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Keto Nutrition

Peanut Butter on Keto Diet, Is it Good?

If you’re on the keto diet, you’re probably always wondering if a specific food contains the right ratio of macronutrients to meet your needs.

Bread and cereals are easy to figure out since most are too carb-heavy. Meat, on the other hand, is typically okay because of its protein and fat levels.

But what about peanut butter? Is it even keto?

“Technically, peanuts are a legume, which is typically eliminated on a keto diet,” Naomi Whittel, a Florida-based author of High Fiber Keto said.

But peanuts are higher in fat than other beans, which gives them the green light for keto.

“Peanuts are more nutritionally comparable to nuts, such as almonds, in that they are high in fat and low in carbs,” Whittel says. 

Despite being super restrictive, keto is one of the most common diets out there. Part of the idea is that followers still get to eat high-fat foods—the goal being to get the body into ketosis, aka fat-burning mode.

If you’re just getting started on the high-fat, low-carb diet, you’re probably questioning which of your favorite foods are still okay to eat. This leads us to peanut butter, one of the most delicious creations this planet has to offer.

It’s high in fat, but you might be wondering if peanut butter is keto-friendly.

“Peanut butter can be a component of a keto diet since it holds essentially fats and protein with very little carbohydrates,” says Dara Godfrey, MS, RD, a certified dietitian in New York City.

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter, scientifically known as Arachis hypogaea, is one of the most popular spreads. This is due to its creamy texture and ability to complement just about any food.

Unlike other snacks, peanut butter is considered an unprocessed food, made by grinding up roasted peanuts until it’s turned into a paste.

Peanuts are considered a legume rather than a tree nut. This means it’s in the same family as soybeans, lentils, and peas. But, since peanuts have an identical nutrient breakdown as tree nuts, most people consider it a nut.

All-natural peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fat, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and lowers blood pressure.

Is Peanut Butter Keto-Friendly?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat nutrition rules. This means healthy fats are encouraged, and most carbohydrates should be eliminated.

The standard ketogenic diet demands you to keep carb consumption under 50 grams daily. This means you can safely consume peanut butter as long as you are eating low carb variants. It will also help if you stay under your total daily carb intake.

The most keto-friendly peanut butter has just peanuts and salt as ingredients. That’s because they have the highest fiber content, which you can subtract from the total carbs.

The allure of peanut butter on keto comes from its perfect macronutrient ratio. Two tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter contain:

  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrate: 5g
  • Protein: 8g

If you incorporate peanut butter into your keto diet plan, you must track your consumption. That’s because it’s effortless to overeat. An easy way to monitor this is by being mindful of your tablespoon.

There are also flavored or altered peanut butter to reduce the fat content. This is something you should keep at bay buying your favorite spread.

Always check the nutrition label to make sure you choose peanut butter brands that do not contain unhealthy ingredients like vegetable oils, trans fats, and sugar.

A good rule of thumb: look for ingredient labels that incorporate only peanuts and salt, palm oil, or coconut oil.

Peanut butter is acceptable on the ketogenic diet as long as you stick to all-natural. If you’re new to the keto diet, make it a priority to measure your peanut butter intake by the tablespoon.

Otherwise, you might find yourself overeating it, which can kick you out of ketosis.

Nutrition Facts of Peanut Butter

While peanut butter nutrition can vary greatly depending on its processing and type, you can be sure it will have a high-fat content. Take a look at creamy, unsalted peanut butter, for example.

Around 100 grams of serving has a total of 598 calories. It also has 22 grams of carbs, 17 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 50 grams of fat, and 22 grams of protein.

Some of the main vitamins and minerals obtained in peanut butter include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus and potassium

What type of peanut butter is best for keto?

When you’re on a keto diet, you want to get 60-80 percent of your regular calories from fat and 20-30 percent from protein. And you should keep your carb consumption to just 20-30 grams per day.

“The keto diet is all about staying in the nutrient limits, so avoiding added sugars is key to reading the label,” says Jessica Crandall Snyder, RDN, a certified dietitian at Vital RD in Denver and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Unfortunately, most peanut butter products have sugar in it. Hence, it’s crucial to check the nutritional label and list of ingredients.

Mind you, a 2Tbsp serving of natural peanut butter contains 6-7 grams of carbohydrates. Deduct the carbs that come from fiber, and you’re looking at 2-4 grams of net carbs.

Another record about choosing a keto-friendly peanut butter: Most “low fat” or “reduced-fat” names add sugar, Godfrey says.

“Nut butter is packed with protein and fat and great on a keto diet. Same with almond butter, sunflower seed butter, and peanut butter,” says Crandall Snyder.

If you’re all about nut butter, stock your pantry with many different kinds, like almond butter.

Finally, we hate to break it to you, but you’re going to want to pass on the Nutella. Sure, it does not contain hazelnuts, but every 2-Tbsp serving has 19 grams of carbs. Which means it’s not keto-friendly.

The same thing goes for Jif and Skippy, as they contain added sugar.

When to Incorporate Peanut Butter in Your Diet

Although peanut butter’s macro ratio seems to fit low-carb diets almost perfectly, many people make the mistake of overeating it.

When you consume more calories than your body burns, you end up gaining weight.

