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Costco-peanut-butter-celery

Peanut Butter on Keto: The Pros and Cons

Is peanut butter keto?

Peanut butter could be part of a keto diet in very small quantities if you are following a dirty keto diet. With approximately 5-7 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of fat in only 2 tablespoons, the quantity ingested would have to be strictly controlled.

Additionally, the high levels of omega 6 fatty acids could negatively contribute to inflammation and be detrimental to human health.

As a disclaimer, I write this article as someone that follows a keto diet but is absolutely addicted to peanut butter. Some people can’t quit sweets, breads or maybe others pizza. I can’t quit peanut butter.

…But the better question is, do I really need to? I promise to answer this question and many more. I also promise to be honest and impartial, despite my love for this rich, creamy delicacy.

keto friendly peanut butter
A little peanut butter on keto won’t kill you

Nutritional value for peanuts per 100 grams:

Carbohydrates16.13 gprotein25.80
Total Fat49.24 gCholesterol0
Dietary Fiber8.5 gFolate240 mcg
Niacin12 mgPantothenic acid1.767 mg
Pyridoxine0.35 mgRiboflavin0.14 mg
Thiamin0.64 mgVitamin E 8.33 mg
Sodium18 mgPotassium 705 mg
Calcium92 mgCopper 1.14 mg
Iron 4.58 mgPhosphorus76 mg
Magnesium168 mgSelenium7.2 mcg
Zinc3.27 mgGlycemic index13

Is peanut butter OK on the keto diet?

When first starting out on the keto diet it’s probably not the best food choice. However, once you get fat adapted you can eat peanut butter on occasion.

You’ll have more success eating peanut butter on keto if you follow a few rules. I will explain each one in-depth:

  • Eat small quantities
  • Measure how much you eat
  • Add the carbs in your daily carbohydrate count
  • Balance your omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids
  • Increase intake of fish, fish oil/krill oil
  • Add ground flaxseed and chia seeds to your diet

Pros and cons of peanut butter on keto

Pros: About half of peanut butter’s total fat comes from monounsaturated fat, which is the same fat found in the superfood olive oil. There are tons of research papers promoting monounsaturated fats, but this one particularly caught my eye.

This study (PMID: 17384344) on PubMed shows that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat prevents central fat redistribution (belly fat) and improves insulin resistance. This is especially important for those who follow a ketogenic diet.

Remember insulin resistance is not tested for by any medical doctors that I know of and usually starts about 10 years before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

Peanut butter is keto friendly because it has a low glycemic index. So yes it’s a little higher in carbs than what we would like, but the carbohydrates are released gradually and don’t spike your blood sugar as sharply.

When the carbohydrates you eat are digested into blood sugar (glucose) slowly, your body doesn’t need as much insulin to put the glucose into your cells. Less insulin means less fat storage.

Is keto and peanut butter healthy?

“A moderate-fat weight-loss and weight-maintenance diet improves the cardiovascular disease risk profile on the basis of favorable changes in lipids and lipoproteins.”

Effects of moderate-fat (monounsaturated fat) and low-fat weight-loss diets on the serum lipid profile in overweight and obese men and women.

In other words, peanut butter has been shown to improve the ratio of good cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL. Peanut butter also contains phytosterols (beta sitosterol, campesterols and stigmasterol) that have proven to stop the absorption of some cholesterol from the diet

Peanut butter is high in protein

It has about 8 grams of protein in only 2 tablespoons. Interestingly, peanut butter is low in the amino acids methionine and cysteine. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your goals. If you want to do some intermittent fasting and heal your body through autophagy this could be beneficial.

This is an interesting study that shows that methionine deprivation improves metabolic health. Occasionally restricting certain amino acids in conjunction with long term fasting could extend and improve your lifespan and healthspan.

That doesn’t mean you constantly need to restrict methione and cysteine, they are important amino acids for optimum liver health. This might sound weird but conducting a keto egg fast with peanut butter might be beneficial. Approximately 8% of the amino acids in egg whites are methionine and cysteine.

Peanuts have the highest levels of the amino acid arginine of any food!

Body builders take arginine to give them a pump while lifting weights. Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide which increases blood flow. Arginine also helps detoxify the liver by neutralizing the effects of excess ammonia.

If you are working out (exercising), eating a little peanut butter could be a good pre-workout keto muscle building supplement.

