What is Sunbutter?
Sunbutter is a plant-based peanut butter alternative made from sunflower seeds. It was created as a peanut-free option for people with peanut allergies or sensitivities. Sunbutter has a similar texture and flavor to peanut butter, and it can be used as a direct replacement in recipes.
The main ingredient in Sunbutter is roasted sunflower seeds. It may also contain salt, sugar, and oils to enhance flavor. There are a few different varieties of Sunbutter available, including organic, no-stir, and no-sugar-added options. Since it’s made from seeds instead of nuts, Sunbutter is safe for people with peanut and tree nut allergies.
Nutritional profile of Sunbutter
Sunbutter contains the following nutrients per 2 tablespoon serving (32g):
As you can see, a 2 tablespoon serving of Sunbutter provides 190 calories, mainly from fat. It is low in sugar at just 2 grams per serving.
It’s important to note that different varieties and brands of Sunbutter may have slightly differing nutritional information. For example, no-sugar-added or low-fat versions will be lower in calories and fat compared to original Sunbutter.
Calorie and fat content
The majority of calories in Sunbutter (about 82%) come from fat. A serving provides 16 grams of total fat. For comparison:
– Regular peanut butter has 16 grams fat and 190 calories per 2 tablespoon serving
– Almond butter has 14 grams fat and 180 calories per 2 tablespoon serving
– Cashew butter has 13 grams fat and 180 calories per 2 tablespoon serving
So Sunbutter is fairly comparable to other popular nut and seed butters in terms of calorie and fat content. It provides a similar number of calories and amount of fat as regular peanut butter per serving.
The type of fats found in Sunbutter include:
– Monounsaturated fat: helps lower bad LDL cholesterol when eaten in moderation
– Polyunsaturated fat: provides essential omega-6 fatty acids
– Saturated fat: can raise cholesterol levels, so it’s best to limit intake
Sunbutter provides mostly healthy fats from sunflower oil, with a small amount of saturated fat as well. The mono- and polyunsaturated fats it provides may help regulate blood cholesterol levels when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Protein and carbohydrate content
In addition to fat, Sunbutter contains 8 grams of plant-based protein per serving. This gives it about 4 grams more protein than peanut butter ounce for ounce.
The protein in Sunbutter comes from the sunflower seeds it’s made from. Protein helps support building and repairing muscles and tissues.
Sunbutter also provides 6 grams of carbohydrate per serving, including 3 grams of fiber. The fiber in Sunbutter can help promote fullness, gut health, and digestive regularity.
So while Sunbutter does contain a good amount of fat and calories, it also provides nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can be included as part of a healthy, balanced eating pattern.
Sunbutter’s calorie density
Calorie density looks at the number of calories in a given weight or volume of food. Foods with higher calorie density provide more calories in a smaller portion.
Here is how the calorie density of Sunbutter compares to some other foods:
|Food||Calories per 100 grams|
Sunbutter provides roughly 591 calories per 100 grams. This makes it a high calorie density food. However, its calorie density is very similar to other nut and seed butters like peanut butter. Foods like oils, nuts, seeds, and cheese tend to be more calorie dense.
To put this in perspective, here are the calories in 100 grams of some other high protein foods:
– Chicken breast: 165 calories
– Lean beef: 250 calories
– Tofu: 145 calories
– Lentils: 116 calories
– Edamame: 121 calories
So while Sunbutter is high in calories for its weight, its calorie density is comparable to other nutrient-rich foods. This type of calorie density is fine in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Daily calorie needs
To determine if a food fits into your diet, it’s important to look at your overall daily calorie needs. The number of calories you should eat per day depends on factors like:
– Activity level
– Goals like losing, gaining, or maintaining your current weight
Here are some average daily calorie estimates for adults:
– Sedentary women: 1,600-2,400 calories
– Sedentary men: 2,000-3,000 calories
– Active women: 2,000-2,800 calories
– Active men: 2,400-3,600 calories
So a 190 calorie serving of Sunbutter could represent around 8-12% of your total daily needs if you follow a 2,000 calorie diet. For most people, there is room to incorporate some higher calorie foods like Sunbutter while still meeting your goals and needs.
It’s best to enjoy Sunbutter and other dense, fatty foods in moderation by paying attention to serving sizes. Having small, measured servings can help keep calories in check.
