The average American consumes roughly three pounds of peanut butter per person per year!
For many, peanut butter is the perfect complement to meals and snacks. It serves as filling for sandwiches, dip for apple wedges, and a topping for crackers and rice cakes.
Basically, it’s delicious!
But is this popular spread keto-friendly?
In short, yes, but only in moderation.
The keto diet is about the following ratio: low carb, moderate protein, and high in healthy fat consumption. Used in the right ways, peanut butter can serve as a source for the healthy fats and protein needed to stay in the keto zone.
This article is going to take a closer look at peanut butter, how it’s great for keto dieters, and why you can benefit from including it in your snacks or meals.
Manufacturing Peanut Butter
Americans spend about $800 million a year on peanut butter! It’s little surprise that the U.S. is a leading exporter of peanuts at about $4 billion a year.
Alabama, Georgia, and Florida are where Runner-type peanut crops are typically grown. Runner-type peanuts are the kind mostly used in manufacturing peanut butter.
Peanuts grow into a plant that’s followed by a yellow flower that blooms and wilts. Upon wilting, the flower bends over and penetrates the soil, where the peanut forms underground.
Peanuts are harvested mainly in September or October when the soil is dry and doesn’t stick to the pods and stems. Mechanical pickers remove the peanuts and are then delivered to a sheller for mechanical drying. After that, they are delivered to a warehouse for cleaning.
After shelling and processing, peanut butter manufacturers mechanically dry roast and cool the peanuts. They then undergo blanching, which is the removal of the skins by heat or water. Using heat in this situation enables the removal of the bitter heart of the peanut.
Then, the blanched peanuts are ground with salt, dextrose, and hydrogenated oil in a grinding machine, and after that, they are ready for packaging.
So, why does this matter?
The Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
So now you know how peanut butter is produced and the process involved, but what about its health benefits? In addition to sugar, salt, and peanuts, the food paste consists of other nutrients such as:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B
- Protein (approximately 7.1 grams of protein in a serving)
Peanut butter is valuable to the keto diet because it’s a source for healthy fats/oils and protein. Specifically, peanut butter is a source of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) just like olive oil, avocado and canola oils are.
MUFAs contain one double bond in their chemical makeup and have been shown to have health benefits .
These fats can provide antioxidants and help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and even lower the risk of heart disease.
Frequent nut consumption can also help with depression, mild cognitive disorders, and chronic age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Research has shown that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the nut sources are a major contributor to reducing the effects of these diseases.
From a diet perspective, nut and seeds are high in fiber, which helps you feel fuller more quickly and for longer. This will impact your overall food and caloric intake.
Additionally, the antioxidants present in peanut butter, such as p-coumaric acid, has been shown to reduce arthritis in rats .
On the keto diet, it’s important to choose foods that have monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fat sources are seeds (like sunflower seeds), corn and soybean oils, and walnuts.
The negative types of fats, like saturated fats and trans fats found in some dairy, meat, processed food, and sugary desserts should be avoided.
For choosing peanut butter, try to avoid those that contain added sugar, partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats, or artificial ingredients.
Best Peanut Butter Brands for Keto
Ideally, the peanut butter brands best for keto are those that only consist of nuts and salt.
Often times, these are called “natural peanut butter.” Upon opening the jar, you may see oil on top that you might have to stir in. This is a sign that the nut butter is close to its natural state, which is a good thing.
Many of the most well-known regular peanut butter brands have natural, keto-friendly versions, such as:
- Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- Smucker’s Natural Creamy Butter
- Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter (Justin’s is typically known for its almond butter)
- Smart Balance’s Creamy Natural Rich Roast
- Skippy’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (also a dark chocolate version)
Despite the keto seal of approval, it’s still important to control your peanut butter intake. One to two tablespoons per day is enough, which will probably be a little less than 200 calories. For one meal or snack, try to stick to one serving.
How to Eat Peanut Butter
Here are some creative ways you can start incorporating peanut butter into the keto diet:
- Keto-friendly protein balls-No bake, mix with keto protein powder and it works as a keto snack.
- Peanut butter fat bombs-Can be rolled into a ball or baked in mini muffin tins. Works as a snack.
- Low carb, sugar-free peanut butter fudge.
- Keto peanut butter bread.
- Keto pancakes.
- Low carb peanut butter cookies-It’s hard to give up those peanut butter cookies, but these are worthy alternatives.
- Use as a dip for certain keto-friendly foods, like celery.
- Use it as a spread on low carb tortillas.
- Use it as a sauce for chicken (like typical peanut sauce in Asian foods), shirataki, or spaghetti squash noodles.
- Add a spoonful into your shakes, whether they are a protein or otherwise. It’ll help with taste, consistency, and of course, add protein.
It’s easy to see why people may have their doubts about incorporating peanut butter into their keto lifestyle. After all, it’s high in fat content, has a thick and creamy consistency, and is typically paired with non-keto-friendly foods like crackers and bread.
However, if it’s measured and added carefully, peanut butter can provide the dose of healthy fat and protein needed to complement the keto diet.
 Wang DD, Li Y, Chiuve SE, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Association of Specific Dietary Fats With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Aug 1;176(8):1134-45. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2417.
 Neog MK, Joshua Pragasam S, Krishnan M, Rasool M. p-Coumaric acid, a dietary polyphenol ameliorates inflammation and curtails cartilage and bone erosion in the rheumatoid arthritis rat model. Biofactors. 2017 Sep 10;43(5):698-717. doi: 10.1002/biof.1377. Epub 2017 Jul 25.