’s diet.
Around 1% of Americans have an allergy to peanuts. This allergy can cause symptoms such as hives, itching, difficulties breathing, digestive issues such as cramping, tingling of the lips and mouth, and more. In severe cases, a peanut allergy causes anaphylaxis, constricting the ability to breathe and potentially causing death.
2. Health or dietary choices
For some, the choice to avoid peanut butter is related to dietary choices and a decision to reduce the number of saturated fats and carbohydrates they consume. This is particularly true for those on the ketogenic diet. Even if you are not allergic to peanuts, many find them hard to digest, especially in peanut butter form, due to the high-fat content.
What Happens If You Eat Peanut Butter Every Day?
Are there other reasons to diversify your pantry’s spread offerings? If neither allergies nor a popular new diet has you rethinking your peanut butter habit, maybe this will.
Consumption of peanut butter daily can increase your risk of developing an intolerance or an allergy. According to registered dietitian Lauren Minchen:
"One side effect of eating peanut butter every day can be inflammation that stems from a peanut intolerance. Generally speaking, food intolerances, which notably are different than food allergies, can arise when we eat the same foods over and over again for weeks and months."
While this development of an allergy or intolerance is generally rare, it is still recommended to limit your exposure to allergens and eat them in moderation. The best practice is to diversify your diet and give your body a break from allergens. This means incorporating alternatives to peanut butter such as pecan butter, granola butter, soy butter, and others.
Top Four Alternatives
In terms of color, consistency, and texture, there are a wealth of options available to choose from. Some of the more recent or less common options that rank well on the comparison scale are:
Less sweet than some options, pecan butter is a slightly bitter, savory option that is perfect when paired with a dash of maple syrup. Pecans are incredibly high in antioxidants as well as being high in magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and fiber. When blended they make a smooth paste similar to peanut butter and can be used in much the same way.
The downside of pecan butter is that as pecans are tree nuts, they are still an allergen. Tree nut allergies are also quite common, making this alternative unsuitable for many.
Not to be confused with Nutella, hazelnut butter contains no added milk or cocoa solids. Hazelnut butter is significantly healthier for you than its chocolate-flavored counterpart. However, while its texture and consistency are very similar to that of peanut butter it still has a very distinctive hazelnut taste. For this reason, it lends itself more to sweet than savory uses.
Unfortunately, just like pecan butter, hazelnuts are a tree nut - so once again, not the ideal swap for anyone with a concern about allergens.
Granola butter is a relative newcomer to the spreads arena and quite an innovative concept. Granola butter, is as it sounds, pureed granola! It comes in a variety of flavors and consistencies, so you can choose from crunchy or smooth just like peanut butter.
However, granola butter doesn’t act as a solid substitute - it is high in calories and can be high in added sugars. It is a sweet spread option that is unlikely to give you that same salty but sweet satisfaction that a nut butter can.
For anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, be sure to check the labels as often oats are manufactured in the same place as wheat, causing cross-contamination.
Soy butter is consistently ranked as being the most similar to peanut butter in consistency, color, and texture. However, this is hardly surprising given that peanuts and soybeans are related! It has a mild, slightly sweet taste that works well in cooking, baking, and as a spread.
As members of the legume family, many people who are unable to consume peanuts are also unable to eat soy. In fact, soy is another common allergy across the United States with around 0.3% of the population affected. Meaning soy butter may also be unsuitable for your needs.
While all of the above have their merits, sadly, they all have one thing in common - allergens or the possibility of contamination with allergens. At Beyond The Equator we saw this gap in the market and recognized the unfairness and difficulties this represents for a huge number of people.
We created our 5 Seed Butter to meet the needs of those with allergies and those who want a truly natural and healthy alternative to peanut butter. Our product is packed full of known superfoods and manufactured in an environment free of the top 8 allergens - eliminating the risk of cross-contamination.
Our product makes it easy to harness and digest the vitamin and mineral content of chia, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. All in an easy-to-use, versatile and delicious spread. The ideal one-for-one substitute for peanut butter in baking and cooking as well as being school safe for those much loved BP and Js.
Enjoy all your favorite dishes without compromising on taste or nutrition, that’s the Beyond The Equator Promise.