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Can You Eat Peanut Butter on the Keto Diet?

Updated: May 17

If you’re following the low carb, high fat keto diet, you’re probably always on the lookout for low carb foods that fit your needs and add variety to your meals and snacks.

It can be tough to find foods that are low enough in carbs to fit most keto diets, which are limited to about 50 grams of total carbs, or 25 grams of net carbs, each day. (Net carbs are those that remain after subtracting the indigestible fiber from the total carbs.)

While many nuts and nut butters are excellent choices for keto because they’re rich in fiber, fat, and protein and low in carbs, you may still wonder whether peanut butter is an ideal choice.

This article explains whether peanut butter is suitable for the keto diet.





How many carbs are in peanut butter?

It’s crucial to look at net carbs when determining whether a certain food is suitable for keto.

A 2-tablespoon (32-gram) serving of plain peanut butter contains (1Trusted Source):

  • Calories: 191

  • Protein: 7 grams

  • Fat: 16 grams

  • Total carbs: 7 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 5 grams

While peanut butter isn’t necessarily high in carbs, a small serving size uses 20% of your daily allotment of net carbs on most keto diets.


SUMMARY

Peanut butter contains 7 grams of total carbs and 5 grams of net carbs in just 2 tablespoons (32 grams). This makes it moderate in carbs.


Is peanut butter suitable for keto?


A single 2-tablespoon (32-gram) serving of peanut butter contains 5 grams of net carbs, so you can eat it in moderation on the keto diet as long as you carefully plan the other foods you eat.

All the same, it’s important to check the ingredient list. Some products contain added sugar or honey that significantly increases the carb count.

Additionally, you should be mindful of other products made with peanut butter, as desserts like candies, cakes, pies, and cookies that use this ingredient are often high in carbs

As such, it’s safest to stick with plain peanut butter that’s made with only peanuts and salt.

Finally, if you’re doing keto for weight loss, it’s a good idea to stick to a small portion size of 2 tablespoons (32 grams) and limit how often you eat peanut butter. That’s because it’s rich in calories for a fairly small serving size.


Alternatives to try

Several other nut butters are lower in carbs and higher in fiber than peanut butter. As such, they make excellent alternatives for keto.

Here are three keto-friendly nut butters you can try :

  • Almond butter: 6 grams of total carbs and 3 grams of net carbs per 2 tablespoons (32 grams)

  • Macadamia nut butter: 4 grams of total carbs and 2 grams of net carbs per 2 tablespoons (28 grams)

  • Hazelnut butter: 6 grams of total carbs and 3 grams of net carbs per 2 tablespoons (32 grams)

Nonetheless, all these nut butters are rich in calories, so you should eat them in moderation if weight loss is your goal.


SUMMARY

Plain peanut butter fits the keto diet as long as you eat it in moderation and plan out your other foods. Almond, macadamia nut, and hazelnut butters are excellent alternatives since they have fewer net carbs per serving.


The bottom line


Peanut butter is moderately low in carbs, containing 7 grams of total carbs and 5 grams of net carbs per 2-tablespoon (32-gram) serving.

You can enjoy it on the keto diet as long as you keep your intake in check and plan out your other food choices. Still, lower-carb nut butters like almond, macadamia nut, or hazelnut butter may be better choices.

Regardless, due to its high calorie count, you should limit how much nut butter you eat if you’re trying to lose weight.

Just one thing

Try this today: You can make your own nut butters at home with a food processor — and often for less money. All you need is roasted nuts and salt. Make nut butter in small batches and store it in an airtight container for up to a week. Be sure to give it a good stir before use, because the oil may separate out.


The 13 Best Nuts and Seeds for Keto

Figuring out which foods are suitable for a very-low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can be tricky.

Many nuts and seeds are low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and high in healthy fats, making them a perfect fit.

They’re also full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Still, some varieties are lower in carbs than others.

Here are the 13 best nuts and seeds to fit your keto lifestyle.


1. Pecans


Pecans are tree nuts with an excellent nutrient profile for keto. One ounce (28 grams) of pecans provides:

  • Calories: 196

  • Protein: 3 grams

  • Fat: 20 grams

  • Total carbs: 4 grams

  • Fiber: 3 grams

  • Net carbs: 1 gram

They’re a high-fat, keto-friendly nut that may help reduce levels of insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that can cause your body to store fat, so it’s ideal to keep insulin levels low when trying to lose weight.

In fact, a 1-month study in 26 adults found that those who ate around 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of pecans per day experienced reductions in insulin levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity, compared to the control group (2Trusted Source).

