Some ketogenic diet experts have labeled peanuts a food you should not eat on the keto diet. But if you know anything about food and are familiar with reading nutrition labels, you understand that if you're being straight-forward, it doesn't make sense that you can't eat peanuts on keto. Peanuts are only 3-4 net carbs per 1 oz serving of dry roasted peanuts (honey roasted are different). Are you a beginner? We recommend sticking to 20 net grams of carb per day, and you can calculate the rest of your macros here.
If you've been on keto long enough, you know there's no hidden carbs in peanuts that aren't on the label. If you can stop yourself at 1-2 servings and you know how to count carbs, there is no reason peanuts can't be keto. However, if you are concerned about the type of fat you ingest, then there may be reason to limit your peanut consumption.
Peanuts on Keto Diet
First we want to clarify that we're talking about plain, unflavored peanuts in this article. Honey roasted peanuts or any other sugar added peanut variety does not count. If you are starting out on keto and are a real beginner at nutrition, check out these other articles about how keto macros work, or how to read a nutrition label on keto.
Most brands of peanut butter have unnecessary added ingredients. The standard brands like Jiffy add sugar in the form of corn syrup. Other brands that even label their peanut butter as all natural may add a form of "natural" sugar like cane sugar.
Don't be fooled with natural peanut butters. Try out the fresh grind peanut butters available in the Health or Natural section of grocery stores like Hyvee, Whole Foods and Kroger. There are usually no added oils or sugars in the fresh grind peanut butters. You literally watch the peanuts get ground into a container right in front of you. They're usually not much more expensive either!
Peanuts are high in Omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are a poly-unsaturated fat that has been shown to cause inflammation in the body. A high ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fats in the diet has been shown to be unhealthy. Peanuts, sadly, contain no omega-3 fatty acids. Only 1 serving of peanuts would bring your omega-6/omega-3 ratio to an unhealthy level, leading to inflammation.
You may be on the ketogenic diet for the many health benefits. If this is the case, you most likely should be monitoring your omega-6/omega-3 ratio. Inflammation has been associated with a number of diseases, including obesity. Peanuts would be an unwise choice to consume on a frequent basis on the keto diet, especially if you are not eating high omega-3 foods, if you are treating systemic inflammation or brain neurodegenerative diseases.
Peanuts can be higher in carbohydrates
In order to eat a variety of fats on the keto diet, a lot of our diets are made up of nuts, seeds and legumes. Peanuts come in at a moderate carb version of these. Most dry roasted peanuts contain 3-4 net carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving. Compared to other keto-approved nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts, that's 1-2 additional net carbs per ounce.
In addition, some peanut manufacturers add corn starch or maltodextrin to peanuts. Corn starch and maltodextrin are a form of carbohydrate, and therefore add additional carbohydrates.
Food Additives to Peanuts
Some food manufacturers add unneccessary ingredients like MSG, hydrolyzed soy protein, and corn syrup solids to add flavor to their peanuts. Make sure to read the nutrition label whenever you purchase new food at the grocery store. Even food that looks healthy and says all natural on the front can have sneaky unhealthy ingredients on the back!
If you have peanut allergies, then peanuts are not a okay food for you at anytime! Sorry 🙁 But there are lots of healthy nut options out there that are even better options for the keto diet. Try out walnuts, almonds and pecans as better options. There are even almond butters available that are pretty darn yummy as a substitute to peanut butter.
Nutritional Benefits of Peanuts
Peanuts aren't all bad. One serving of peanuts (1 oz) contains 180 mg potassium (3.8% RDI). They have a decent amount of protein which will be create a feeling of satiety.
Peanuts are also high in manganese and copper. They contain fiber in each serving as well.
Did you know peanuts contain compounds like phytosterols that block the absorption of cholesterol from diet? Peanuts are also good sources of resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids and co-enzyme Q10 which all help your body fight against damaging free radicals.*
Peanut Butter Keto Recipes
The keto diet can get boring if you're not getting a variety of flavors in your diet. You certainly don't want to get bored on the diet. Getting bored and being unsatisfied with the food can cause over-eating and high caloric consumption, high carb consumption and quitting the diet. Don't quit the diet because of boredom and lack of variety in your food!
Using peanut butter in recipes like a Thai peanut chicken dinner adds a dish with unique flavors. Or what about a peanut chicken satay. Do you like peanut butter desserts? There's tons of peanut butter fat bomb recipes. Or a peanut butter chocolate hard candy dessert. Or try out our new copycat Reeses peanut butter balls recipe!
* "Peanuts as functional food: a review." Shalini S. Arya, Akshata R. Salve, and S. Chauhan