Jam and peanut butter are the most widely used spreads on sandwiches. These spreads are good in adding unique flavors to your crackers and bread. But, on the nutritional side- which one is packed with more health benefits? Read on to know the differences between these two spreads.

The main difference between peanut butter and jam rests on what they are made of. As the name suggests, peanut butter is made from a paste extracted from roasted peanuts. It is very popular all over the globe; in fact, a few countries celebrate by commemorating a day for this butter. Peanut butter contains molasses as well as vegetable oil. These two items lend it a rich taste and texture. Otherwise, the butter has proteins in abundance. It is also known to contain an antioxidant called resveratrol.

On the other hand, jams are made with different kinds of fruits. Jams are essentially sweet dishes, and are considered to provide energy instantaneously. Jam’s sweetness is derived by boiling fruits and sugar. The texture is made thick so as to make it to spread well over your breads and crackers. Jams do contain both the juice and flesh of fruits. The most common fruits used for making jams are apricots, peach, strawberry, blueberry, etc. Often, these jelly-resembling spreads are made with a single fruit. However, mixed fruit jams are also gaining popularity.

Peanut butter – Added details

This is not a fully processed food item. As mentioned above, you get this while you grind roasted groundnuts to a paste form. If you thought this is what is sold in stores, you may be wrong to a greater extent. Commercially sold peanut butter is made by adding a few additives to it. The common additions made to it are vegetable oils, sugars and – in a few brands, trans-fats as well.

Dieticians recommend intake of peanut butter instead of highly processed, read to eat foods. However they also warn against eating highly processed peanut butter. The healthy version of peanut butter contains peanuts only. A small dose of salt can be overlooked though. However, an excessive consumption of peanut butter – added with artificial additives and trans-fats – is found to result in cardiac disorders.

Nutritional differences

There are major differences between jam and peanut butter. Seven (7) of the major differences are listed here in the succeeding sections.

#1. Magnesium

In a serving of 2 tablespoon (tbsp) of peanut butter, you can get upto 55 milligrams of magnesium. It may be noted that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 315 mg for women and 415 mg for men. Intake of peanut butter is one dependable way to provide for magnesium. This mineral is required for your bone health. The nutrient is also found to play an active role in promoting the wellbeing of your muscles and nerves. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to bone related disorders such as osteoporosis, etc. Lack of this essential mineral is also linked to the incidence of cardiac problems, building up of blood pressure (triggered by blockages in blood vessels) as well as risks of diabetes and strokes. Apart from bone health, the mineral serves as a catalyst for more than 200 chemical reactions in your body. For example, this mineral plays an essential role in moving stool and helps you avoid risks of constipation.

#2. Proteins

Every serving of 2 tablespoon (tbsp) is found to possess nearly 7 grams of proteins. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of proteins is nearly 55 grams to men and about 45 grams in women. It may be noted these allowances can vary with activity as well as age. Your body needs proteins for many activities at cell level. The activities proteins promote include rendering proper structure to your cells, shifting of molecules, replication of your DNA, boosting metabolism, etc. Human beings depend on their diet to supply needful RDA of proteins. Proteins you consume through peanut butter (and other such sources) are made into amino acids. If proteins are not consumed, your body may start using its own proteins – stored mainly in muscles. The biggest role proteins play is in enabling the action of enzymes; especially in metabolism as well as repairs of DNA. Hence, intake of proteins as per RDA is essential to maintain needful nutrient balance as well as endocrinal health.

#3. Zinc

A standard serving of peanut butter supplies nearly 0.84 mg of this nutrient. The recommended dietary allowance stands at nearly 8 mg to women (however during pregnancy trimesters, the RDA is nearly 11 mg). It is about 12 mg for men. A regular serving provides for nearly 10% of the RDA of women and about 8% of the same for men. For children and teenagers, RDA levels are found to grow as they age; it ranges from 3.1 mg to nearly 8.2 mg per day. This mineral is needed to enable some 250-plus enzymes to work well. You will find zinc to have a role in almost all classes of enzymes. Your body has traces of zinc in kidneys, bones, brain (renders plasticity to nerve networks, cells, etc.) and eye. The prostrate is rich with zinc, and as a result semen is found to have a copious amount of this mineral. As the soil is endowed with zinc, many plants foods such as grains (like wheat and bran), seeds (including mustard and mustard) and nuts (peanuts, almonds, beans, etc.) are found to have it in sizeable levels.

