Following a low-carb diet can often feel like a challenging undertaking, and a spoonful of peanut butter here and there can be the delicious escape you’ve been looking for. However, after taking a look at the ingredient’s nutritional value, you might be surprised to learn that its carbohydrate content might be higher than you would’ve thought. This new information can leave you wondering, “Can you eat peanut butter on a low-carb diet?”.
You can eat peanut butter on a low-carb diet if you practice moderation. All-natural peanut butter is an excellent choice, as it’s high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. However, make sure not to overconsume it, as it still contains a significant level of carbohydrates.
In this article, I’ll take you through all there is to know about how to properly consume peanut butter while on a low-carb diet. In the following sections, you’ll learn more regarding the food’s nutritional value, how you can incorporate it into your diet, and what are some lower-carb alternatives you can opt for instead.
What Is Peanut Butter’s Carb Content?
While it’s true that peanut butter is the calorically dense ingredient packed with fat and protein that the media makes it out to be, what many sources fail to notice is that its carbohydrate content isn’t negligible either.
When on a ketogenic diet, even the slightest traces of carbs can quickly tip you over your daily limit, leaving very little space for essential veggies and similar carb-heavy ingredients in your diet.
A serving of 2 tbsp (32 grams) of peanut butter contains roughly 7 grams of carbohydrates.
The specific level can vary from brand to brand, but it usually hovers around this number. However, for a more accurate analysis, it’s best to compare the data I’m about to provide with the nutritional information printed on the back of your peanut butter jar of choice.
On the other hand, those following a low-carb diet usually strive to get 5-10% of their calories from carbs, amounting to a total of fewer than 40 grams of carbs a day. As you can imagine, there aren’t many leeways when it comes to dividing your carbohydrate “budget” between meals and ingredients you want to consume in a day.
Say you’re a tall, heavy male leaning towards the higher end of the carb intake range. You’re looking to consume 40 grams of carbohydrates at most, meaning that a single serving of peanut butter will take up almost 15% of your daily budget.
Remember that this is quite a generous estimate.
The average person will likely consume around 30 grams of carbs a day while on a ketogenic diet, making a single serving of peanut butter take up 23% of their daily needs.
Considering the average peanut butter sizing size, this percentage is quite significant. However, this isn’t to say that you should steer away from the ingredient altogether. As long as you budget your daily carb intake wisely and don’t miss out on any essential veggies and fruits, you can undoubtedly fit peanut butter into a ketogenic diet.
Remember that the information provided is based on all-natural peanut butter. However, always try to steer away from flavored, sugar-rich options, which could present with a drastically different nutritional profile.
What Is Peanut Butter’s Nutritional Value?
Even though you’ll be using a big chunk of your daily carb “budget” by consuming a relatively small serving of peanut butter, don’t forget that that same serving is packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber as well.
Therefore, as long as you consume your favorite creamy spread in moderation, there’s definitely some space in your low-carb diet for it. Not only does peanut butter provide a substantial amount of protein and healthy fats, but its inherent balance between the three macronutrients allows you to feel satiated for longer.
Therefore, those going on a ketogenic diet with weight loss in mind don’t have to feel scared of the ingredient’s high caloric density, as it will likely keep you satiated for longer.
However, it’s worth reiterating the importance of moderation in this context. While a serving or two might be beneficial to your goals and lifestyle, emptying out the jar will likely not be compatible with your regimen.
According to nutritionalvalue.org, a 2 tbsp (32 g) serving of peanut butter contains:
- Calories: 191
- Total carbohydrates: 7.1 g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 7.2 g
- Fat: 16g
- Sodium: 137 mg
Additionally, the ingredient is rich in calcium, potassium, and iron, with a single 2 tbsp (32 gram) serving providing respectively 1%, 4%, and 3% of your daily needs.
How To Incorporate Peanut Butter Into a Low Carb Diet
As many keto veterans know, sometimes how you consume a particular ingredient is even more important than the nature of the ingredient itself, and peanut butter is no exception.
First of all, not all types of peanut butter are made the same. Grocery stores are filled with options containing copious amounts of sugar and preservatives, so you’ll ideally want to opt for an all-natural alternative with only one item on its ingredient list: peanuts.
Additionally, the serving size is key when it comes to incorporating peanut butter into a low-carb diet.
Therefore, while the ingredient might be ideal to consume as part of a peri-workout meal, in a pinch, or when traveling and out of options, you might want to go for a lower-carb, more nutritionally-dense alternative when it comes to your day-to-day meals.
Lower Carb Alternatives to Peanut Butter
If you’re a fan of nut-based spreads and aren’t set on getting your peanut butter fix, there’s a wide range of alternatives you can opt for instead that is better suited to a low-carb diet.
- Hazelnut butter has 6 g of carbs in a 2 tbsp (32 g) serving.
- Almond butter has 6.7 g of carbs in a 2 tbsp (32 g) serving.
- Macadamia nut butter has 4.42 g of carbs in a 2 tbsp (32 g) serving.
You can eat peanut butter on a low-carb diet, as long as you do so in moderation. The ingredient is high in protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber, which is why even smaller portions are bound to keep you satiated for longer.
However, peanut butter is also calorically dense, so if weight loss is your goal, I’d recommend cutting back on the serving sizes. Overall, peanut butter is a delicious, nutritious food source that can certainly fit into a low-carb diet.