TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Almond Butter?

5/5 say yes.

All five of our experts are nuts for almond butter.

A standard 2-Tbsp serving of plain almond butter has 196 calories, about 7 grams of protein and a bunch of fat—about 18 grams. That’s just fine with Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “Almond butter is a dieter’s best friend due to its lack of carbs and its abundance of protein and healthy fat—both fill you up and keep you satisfied,” she says.

It’s a good source of fiber, too. Most of us fall far short in the fiber department, and a serving packs an impressive 3.3 grams of fiber—about 13% of the FDA’s daily recommended total. “I recommend almond butter to my patients all the time,” says nutrition consultant and registered dietitian Keri Gans, who suggests spooning some into your morning smoothie or bowl of oatmeal.

Buy (or grind) the kind that’s made from just nuts, says Dr. David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “Churned almonds have all of the nutrition of almonds, and that’s very good,” he says. “But be careful that additions of salt, sugar, and other oils haven’t hitched a ride.”

Research continues to mount that a diet that contains nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, says Dr. David Jenkins, professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. “We and others have shown that nuts tend to lower serum cholesterol,” says Jenkins. “The more you eat, the lower your cholesterol.” His research has also shown that almonds can help control diabetes if you eat about a couple of handfuls a day, he says, and “nut butters probably do the same as mixed nuts.”

“We are criticized for the environmental impact of advising people to eat almonds,” Jenkins says. Growing almonds requires a lot of water; it’s widely reported that just one nut requires a gallon of it. Yet almost 70% of U.S. almonds are exported in their shelled form, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, which doesn’t always sit well, considering that the almond-producing state of California has little water to spare. “However, if nuts are replaced even by dairy, the effect on ground water use and antibiotic pollution by feedlot industrial agriculture is orders of magnitude greater,” Jenkins says.

David Zetland, assistant professor of economics at Leiden University College in the Netherlands and author of Living with Water Scarcity, agrees that forfeiting almonds isn’t the solution. “Almonds are not the problem,” he says. “All of our activities (consumption of water, discharge of pollutants, etc.) in sum are the problem. The solution is not to stop eating almonds, or to tell farmers what to grow. It’s to limit ag use of water or ag pollution of the air in total, so that the environment is protected.”

Almond-butter

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TIME food & driink

Cronut King’s Latest Creation Looks Like a Pretzel Bear Claw

Courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dominique Ansel unveiled his $8 pretzel lobster tail on national TV

Updated August 8 at 11:30a.m.

Have the cronut king’s novelty pastries jumped the shark? We’ll find out sometime before dawn on Saturday, when the line starts forming outside Dominique Ansel’s Soho bakery for his latest oeuvre: the pretzel lobster tail.

Introduced on Good Morning America Thursday, the $8 invention is comprised of pretzel dough wrapped around a buttercrunch-peanut butter filling and comes with a warm dipping sauce made from whipped honey and browned butter. The entire concoction is “sprinkled liberally” with Maldon sea salt.

Sounds delicious. But ever since Ansel captivated us with his doughnut-croissant hybrid last spring, his subsequent novelties — the waffogato, the frozen s’mores — have been a lot less thrilling. And then there’s the dubious move of announcing the new pastry on national TV, which has already prompted one food writer to implore, “Please stop distracting from all that by appearing on national television to introduce pastries like they’re the next iteration of the iPhone … You’re better than that. ”

Not that we’d turn our nose up at the chance to try one.

Update: Dominique Ansel heard my plea and invited me to his bakery to try the pretzel lobster tail one day before it goes on sale. What surprised me most was the generous amount and distinctive taste of the peanuty brittle filling. (Ansel told me the nuts are caramelized and salted before they are ground down into a butter.) And there was so much dipping sauce that I brought some home to spread on toast later. The verdict: tasty, and extremely filling.

TIME Peanut Butter

Millions of Jars of Peanut Butter Headed to the Dump in New Mexico

No word yet on where anyone’s going to find a million jars of jelly.

Almost a million jars of peanut butter are destined for a landfill in New Mexico after Costco refused to take the shipment due to leaky peanut oil.

The peanut butter, valued at an estimated $2.6 million, was manufactured by Sunland Inc., a company now in bankruptcy after playing a central role in a national salmonella outbreak in 2012.

An official overseeing the bankruptcy said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue” but that Costco declined to take the shipment and refused to allow it to be donated to a food bank. The peanut butter was manufactured with peanuts owned by Costco, the Associated Press reports. Costco did not respond a request for comment from the AP.

With no option other than destruction, the roughly 25 tons of peanut butter is being moved to a landfill in Clovis, New Mexico. The last of 58 truckloads is expected Friday.

[AP]

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