Peanut butter has made a comeback in the last several years as a healthy food. From fat bombs to smoothies to oatmeal topping, peanut butter is a go-to ingredient for the health-conscious crowd. But what if you’re following a low-carb, ketogenic diet? Is there healthy keto peanut butter for you to enjoy?
Peanut butter can be one of the most convenient ways to get that little burst of protein your body needs. Along with being a decent protein source, peanut butter is also high in fat, making it seem like an appealing keto snack.
This guide will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether adding peanut butter to your keto meal plan is a good idea or not.
What Is Peanut Butter?
The use of peanuts dates back to the Aztecs in the first century of the Common Era. It’s thought that they took peanuts and ground them into a paste to use for multiple reasons, including relief from toothaches[*].
Today, peanut production typically begins in spring when the nuts are first planted. They’re then harvested anywhere between August and October. Since they grow in shells, shelling is one of the first processes to occur once they’ve been picked and dried.
The peanuts then go through several other steps including roasting, cooling, blanching, and grinding. This last step is when they make their transition into the rich, creamy peanut butter you find in your local grocery store.
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.
Some of the key vitamins and minerals found in peanut butter include:
- Vitamin E
- Phosphorus and potassium
How and When Does Peanut Butter Fit Into a Keto or Low-Carb Diet?
With its hearty fat and protein content, you’ve probably surmised that keto peanut butter exists.
A typical serving of peanut butter is roughly two tablespoons, making up a total of 188 calories. This includes 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of total carbs, 4 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein[*].
With only 4 grams of net carbs per serving, you can 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’ll want to take into account.
If you’re following the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), your daily carb limit is 20-50 grams. If you’ve reached the end of the day and you still have plenty of carbs to spare, having a spoonful of peanut butter is OK.
However, if you’re close to going over your carb limit, it’s probably best to hold off. It 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’re only suitable for those with a more active lifestyle who require the carbs. The TKD allows for 20-50 extra carbs up to an hour before and after exercise.
The CKD follows a standard keto diet, but with up to two days of carb backloading. This means that you will follow an SKD five days of the week, and then the other two days you’ll follow a high-carb, low-fat macro intake to restore your muscle glycogen levels.
Again, the CKD is only recommended for active people and athletes performing exercise at such high intensities that they need these carbs in order to perform at their full potential.
When to Avoid Peanut Butter on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet
The main issue with most peanut butter in stores today is that it’s processed using hydrogenated oils. Also known as artificial trans fats, these oils might put your health at risk and cause severe damage[*].
Some of these negative effects include[*]:
- Increased risk of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer.
- Reduced HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and increased LDL cholesterol (the harmful one).
- Inflammatory conditions.
- Adverse effects on gut health.
The good news is that there are nut butter alternatives that can complement your keto goals.
Perfect Keto Nut Butter is a delicious and decadent combination of nuts and healthy fats that doesn’t contain any peanuts.
These healthy and nutritious ingredients create a high-fat and luscious keto nut butter without any added sugars, harmful additives, or hidden carbs, so you can indulge without getting kicked out of ketosis.
Perfect Keto Nut Butter comes in three different flavors:
How to Make (or Buy) Keto Peanut Butter
When shopping for peanut butter (or any food item), the most crucial step is to read the ingredient label. Opt for organic when possible, and stay clear from hydrogenated oils, added sugars, artificial ingredients, and lower-quality sweeteners.
Natural peanut butter should contain only one ingredient: peanuts. It may also contain other natural ingredients like sea salt to enhance the peanut flavor, but that should be it.
You can also make this vegan, paleo, gluten-free, and sugar-free snack from the comfort of your home, and it will take you no more than 15 minutes of prep time.
All you need is a food processor and peanuts. If you opt for raw peanuts, keep in mind that the butter won’t be as flavorful as the roasted version.
Here’s a quick recipe for creamy peanut butter:
- Add a cup of peanuts to your food processor.
- Start the grinding process at medium speed — once the peanuts have turned into a “flour” consistency, increase the speed.
- Depending on the potency of your food processor, you will see the peanuts slowly start to release their natural oils after a total time of 5-10 minutes.
- Once it’s at your desired consistency, remove it and store it in a glass jar.
- A pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt (to bring up the flavors and increase the shelf life of your homemade butter).
- A splash of keto-friendly vanilla extract (you can get it on Amazon).
- A 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite keto-friendly sweetener (stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol).
- For crunchy and chunky peanut butter, crush some whole peanuts and add them to the butter.
The Bottom Line on Keto Peanut Butter
While a peanut butter serving size of two tablespoons seems to fit keto macronutrients, the bottom line is that it’s easy to overeat this creamy treat, resulting in a severe spike in caloric intake.
As such, consuming peanut butter on a keto diet may become a bit tricky.
If you’re concerned about going over your daily carb count limit, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Even better, there are delicious keto peanut butter alternatives that you can enjoy. Be sure to try these delicious keto recipes made with nut butter: