Can you eat peanut butter on the keto diet? We’re breaking down peanut butter nutrition facts and answering the most common questions about peanut butter and low carb diets to decide if peanut butter is keto-friendly or not.
Why Peanut Butter is Popular with Low Carb Dieters
I’m not a big snacker, but sometimes when I’m on a strict phase of a low carb diet (especially in the beginning), I’ll find myself feeling hungry an hour or so after a meal.
Now, whether I’m truly hungry or simply dealing with cravings is another matter. The problem is that I feel hungry and if left unchecked that can quickly move into the “hangry” phase.
In college I did the Adkins Diet off and on for a couple years. Then I found the South Beach Diet and dedicatedly followed it for the next few years – I loved it!
While on the South Beach Diet, one of my go-to snacks was a spoonful of peanut butter because it’s low in sugar and high in protein and fat. It’s super satisfying and something that requires zero prep or cook time.
Why Peanut Butter is a Popular Choice on Low Carb Diets:
- High in protein and good fats
- A ready-to-go snack that requires no prep time
- Dense caloric makeup keeps you feeling full longer
However, when I started digging in deeper to the keto diet, I found that there are some very differing opinions about peanut butter!
I started to really question, “can you eat peanut butter on the keto diet?”
So I decided to do more extensive research on whether or not peanut butter is keto-friendly.
Can You Eat Peanut Butter on the Keto Diet?
The mention of peanut butter often brings up controversy in the keto world.
Is peanut butter keto-friendly??
Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of peanut butter:
Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts
Serving Size = 2 Tablespoons
- Calories: 190
- Fat: 16g
- Total Carbs: 7g
- Sugars: 2g (0g added sugar)
- Fiber: 3g
- Net Carbs: 4g
- Protein: 8g
- Sodium: 110mg
Note: The above is from the label of Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. I chose this as an example because it is a relatively accessible brand, so if you’re looking to purchase pre-made natural peanut butter it should be easy enough to find in stores. Comparing these numbers to generic peanut butter nutrition information shows nominal differences – the main take-away from this is that most natural peanut butters will have similar numbers.
Peanut Butter Benefits
Aside from fitting into a keto diet, peanut butter actually provides a lot of nutritional value. Here’s a look at some of the key vitamins and minerals in a 100g serving of peanut butter:
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67% daily value (DV)
- Vitamin B6: 27% DV
- Vitamin E: 45% DV
- Folate: 18% DV
- Iron: 52% DV
- Potassium: 14% DV
- Magnesium: 39% DV
- Copper: 24% DV
- Manganese: 73% DV
While that’s more peanut butter than a person would likely eat in one sitting, it shows that there is more to consider with peanut butter than just fat and carbs.
What to Look for in Peanut Butter
The big watch-out with peanut butter is additives: namely sugar and stabilizers.
Natural peanut butter should have only two ingredients: ground roasted peanuts and a touch of salt. However, most conventional peanut butters (even some labeled “natural”) contain added sugar and oils.
Always stick to natural peanut butter and avoid anything with added sugars to make sure your peanut butter is keto-compliant. Read labels to be sure your natural peanut butter is truly what it claims to be.
Also be mindful of your total carbs for the day when indulging, as 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter contains 4 grams net carbs. Depending on how many carbs you’re aiming to stay under in a day, this may or may not be a good fit.
Is Peanut Butter Inflammatory?
One of the main criticisms I’ve seen about peanut butter is that it can cause inflammation.
Here’s the scoop: Peanut butter is high in Omega-6 fatty acids (inflammatory) and low in Omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory).
That alone is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that Americans are eating far too many Omega-6 fatty acids overall, and excessive Omega-6 consumption can indeed cause inflammation (source).
So it’s not the peanut butter itself that causes inflammation, but eating too many foods containing Omega-6 fatty acids.
- Omega-3 fatty acids actually help to fight inflammation, so making sure to eat more of these can help balance the effect of Omega-6s on the body.
- Lower your consumption of foods containing Omega-6 fatty acids. If you cut out other culprits, then this could leave room in your diet for peanut butter.
If you’ve been wondering, “can you eat peanut butter on the keto diet?” or “is peanut butter keto-friendly,” I hope that this will help you make a more informed decision.
Personally, I love peanut butter and think that when enjoyed in moderation, peanut butter can be keto-friendly.
Like anything else, if you notice that the addition of a particular food slows your progress, that may be a food you want to limit. This will be different for everyone and can take a bit of experimentation to figure out.
Of course, if you have a peanut allergy, then this is definitely a food to avoid, whether or not peanut butter is keto-friendly!
Read this next: How many carbs can you have on a keto diet?