Is there a guiltier pleasure than that of spooning peanut butter straight out of the jar after a long day?
Okay, maybe if you scooped the peanut butter out with a cookie. This salty, satiating treat is sure to satisfy those taste buds like any keto dessert.
Peanut butter is one of the more convenient ways to get that little burst of protein you need. Along with providing a decent protein source, peanut butter is also high in fat, making it quite the appealing treat if you’re following a low carb or ketogenic diet.
What is Peanut Butter?
The use of peanuts dates all the way back to Aztecs in the first century of the Common Era. It is thought that they took peanuts and ground them into a paste to use for multiple reasons, one including the relief from toothaches.
In 1884, a man name Marcellus Gilmore Edson obtained a patent for peanut butter. This patent included the process of milling roasted peanuts until they became close to a liquid-like consistency. Then, in 1895, John Harvey Kellogg was issued a patent for his production of peanut butter (yes, this is the same Kellogg as the cereal).
Peanut butter was initially used in health institutes being served to patients due to its ability to be consumed easily while providing an abundant amount of protein and key vitamins and minerals. SInce it was originally considered a popular health care food, it was a highly expensive food, in which only the wealthy could afford.
The first peanut butter making machine was obtained in 1903 by Dr. Ambrose Straub who worked under Kellogg. A couple decades later, a man named Joseph Rosefield created a way to make peanut butter in some ways we see it sold today, smooth and creamy. He started a producing his own brand of peanut butter — what we now today to be called Skippy.
The production of peanut butter typically begins in the spring when peanuts are first planted. They are then harvested anywhere between August and October during clear, fall days. SInce peanuts grow in shells, shelling is one of the first processes the peanuts go through once they are picked and dried. The peanuts then go through several other steps including roasting, cooling, blanching and grinding. The grinding is where the peanuts make their transition rich, creamy peanut butter you see on shelves today.
While the nutrient makeup of peanut butter can vary greatly depending on its processing and type, you can guarantee it will have a high fat content. Let’s take creamy, unsalted peanut butter, for example.
With its dense caloric intake, you can assume it holds some nutritional value (or one would hope, at least).
Some of the key vitamins and minerals found in peanut butter include niacin, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.
How and When Does Peanut Butter Fit Into a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
A typical serving of peanut butter is roughly two tablespoons, making up a total of 188 calories. These macronutrients include 16 grams of fat, six grams of carbs, four grams of net carbs, two grams of fiber and eight grams of protein.
With only four grams of net carbs per serving, you can safely indulge in a serving or two of this delicious salty treat without much concern of getting kicked out of ketosis. However, there are some factors you want to take into account.
If you’re following the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), your carb limit for the day will be anywhere from 20 to 50 grams. If you’ve reached the end of the day and you still have plenty of carbs to spare, go for the peanut butter. However, if you’re close to going over your carb limit, it may be better hold off. It really depends on how your body responds to carbs and how quickly you can get back into ketosis.
Other types of keto diets such as the targeted keto diet (TKD) and cyclical keto diet (CKD) allow for higher carb intake during certain times — but they both are only suitable for individuals with a more active lifestyle who require the carbs. The TKD allows for 20 to 50 extra carbs up to an hour before and after exercise.
The CKD follows a SKD, but with up to two days of carb backloading. This means that you will follow a SKD five days of the week and then the other two days you’ll follow a high carb, low fat macro intake in order to restore your muscle glycogen levels. However, the CKD is only recommended for individuals and athletes performing exercise at such high intensities that they absolutely need these carbs in order to perform up to their potential.
When Should Peanut Butter Be Avoided on a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
So, should you worry about how much peanut butter you’re consuming on a low carb or ketogenic diet? This really depends on a number of different factors.
The main issue with most peanut butter in stores today is that they are processed using hydrogenated oils. Also known as artificial trans fats, these hydrogenated oils put your health at risk for some serious damage. Some of these negative effects include increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of cancer, reduced HDL cholesterol, increased LDL cholesterol, pro inflammatory effects and even put the health of your gut at risk as well. When starting the keto diet, it’s important you’re able to differentiate between healthy fats and artificial trans and polyunsaturated fats that could be extremely damaging to your health in the long run.
However, no need to worry. The good news from all of this is that there are still plenty of all natural, organic options to choose from when it comes to picking out the best nut butter for you. In fact, you can even make your own.
So is Peanut Butter Low Carb or Keto Friendly?
Consuming peanut butter can actually boost your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight when eaten with the right foods. But the real question remains — is peanut butter keto friendly?
While the serving size of two tablespoons seems to fit keto macronutrients well, peanut butter is often times overeaten, resulting in a severe caloric increase. For those of us who are very aware of our lack of self control when it comes to tablespoon servings, consuming peanut butter on a keto diet may become a bit tricky. One serving of peanut butter is around four grams of net carbs, making it a keto friendly food if eaten in moderation.
If you’re concerned about going over your carb limit for the day, save this delicious snack for the remainder of the day. This way you can keep track of your carb intake and if you have some room to spare, feel free to have a tablespoon or two of your favorite salty treat. You can have peanut butter on the keto diet if:
- You are following the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).
- You are following the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) and consume it before or after your workout.
- Your carb intake for the day including the peanut butter does not exceed 50 grams.
Peanut butter is keto friendly, in moderation.