Additionally, the extra protein in the peanut butter might be helpful if you’re trying to build muscle on keto.

keto-peanut-butter-celery
Peanut butter and celery is delicious

Peanut butter is delicious and can be used as a keto treat

One of drawbacks of the ketogenic diet is some people say it’s to restrictive. Eating peanut butter is a way to combat that feeling. Indulging in some keto friendly peanut butter and celery after your main meal is extremely gratifying. Just make sure you account for the extra carbohydrates.

6 grams of carbohydrates for only two tablespoons adds up pretty fast. Who can just eat 2 tablespoons of peanut butter? Binge eating half a jar of peanut butter can wreck your keto diet and put you in the dreaded keto stall, so show restraint.

Cons of peanut butter on keto

I considered adding peanuts to my best keto friendly nuts article. However, peanuts are actually not nuts. They are legumes and grow in the ground. Most of the best keto friendly foods grow above ground.

But that’s not why peanut butter is considered dirty keto. Yes they are a little high in carbs, but you can account for the carbs. The real problem with peanut butter on keto is the high content of omega 6 fatty acids.

“In conclusion, the unbalanced dietary consumption of omega-6 : omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is detrimental to human health.”

Health Implications of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

You can watch the video below if you want to learn more about good fats and bad fats. For good health you want to keep the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in perspective. To much peanut butter can throw off the optimum ratio.

It’s best to keep the ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. Peanuts contain zero omega 3 fatty acids and a whopping 4,950 mg of omega 6 fatty acids per tablespoon.

Adding keto superfoods like sardines and salmon to your diet can help balance the ratio if you decide to add peanut butter to your keto diet.

Are peanuts susceptible to the mold aflotoxin?

The concern is in hot, muggy climates and due to improper storage, peanuts can develop a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats.

Admittedly, I didn’t spend a lot of time researching this. From what I understand it’s not a big problem in the US and has been reported mostly in India and China. However, if you want to read more, Mark Sisson has an informative article about it.

What is the best low carb peanut butter?

Probably the best low carb peanut butter is home made peanut butter. Just buy some organic peanuts, put them in a food processor with some Himalayan pink salt and churn it into butter.

If you don’t want to make your own keto friendly peanut butter, make sure to read the ingredients before purchasing. You definitely don’t want any added sugars or palm oil. Look for organic peanut butter with just peanuts and sodium (salt) as the only ingredients.

Your pure, keto approved peanut butter will normally have a little oil on top so store it upside down and stir it up real good before you eat it.

keto-peanut-butter-santa-cruze
My two favorite keto approved peanut butters

What brand of peanut butter is best for Keto?

When people ask me for a keto diet food list I always recommend Santa Cruz peanut butter. In my humble opinion, It’s the best tasting low carb peanut butter. I ranked Santa Cruz over Trader Joes not only does it taste a little better, but it has slightly less carbohydrates.

Santa Cruz peanut butter2 tbspTrader Joe’s Peanut butter2 tbsp
Total fat16Total fat15
Saturated fat2Saturated fat2
Trans fats0Trans fats0
Cholesterol0Cholesterol0
Sodium55Sodium40
Total carbs5Total carbs7
Fiber3Fiber 3
Total sugar1Total sugar2
Added sugar0Added sugar0
Protein8Protein8
Organic roasted peanuts and saltOrganic Valencia peanuts, sea salt

Peanut butter keto recipes

There are are many ways to eat peanut butter on keto. Probably the safest is to spread some peanut butter on celery. That way you can control how much peanut butter you are eating.

There are different peanut butter fat bombs, but the easiest is just to put some on a tablespoon and slowly lick it off. Remember, when eating peanut butter on a keto diet, think of it as a treat and not a meal.

The days of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are over

An interesting but tasty option is to cut some cheddar cheese into triangles and bake it in the oven. Then use the hardened cheese to spread the peanut butter on.

I am going to add a keto peanut butter cookie video soon, but it’s super easy to make, all you need is:

  • Low carb peanut butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • butter
  • Eggs
  • Sugar substitute

Bake at 350 degrees until edges are golden brown approximately 15 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minuted before eating.

Summary

To recap: Yes you can have peanut butter on keto, but take it easy and include the carbs in your daily carb count. Also be sure to increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids to compensate for the extra omega 6 intake.

Robert-bryant
Author: Robert Bryant

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