#4. Phosphorous

Recommended dietary allowance of phosphorus stands at nearly 700 mg per day for an adult. A standard serving of peanut butter can give you upto 105 mg of this nutrient. In terms of RDA, this translates to about 15%. This nutrient helps in providing the framework for RNA and DNA. This is also a carrier of energy at the cell level. Phosphorous traces are generally found in your teeth and bones. On the whole, your body may contain less than 0.72 kg of this nutrient. Of this, nearly 88% is in your bones (including your teeth). Lack of this essential mineral can make your cells go deficient on adenosine triphosphate (ATP). On the other hand, excessive intake of phosphorous may harden your internal tissues and organs. Such surplus provision of this nutrient has also been observed to block your body’s capability to utilize zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium.

#5. Vitamin B6

Through one standard serving, peanut butter can provide upto 13% of an adult’s vitamin B6 requirements. The recommended dietary allowance for this vitamin stands at 1.2 mg per day for a healthy adult. This is a vitamin which is soluble in water. It plays a vital role in breaking down of other nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates as well as fats. As human beings cannot make this essential vitamin naturally, its supply depends on dietary supplements. Of its many functions, this vitamin regulates the working of neurotransmitters that are responsible for your emotional health. This vitamin helps boost the functioning of your brain; thus keeping hazards such as Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Clinical studies also link production of hemoglobin to the presence of this vitamin in adequate amount. Inversely, lack of vitamin B6 is associated with incidence of anemia, especially among pregnant women.


As an added advantage- women who are pregnant also report of lesser spells of nausea with the intake of this vitamin. For those bearing medical history of cardiac ailments, this vitamin can help decrease the risks linked to heart failure and cardiac arrests. Allied advantages of this vitamin include boosting your body’s ability to fight cancer related risks and also help promote health of your eyes. Under the domain of eye health, this vitamin can help avoid age-associated macular degeneration (AMD) among elders.

#6. Niacin

Normal serving of peanut butter provides upto 25% of recommended allowance of niacin. RDA for a healthy adult is 15 mg per day. Niacin is a variant of vitamin B3. This vitamin is found in seeds, legumes and nuts such as peanuts. But, it is abundantly available in meats, poultry products as well as a few types of fishes (such as salmon, tuna, etc). Inadequate intake of niacin can lead to a medical condition called pellagra. Its signs include rashes on your skin, oral sores, indigestion, etc. As this vitamin may lose its properties while foods are exposed to cooking at a very high heat, adequate care is needed while cooking foods containing it. As niacin is soluble in water, boiled foods may also shed copious amounts of this vitamin during the cooking process.

Niacin is also made available as a medication. An enhanced dosage of this vitamin is found to reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood. It can effectively reduce the level of triglycerides as well as boost HDL cholesterol levels (i.e., good cholesterol). Niacin is also taken along with a few statins for better control of vascular health as well as hypertension.

#7. Sodium

Sodium is another key nutrient found in peanut butter. A standard measure of this butter contains upto 150 mg of sodium; this is nearly 10% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 1,500 mg each day.

Peanut butter is also found to contain saturated fats. A standard serving has about 3 grams of saturated fats. The daily intake of these fats is pegged at 13 grams per day for a healthy adult. Peanut butter provides for nearly 23% of the daily needs of these essential fats. Clinical research indicates no direct linkage between consumption of saturated fats with the likelihood of heart diseases. A medical survey done over more than 15 countries also indicates no association between heart disorders and ingestion of saturated fats. In fact, research indicates that a regular intake of 40 grams of peanut butter (or peanuts) has boosted lipid profiles as well as helped people to regulate cardiac health.

Not stopping with the above nutritional differences when compared to jam, peanut butter also carries a host of health benefits. These include

– Promotion of heart health: This is due to the presence of niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as monounsaturated fatty acids

– Effective management of blood sugar levels: This can help people to prevent risks associated with diabetes and obesity

– Peanut butter can give a feeling of fullness: this property makes it a blessing for people who aim reduce their body weight

In essence, peanut butter is made from a paste extracted from roasted peanuts. It contains molasses as well as vegetable oil. It is also known to contain antioxidants such as resveratrol. Jams – on the other hand – are made with different kinds of fruits. Jam is essentially a sweet dish, and is a source of energy. Between the two, peanut butter is endowed with nutritional properties marked by the presence of magnesium, proteins, zinc, phosphorous, vitamins B3 and B6. Apart from these nutritional differences between peanut butter and jam includes presence of sodium, unsaturated fats, etc in the former. On the downside, peanut butter is rich in calories. So, if you are not carefully limiting its daily intake you may actually end up increasing your body weight.


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