Pecans can be enjoyed on a keto diet as a snack or crushed and used as a crunchy, low-carb crust for fish or chicken.


2. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a type of tree nut grown in South America. One ounce (28 grams) of Brazil nuts contains:

  • Calories: 185

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Fat: 19 grams

  • Total carbs: 3 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 1 gram

They’re also an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that is needed for various bodily functions, including reproduction and protein synthesis .

Some research suggests that people following a keto diet may be at an increased risk of selenium deficiency .

One single Brazil nut provides more than 100% of your daily needs for selenium, making it an ideal way to get enough of this vital mineral in your diet.

Nonetheless, due to their exceptionally high selenium content, it’s best to limit your intake to one to three Brazil nuts a day to avoid consuming too much of this mineral, which may have negative health effects.


3. Chia seeds


Chia seeds are tiny, firm, black or white seeds that are packed with healthy fiber and omega-3 fats. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides:

  • Calories: 138

  • Protein: 5 grams

  • Fat: 9 grams

  • Total carbs: 12 grams

  • Fiber: 10 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

With about 60% of their fat content consisting of omega-3 fats, they’re an excellent plant-based source of these essential fats that offer powerful anti-inflammatory properties

A 6-month study in 77 people found that those who consumed about 1 ounce (30 grams) of chia seeds for every 1,000 calories eaten daily experienced greater reductions in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to a control group.

The same study showed that those who consumed chia seeds daily lost more weight and had greater reductions in waist circumference than the control group.

Chia pudding is a popular low-carb dish made by soaking chia seeds in liquid for several hours until they take on a jelly-like texture. You can also add chia seeds to smoothies or protein shakes or use them in a keto cracker recipe to add crunch.


4. Macadamia nuts


Macadamia nuts are tree nuts native to Australia. They’re very high in fat, making them perfect for the keto diet. One ounce (28 grams) of macadamia nuts contains :

  • Calories: 204

  • Protein: 2 grams

  • Fat: 21 grams

  • Total carbs: 4 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

Several studies link macadamia nuts to improved cholesterol levels.

For instance, a 4-week study in 17 men found that those who consumed 15% of their calorie intake from macadamia nuts experienced a 5.3% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and an 8% increase in heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol.

Macadamia nuts are a perfect high-fat snack. You can also buy keto-friendly macadamia nut milk, butter, and flour to replace higher-carb versions of these foods.


5. Flax seeds


Flax seeds are full of fiber and omega-3 fats. One ounce (28 grams) of flax seeds provides :

  • Calories: 131

  • Protein: 6 grams

  • Fat: 9 grams

  • Total carbs: 9 grams

  • Fiber: 8 grams

  • Net carbs: 1 gram

These tiny seeds have been studied for their potential beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart health.

In a 6-month study in more than 100 people, those with high blood pressure who ate about 1 ounce (30 grams) of flaxseed meal daily experienced significant reductions in total blood pressure levels, compared to a control group.

Flax seeds can be bought whole or as a ground meal, both of which can be added to keto-friendly baked goods, soups, smoothies, and protein shakes. Flax milk is also available as a low-carb milk alternative.

6. Walnuts


Walnuts are a popular type of tree nut grown and eaten worldwide. One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains:

  • Calories: 185

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Fat: 18 grams

  • Total carbs: 4 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

They’re a high-fat, keto-friendly nut that may benefit heart health by reducing heart disease risk factors, such as high LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.

A 6-month study in 100 people showed that those on a low-calorie diet who ate 15% of their calories as walnuts had lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as greater reductions in blood pressure, than those on a standard low-calorie diet.

Walnuts can be enjoyed as a satisfying snack or as an ingredient in keto-friendly, low-carb desserts like brownies or fudge. They also make an excellent addition to salads.


7. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein and healthy fats. One ounce (28 grams) of hemp seeds provides:

  • Calories: 155

  • Protein: 9 grams

  • Fat: 14 grams

  • Total carbs: 2 grams

  • Fiber: 1 gram

  • Net carbs: 1 gram

Some research indicates that the unique proteins in hemp seeds may help reduce blood pressure.

What’s more, they’re high in linoleic acid, a type of fat that has been shown to potentially protect against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in animal studies.

Hemp seeds can be used in a variety of keto-friendly recipes, as a substitute for oatmeal or grits, as a crunchy salad topping, or mixed into smoothies and protein shakes.


8. Hazelnuts


Hazelnuts are tree nuts with a smooth, buttery texture that makes them well-suited for desserts. One ounce (28 grams) of hazelnuts contains:

  • Calories: 178

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Fat: 17 grams

  • Total carbs: 5 grams

  • Fiber: 3 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

They’re also an excellent source of vitamin E, with a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving providing 28% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).

