Peanuts: they're a convenient snack that's packed with protein and healthy fats. It doesn't hurt that they are also pretty delicious, either.
Sounds perfect for the ketogenic diet, then, right?
Well, not exactly. There's a lotto unpack when it comes to eating peanuts on keto. Not every peanut product is the same, and some are healthier than others.
And, while this may be surprising to you, peanuts aren't actually nuts.
Can You Have Peanuts on Keto?The short answer: Yes you can, but since peanuts are higher in carbs than other nuts, you'll want to limit your intake.
30g (a typical serving) of peanuts pack almost 5g of carbs, and about 15.5g of fat.
Will Peanuts Kick You Out of Ketosis?Ketosis is a natural state your body enters produces ketones, which burn stored fat for energy instead of glucose.
Eating more than 30-50 grams of carbs per day may provide your body with enough glucose to stop producing ketones and fuel your muscles and brain with glucose instead.
Not ideal if your goal on keto is to lose weight.Also Read: The A-Z Guide to Keto Weight Loss: Why and How Fast You Can Get Results
You won’t inherently be kicked out of ketosis by eating a handful of peanuts. Just keep in mind that the handful will contribute less to your fat intake and more to your daily carb limit than other nuts.
You can eat peanuts on keto. There's no rule banning peanuts. But eating lots of them is not going to help you get into ketosis. If you're using the keto diet to lose weight, you should limit your peanut (or peanut butter) intake.
See the next section for nutrition facts, and more on why peanuts may not be a great choice.
Peanuts: Nutritional Facts
According to Self Data, one cup of dry-roasted, salted peanuts contains:
- 854 calories
- 31.4 grams of carbs
- 72.5 grams of fat
- 34.6 grams of protein
- 11 grams of fiber
And one cup of smooth peanut butter (generic version) contains:
- 1,517 calories (!)
- 51.6 grams of carbs
- 130 grams of fat
- 64.7 grams of protein
As you can see, both peanuts and peanut butter pack a lot of energy into just one cup. All three macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbs—are present in abundance, which isn't ideal for keto. Keto dieters typically follow a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb macro split.
Plus, these nutrition facts don't take into account the various brands of peanuts and peanut butters. Many are made with preservatives, sugar, honey, and other sweeteners that increase the number of carbs and calories in a serving.
And finally, besides their nutritional value, another thing to keep in mind about peanuts is that, technically, they're not nuts at all.
Wait, Peanuts Aren't Nuts?
You read that right. No, peanuts are not actually nuts.
By definition, peanuts are technically classified as peas, which make them a part of the bean and legume family[*]. While their nutritional value (number of calories, protein, fat) is closer to almonds than peas, the body has a different response to legumes than nuts.
This is why the number of calories and carbs in peanuts aren't the only thing to consider.
For some, consuming legumes can lead to an inflammatory response in the body[*]. Chronic inflammation is linked to many of the diseases that kill Americans, like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Inflammation can also cause joint pain and lead to autoimmune disorders like arthritis[*].
Fortunately, low-carb diets that place an emphasis on eliminating processed foods and eating lots of vegetables (like the ketogenic diet) have been shown to reduce inflammation[*].
Further, nut consumption has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body[*].
For these reasons, you might want to choose a nut butter or nut product over peanuts.
Can Peanut Butter on Keto Make You Gain Weight?Any type of nut butter can lead to weight gain if you eat too much. Peanut butter and other similar products like almond, cashew, or macadamia butter are all high in calories.
Keep in mind: this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Those calories come from healthy fats, and are used to fuel your body.
But if your goal is to lose weight, eating too much peanut butter is probably not a good idea.
Everyone needs a certain number of calories to fuel their bodies. This number varies based on how active you are, how large you are, and how much lean muscle mass you have[*]. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you expend to tap into your fat storages.
Since 2 tablespoons contains nearly 200 calories (about 10 percent of your daily calories if you eat 2,000 per day), you should definitely limit consumption[*].
How To Have Peanuts Or Peanut Butter On Keto
If you can't imagine life without peanut butter (we know, it's delicious), here are some guidelines to follow:
- Choose a peanut butter that has no added sugar or preservatives (The ingredients list should just say "peanuts", and perhaps salt).
- Limit yourself to one serving per day if you're trying to lose weight.
- Track macros to make sure you're not eating too many calories in general.
- Experiment with other nut butters, like macadamia nut, almond, or cashew butter.
- See how your body feels—if you don't feel good after eating peanut butter, don't eat it.
In the next section, we'll look at other nut butter options.
Keto-Friendly Peanut Butter Alternatives
Sold on trying a different nut butter? Here's a little more about the best keto nut alternatives you can find online or at the grocery store.
- Almond Butter[*]: Almond butter is packed with protein and healthy fats just like peanut butter, but has half the carbs per serving. It's also the most widely available nut butter besides peanut that you'll find in grocery stores. Be sure to read labels and purchase one with just sea salt and almonds. Some are flavored with natural cocoa powder, which is fine as long as there is no sugar.
- Macadamia Nut Butter: If you like flavored nut butters, this is the way to go. Macadamia nut butter is delicious, fat-fuelled and nutritious. These FBOMB Nut Butters are loved by celebrities (Jee Rogan and Halle Berry are well-known FBOMB enthusiasts), and one box of their variety pack comes with 4 different flavors: coconut, sea salt, chocolate, and pecan. And even though they're flavored, the carb count is much lower than peanut butter. The pecan version, for example, has 210 calories but only 4 grams of carbs.
- Cashew butter[*]: Cashews have slightly higher carbs than almonds, but still have 4 less grams per serving as compared to peanuts. They're also packed with more than ten essential minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Peanuts on Keto: Wrapping Up
So, are peanuts on keto okay? Can you eat peanut butter?
You can, but there are better options out there if you're following a low-carb diet like keto, both for weight loss and overall health purposes. Nut butters like macadamia, almond, and cashew are lower in carbs, which is important for staying in ketosis.
And as weird as it sounds, peanuts aren't actually nuts. They're legumes, and some people's bodies don't have a great response to them. Alternative nut butters, on the other hand, actually help reduce inflammation, which may help ward off diseases.
If you're going to eat peanuts, be cognizant about how you feel after you eat it. Look for brands that have no added sugar or preservatives, and limit your intake to one serving per day.
And we highly recommend giving alternative nut butters a shot. They're delicious, better for you, and work way better on a low-carb diet.