Weight loss considerations
If you are following a calorie-restricted diet for weight loss, you may want to limit calorie-dense foods like Sunbutter. Some tips:
– Measure servings carefully using a tablespoon. Don’t eat directly from the jar.
– Enjoy Sunbutter sparingly, spread thin. Pair it with lower calorie foods like fruits or veggies.
– Consider diluting Sunbutter with water or Greek yogurt to make a lower calorie “creamy” spread.
– Limit yourself to 1-2 servings (2-4 Tbsp) per day to keep calories under control.
– Be mindful of extra calories from things like bread, crackers, or sandwiches when eating Sunbutter.
However, you don’t necessarily have to avoid Sunbutter altogether when trying to lose weight. Some peanut butter in moderation can be incorporated into a reduced calorie diet. Just be mindful of servings and total calories.
Health benefits of Sunbutter
Despite being relatively high in calories and fat compared to other protein foods, Sunbutter can still be part of a healthy diet. Some benefits of Sunbutter include:
– Plant-based protein to support muscle growth and satisfy hunger.
– Fiber to promote fullness, gut health, and digestion.
– Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
– Nutrients like magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, phosphorus, and iron.
– Bone-supporting vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus.
– Anti-inflammatory compounds that may protect health.
– No cholesterol or trans fats like those found in animal products.
– Convenient, shelf-stable source of nutrition.
Research suggests that people who regularly eat nuts and peanuts may have a reduced risk of heart disease and gallstones. The healthy fats in Sunbutter can help regulate cholesterol when consumed in moderation as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
Sunbutter also provides a tasty, plant-based source of protein. It can help support vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian eating patterns.
So while the calories and fat should be accounted for, Sunbutter can still be part of a balanced and nutritious diet. It provides a number of important nutrients.
Comparing Sunbutter to peanut butter
How does Sunbutter compare to regular peanut butter in terms of nutrition and calories? Here is a head-to-head comparison:
|Nutrient (per 2 Tbsp)||Sunbutter||Peanut Butter|
As you can see, Sunbutter and peanut butter have nearly identical amounts of calories and fat per serving. Sunbutter provides slightly more protein and calcium, while peanut butter has a bit more carbohydrates. But overall, their nutrition profiles are very similar.
So if you enjoy the taste of Sunbutter, it can be used in place of peanut butter without a significant difference in calories, fat, or other nutrients. Just watch your portions with both spreads.
How to enjoy Sunbutter while managing calories
Here are some tips for enjoying Sunbutter as part of a healthy, calorie-conscious diet:
– Measure out a 1-2 tablespoon serving and spread thinly or dip your knife in the jar instead of taking big scoops.
– Pair with fruits and vegetables for a more balanced nutrition profile. Try bananas, apples, celery, or carrot sticks.
– Use it to replace higher calorie fats in recipes like stir-fries, smoothies, sauces, and oatmeal.
– Spread it thinly on whole grain toast or flatbreads instead of slathering it on.
– Combine with plain Greek yogurt and a touch of honey for a lower calorie “creamy” dip or spread.
– Use it in energy bites and no-bake cookie doughs made with oats, dates, and peanut butter for portion-controlled treats.
– Mix into overnight oats made with oats, chia seeds, milk, and fruit.
– Add a spoonful to smoothies or shakes for extra nutrition.
– Spread on rice cakes instead of crackers or bread for a light snack.
Enjoying Sunbutter in moderation along with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can allow it to fit into your diet while still providing great taste and nutrition.
Sunbutter does contain a fairly high amount of calories and fat per serving compared to other protein-rich foods. A 2 tablespoon serving provides 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 8 grams of plant-based protein.
However, its calorie and fat content is very similar to nut and seed butters like peanut butter or almond butter. And it still provides important nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Moderation is key when enjoying calorie-dense foods like Sunbutter. Measuring servings, spreading thinly, and pairing with lower calorie foods can help keep calories in check. Sunbutter can be included as part of an overall balanced diet focused on whole foods.
So is Sunbutter high in calories? Yes, it’s relatively high compared to many other protein foods. But enjoyed in sensible portions, Sunbutter can be part of a healthy diet that meets your nutrient needs within your daily calorie intake.