If you’re a beginner, adding peanut butter is perfectly acceptable if you make it a priority to eat the correct amount.

Peanut butter is ideal on the ketogenic diet as a snack.

Keep in mind that the goal of the keto diet is to stay under 50 grams of carbs. So saving a tablespoon-full of peanut butter for the end of the day is the safest way to bump your carb intake without harming your weight loss goals.

Peanut butter is also great:

  • As a pre-workout snack to help fuel your exercises when carbohydrates are restricted.
  • To satisfy sugar cravings that may arise in the initial stages of keto.
  • When you want to stay in ketosis while traveling and have limited food options.

How Much Peanut Butter Can You Have Daily?

Now for some bad news. Even though peanut butter is a good source of dietary fat, nuts contain protein and carbs. So you still need to stick to two tablespoons per serving.

Will it Kick Me Out of Ketosis?

Your body enters a state of ketosis when it begins burning fat instead of glucose (from carbs) for energy. So keeping your carb consumption under 10 percent of your daily nutrients helps you maintain ketosis and lose weight.

Consuming too many carbs is what can kick you out of ketosis and reset your body to burning glucose again.

So how can you avoid this? By following the serving size recommendations and choosing your peanut butter wisely. 

On a 2,000 calorie keto diet, you would strive for 50 grams of carbs per day. So peanut butter can easily suit within that carb budget if you stick to the serving size.

Benefits of Peanut Butter in Keto Diet

Peanut butter is packed with nutrients and dietary fats, making it an excellent snack for people who are always on the go.

Here are several benefits of peanut butter consumption:

  • Nutrient-dense. All-natural peanut butter contains ample amounts of healthy micronutrients. This includes niacin, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and vitamin E.
  • Macronutrient ratio. With low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high-fat macronutrient breakdown, peanut butter can be keto-friendly.
  • Great energy boost. The healthy fat content provides your body with the necessary calories to have sustained energy throughout the day. No extreme highs and lows that are evident in sugar-laden foods.
  • Abundance in monounsaturated fat. Studies have shown that these fats can help lower blood pressure, reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, and decrease cardiovascular risk.
  • Good source of fiber. Aside from the digestion benefits that come with fiber, it’s also known to lower the risk of stroke, obesity, gastrointestinal diseases, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • Keeps you full. Peanut butter helps you stay satiated, so you aren’t continually craving food in between meals. This allows you to lose weight by eating fewer calories overall.

Negatives Things About Peanut Butter

While peanut butter may seem like the perfect snack for someone on keto, a few problems may arise from heavy consumption.

Here are a few cons to peanut butter:

  • Easy to overeat. Since nuts are high in calories, it’s very common to overeat without noticing. An extra tablespoon of peanut butter has 94 calories, which could easily surpass your daily calorie allowance.
  • Contains Aflatoxin. This is a chemical that is produced by a fungus that is commonly colonized by the peanut plant. Studies have shown that Aflatoxin is linked to liver cancer in adults.
  • Contains some peanut agglutinin. This is the lectin in peanuts, which has been linked to the growth of colon cancer cells.
  • Peanuts are a common allergen. Peanut allergies are one of the most common allergies in the world. Stay away from peanut butter at all costs if you have a peanut allergy.
  • High in pesticides. Since commercial peanut crops are a part of big business, many farmers must use pesticides to prevent them from being destroyed. Peanuts also have a thin shell, so all the toxic pesticides have a higher chance of entering the peanut.
  • High in oxalates. Oxalate is an anti-nutrient, which means it prevents certain minerals from being absorbed and used by your body. This can cause kidney stones in specific individuals who have large amounts of oxalate in the body.

Best Keto Peanut Butter Brands

When you’re shopping in your local grocery store, your best bet is to look for a natural peanut butter — the kind with oil on top that you have to stir at first.

When you read the label, the ingredients should be only peanuts and salt. Make sure it does not contain any added sugars, palm oils, and other hydrogenated oils.

Regular brands like Jif and Skippy are likely to have added sugars and hydrogenated oils. However, many high-quality peanut butters available on the market are excellent for a healthy, keto lifestyle.

  • 365 Everyday Value, Organic Creamy Peanut Butter – Net Carbs: 4 grams per serving
  • Classic Peanut Butter by Justin’s – Net Carbs: 5 grams
  • Teddie All Natural Peanut Butter, Super Chunky – Net Carbs: 4 grams
  • Crazy Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter – Net Carbs: 4 grams
  • Spread The Love NAKED Organic Peanut Butter – Net Carbs: 4 grams

Final Thoughts

While peanut butter’s macronutrient ratio suits the ketogenic diet, it can be effortless to overeat.

Like any other food out there, when it comes to peanut butter — the quality matters. As long as you know what to look for, peanut butter can fit nicely into your keto diet. 

However, it’s incredibly easy to overeat peanut butter, so be sure to watch your serving size if you don’t want to sneak over the line on your carbs. 

People who are new to low-carb eating should measure their peanut butter consumption using a tablespoon. This is to avoid overeating.

As long as you’re avoiding commercial peanut butter that is filled with trans fats, sugar, and hydrogenated vegetables, peanut butter can be the perfect snack while you’re on a keto diet.

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