Vitamin E has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, as it acts as an antioxidant by neutralizing harmful free radical compounds, potentially reducing heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol.

In a 4-week study in 48 adults with high cholesterol levels, consuming about 1 ounce (30 grams) of hazelnuts daily reduced total cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and vitamin E levels.

Their taste and texture make hazelnuts a perfect pairing for chocolate. Try combining hazelnuts with high-quality dark chocolate for a low-carb dessert. You can also use hazelnut flour as a keto-friendly flour alternative.


9. Peanuts


Peanuts are technically a legume, which means they’re more closely related to beans and lentils than other nuts on this list. However, they’re one of the most widely available nuts and a great choice for keto dieters.

One ounce (28 grams) of peanuts contains:

  • Calories: 164

  • Protein: 7 grams

  • Fat: 14 grams

  • Total carbs: 6 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 4 grams

They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein and packed with essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein that you must obtain through your diet.

Peanuts are particularly high in leucine, an essential branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) known for promoting muscle growth.

Peanuts and peanut butter can be enjoyed as an easy snack or an addition to smoothies, protein shakes, or keto desserts. They can also be used in savory Asian-style sauces like satay sauce and add crunch to dishes like stir-fries.

It may be best for your health to select unsalted peanuts and natural peanut butter without added sugar.


10. Sesame seeds


Sesame seeds are a popular ingredient used around the world, most notably as a topping for baked goods like hamburger buns. They’re low in carbs and high in fat, making them a good choice for ketogenic diets.

One ounce (28 grams) of sesame seeds contains:

  • Calories: 160

  • Protein: 5 grams

  • Fat: 13 grams

  • Total carbs: 7 grams

  • Fiber: 5 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

They’re also packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants called lignans.

Several studies associate sesame seeds with decreased inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers


Sesame seeds can be enjoyed as a crunchy topping for stir-fries and salads, or as an ingredient in keto crackers and breads. Tahini, a spread made from ground sesame seeds, is also a tasty, keto-friendly option.


11. Pine nuts


Pine nuts are tree nuts that are best known as an ingredient in pesto, an Italian sauce made with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and basil.

However, they’re extremely versatile and have a unique, earthy flavor that pairs well with many foods. They also happen to be low in carbs and high in fat.

One ounce (28 grams) of pine nuts provides:

  • Calories: 191

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Fat: 19 grams

  • Total carbs: 4 grams

  • Fiber: 1 gram

  • Net carbs: 3 grams

They contain a fat called pinolenic acid, which may decrease hunger by regulating hormones that affect appetite, such as cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) (34).

One study in 18 overweight women postmenopause found that participants ate 36% less food after taking 3 grams of concentrated pine nut oil with breakfast than when they took a placebo.

While promising, more research in this area is needed.

Pine nuts can be used in many dishes to add an extra level of flavor. Plus, pesto is a naturally keto-friendly sauce for meat or vegetables. These nuts can also be eaten raw or roasted as a snack.


12. Sunflower seeds


Sunflower seeds are a popular, high-fat snack that can make an excellent addition to your keto diet. One ounce (28 grams) of shelled sunflower seeds contains:

  • Calories: 164

  • Protein: 6 grams

  • Fat: 14 grams

  • Total carbs: 6 grams

  • Fiber: 2 grams

  • Net carbs: 4 grams

Some research shows that eating sunflower seeds may benefit health in several ways.

For example, these seeds are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, such as vitamin E, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, and have been found to have antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties in animal studies.

Sunflower seeds are mostly eaten by themselves as a snack but also make a great salad topping. In addition, you can buy sunflower seed butter at most grocery stores.

As with peanuts, it’s best to opt for unsalted varieties


13. Almonds


Almonds and related products like almond butter, milk, or flour are versatile keto diet staples.

One ounce (28 grams) of almonds contains:

  • Calories: 164

  • Protein: 6 grams

  • Fat: 14 grams

  • Total carbs: 5 grams

  • Fiber: 3 grams

  • Net carbs: 2 grams

Like other tree nuts, almonds have been linked to a variety of health benefits due to their nutrition profile.

In addition to their high concentration of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants like proanthocyanidins.

Some research shows that eating almonds may decrease your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Almonds can be enjoyed raw or roasted as a keto-friendly snack. You can also buy or make keto-friendly almond milk or butter. In addition, almond flour is a widely used flour alternative..








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