Is Peanut Butter Keto Friendly? Carbs In Peanut Butter


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Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter Bottle

When making the transition to a ketogenic diet, giving up some of your old comfort foods can be one of the most difficult challenges. When I started Keto, I missed peanut butter, so I did all the research about keto and peanut butter and here is what I found out.

Pure peanut butter is low carb and very keto-friendly. High-quality peanut butter is a great ketogenic food because it’s high fat & low carb. In a two-tablespoon serving of pure peanut butter, there will be roughly 16 grams of fat, just 2 net grams of carbs, and 8 grams protein.  However, many popular brands contain sugar and are not keto-friendly.

All peanut butter is not created equal, and not all peanut butter is high-quality. 

Let’s dig into the different kinds of peanut butter so you can identify the best brand of peanut butter for a ketogenic diet.

How to Identify Keto Friendly Peanut Butter Brands

At the most basic level, as long as your peanut butter brand doesn’t contain sugar, it’s probably ketogenic friendly at least in a dirty keto plan.  However, that doesn’t make it a high-quality product.

Peanut butter brands can be broken down into three basic categories:

  1. Regular
  2. “Natural”
  3. Real

Regular Peanut Butter Brands

These are all of the common brands of peanut butter that you’re going to find at eye-level at the grocery store.  These include Peter Pan, Jif, and Skippy as well as others including most store brands.

There are two major problems with these peanut butter brands that make them poor choices for a keto diet.

First, most contain sugar. That’s a hard pass for a keto diet.

Second, they nearly all contain hydrogenated oils to make them shelf-stable (keeping the oil from separating on the shelves).  The standard oil used in these peanut butters is soy oil, which I believe is so highly processed that it’s going to cause chronic inflammation in anyone who regularly consumes it.

Not only do these damaged oils cause inflammation, they also mess with your hormones which can make it more difficult to lose weight.

Regular peanut butter is not the best choice to eat on a keto diet.

Natural Peanut Butter Brands

There are more and more peanut butter brands that are labeled ‘natural’.  Some are high quality, many are not.

To decide if a natural peanut butter is high-quality, you have to look at the ingredient list on the back of the jar.

You’re looking for two different red-flag ingredients; sugar and palm oil.

If it doesn’t have sugar it’s ok-ish.

Now palm oil is a bit more complex. There is a lot of ongoing research on how palm oil reacts to the refining process and how our body deals with that oil. 

I think that there is not enough science on palm oil to make a final decision on its use. Given that, I avoid it.

Real Peanut Butter

Real peanut butter can be quickly identified by looking at the ingredient list on the back of the jar.

On that ingredient list, you are going to find only two ingredients.

  1. Peanuts
  2. Salt

That’s it.  No added oils, no sugar, nothing that came from a laboratory.  

Real peanut butter is the best peanut butter for your keto diet.

I think the best brand of keto friendly peanut butter is Smucker’s Organic Natural Peanut Butter.

Picture of Smucker's Organic Natural Peanut Butter

Smuckers Peanut Butter IngredientsSmuckers Peanut Butter Nutrition LabelDon’t get too hung-up on the term ‘natural’ on the label of this peanut butter. You have to check the ingredient list on all processed foods you eat if you want to eat the highest quality diet possible.

Does Real Peanut Butter Taste Different Than Regular Peanut Butter?

Yes, real peanut butter does taste different than the stuff you grew up with.

If you’re like me and you were raised on Jif Peanut Butter (or its equivalent) then you are used to peanut butter sweetened with sugar. 

Real peanut butter is going to taste different, but you’ll get used to it if you decide to eat it plain.

However, most people on keto use peanut butter to make amazing fat bombs like Keto Peanut Butter Cups { See Recipe on My Site >> }.  In recipes like this, you can easily adjust the sweetness of the peanut butter with a keto-approved sweetener.

However, the taste isn’t the only difference between regular and real peanut butter; it’s probably not even the most shocking difference.

Why Is There Oil On Top of Real Peanut Butter and What To Do About It?

In both regular and natural peanut butter, they add some form of processed oil to stabilize the peanut butter.  This means that the natural oil from the peanuts won’t separate at room temperature. Without those damaged oils, your peanut butter is going to naturally separate at room temperature.

This is a natural thing and it is what is supposed to happen when you grind up nuts, so don’t worry about it.

So what do we do about it?

I start by storing my unopened peanut butter jars upside down. This causes the oil to separate to the ‘top’ which is actually the bottom of the jar.  

Then, when I’m ready to open a new jar of peanut butter, I flip the jar over and open it. Under the lid, I find only peanut butter, though at this point it’s pretty dry peanut butter.

Using a butter knife (or dinner knife depending on what part of the country you are from) I stir the oil at the bottom of the jar into the drier, ground-up peanuts.

I start by just pushing the knife all the way to the bottom and spinning it to start to work the oil into the peanuts.  I do this a number of times until the peanuts get a little more moistened.

As the peanut butter becomes more ‘fluid’, then I start stirring until the oil is completely incorporated into the peanuts.  

At this point, you are going to have peanut butter that is slightly more ‘liquidy’ than regular peanut butter, but not by much.

Then I store my newly mixed real peanut butter in the refrigerator. At these cooler temperatures, real peanut butter is stable, and the oil won’t separate again.

From here on out I use it just like the peanut butter that I grew up with.

Want to Make Your Own Peanut Butter?

It’s crazy easy to make your own peanut butter.

The biggest challenge is going to be finding raw peanuts which are going to have a higher-quality oil content than roasted peanuts.  Some stores carry them in the bulk bins, or you can find them on Amazon { See On Amazon >> }.

Lightly toast the peanuts for better flavor, but don’t overdo the toasting to get to the dried out roasted peanuts that you buy in the snack aisle at the grocery store.

Throw peanuts in a food processor and blend them into butter. Salt to taste.  

Done.

Depending on the freshness of your peanuts, you might need to add a little peanut oil to get the right consistency, but the brand of nuts linked above to Amazon have always had enough natural oil to work great for my family.

Enjoy!

~Angela

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Angela Davis

I'm Angela Davis, Co-Founder of Advantage Meals. I have a Bachelors in Anthropology and Masters in Holistic Nutrition. My passion is Ancestral Nutrition and for over a decade I've been helping Keto Diet beginners and those looking for their Primal Diet. "There is no one right way." Below are the most recent articles I've written for AdvantageMeals.com.

One thought on “Is Peanut Butter Keto Friendly? Carbs In Peanut Butter

  1. Your information about Smuckers organic creamy peanut butter was quite helpful–I never would have known to mix the peanut butter as you did !!
    I bought this PB today and it is very good–I just started keto and this brand was the only one that was right on the mark for keto.

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