Are peanuts OK for keto diet?

Quick Answer

Peanuts can be part of a keto diet in moderation. They are relatively low in carbs compared to other nuts, with about 6g net carbs per serving. Focus on portion control, as overeating peanuts can easily kick you out of ketosis. 1-2 servings per day should be fine for most people.

What Are Peanuts?

Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, are legumes that grow underground. They are high in fat, protein and various nutrients.

Despite the name, peanuts are not actually nuts. They belong to the legume family and are related to beans, lentils and soy.

Peanuts grow underground in the root structure called a pod. The pod contains usually two peanuts that mature underground before being harvested.

Raw peanuts are typically roasted and sold shelled or unshelled. They are consumed as snacks, used as ingredients or made into peanut butter.

Macronutrients in Peanuts

Nutrient Amount
Calories 567
Carbs 21.5 g
Fiber 8.5 g
Net carbs 13 g
Protein 25.8 g
Fat 49.2 g

* In 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of peanuts

Peanuts are high in fat and protein compared to carbs. Their most abundant fat is a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid.

Are Peanuts Keto Friendly?

Whether peanuts are keto friendly or not depends on the quantity you eat.

A typical serving size for peanuts is around 28 grams or 1 ounce. This contains 6 grams of net carbs, which can fit into the 50 grams of total daily carbs on keto.

However, peanut portions are easy to overeat. Just a handful equates to 2-3 servings. Consuming too many servings of peanuts in one sitting can easily knock you out of ketosis.

As long as you practice portion control and account for their carbs, peanuts can definitely be included in a well-formulated ketogenic diet.

Here are some tips for keeping peanut consumption keto friendly:

– Measure portions instead of eating by the handful.
– Limit yourself to 1-2 servings (28-56g) per day.
– Track net carbs from peanuts to ensure you stay within your daily limit.
– Be mindful of carb counts in other foods you eat alongside peanuts.
– Pre-portion peanuts into bags or containers instead of keeping a large jar.

Overall peanuts are one of the most keto-friendly nuts, but should still be enjoyed in moderation.

Keto Friendly Ways to Eat Peanuts

Here are some ideas for how to incorporate peanuts into a keto diet:

– Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to smoothies or fat bombs.
– Use peanut butter in keto dessert recipes like cookies, bars or fat bombs.
– Make homemade trail mix with peanuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes and dark chocolate pieces.
– Sprinkle a few chopped peanuts on top of salads for extra crunch.
– Try coconut peanut curry made with unsweetened coconut milk.
– Make homemade peanut sauce using peanut butter, coconut aminos, ginger and garlic.
– Add peanut butter to keto overnight oats or chia seed pudding.
– Mix peanuts into plain full-fat Greek yogurt with cinnamon.
– Bake chicken wrapped in bacon with crunchy peanut crust.

As long as servings are measured, peanuts can creatively add flavor, fat and texture to many keto meals and snacks.

Health Benefits of Peanuts on Keto

Besides being low carb, peanuts also provide some health benefits:

Heart Healthy Fats

Over 80% of the fat in peanuts is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. These are considered the healthiest types of fats.

A diet high in monounsaturated fats is linked to reduced heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Weight Loss

Eating peanuts may support weight loss, likely due to their protein, fiber and monounsaturated fat content.

Several large observational studies link nut consumption to lower risk of weight gain and obesity.

Blood Sugar Control

Despite being legumes, peanuts have a low glycemic index. They may improve blood sugar control, especially for those with type 2 diabetes.

Eating peanuts or peanut butter appears to increase satiety and reduce appetite compared to other snacks. This could be beneficial for appetite and weight management.

Overall, enjoying peanuts in moderation on keto provides significant health benefits.

downsides to eating peanuts on keto

While peanuts can be included on keto, there are some downsides to consider:

– High in calories – Peanuts are one of the more calorie dense nuts. Accidentally overeating can hinder weight loss.

– Contain anti-nutrients – Raw peanuts have lectins and phytic acid. These may impair mineral absorption. However, they are reduced by roasting.

– Aflatoxin risk – Peanuts are susceptible to a mold that produces aflatoxin, a carcinogen. Proper storage and handling is important.

– Omega-6 content – Peanuts contain omega-6, but not omega-3 fats. An imbalance between these fats can cause inflammation.

– Allergies – Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies. Those with allergies must avoid peanuts entirely.

As long as you control portions and buy properly stored peanuts, the benefits seem to outweigh potential risks for most people on keto.

Peanut Butter on Keto

Peanut butter can also be included on a keto diet when consumed in moderation.

Natural peanut butter contains nothing but roasted peanuts and maybe salt. It provides around 6g net carbs per serving.

Keep in mind commercial peanut butters often add hydrogenated oils and high carb sweeteners. Always check the ingredients and nutrition label.

Here is a nutritional comparison of 2 tablespoons natural versus commercial peanut butter:

Type Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Net Carbs
Natural 188 16g 7g 1g 6g
Commercial 188 16g 6g 1g 5g

The biggest difference is the added sugars in commercial peanut butter, usually around 2-3 grams per serving.

When buying peanut butter, look for natural options without hydrogenated oils or added sugars. These are the most keto-friendly choices.

Portion Control With Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is dense in calories and easy to overeat. Here are tips to enjoy it without going overboard:

– Measure 2 tablespoons instead of eating by the spoonful.
– Pair peanut butter with foods like celery sticks or apple slices instead of eating alone.
– Mix 1 tablespoon into smoothies rather than 2 tablespoons.
– Use peanut flour in keto baked goods to reduce the amount needed.
– Avoid eating peanut butter straight from the jar. The portion size is difficult to control.
– Consider powdered peanut butter, which takes up more volume with fewer calories.

As long as you account for the carbs, peanut butter can be used in moderation as part of a keto diet.

Types of Peanuts Compared

There are five main types of peanuts, each with slightly different nutrition profiles:

Runner Peanuts

Runners have around 5g net carbs per serving. They have the highest oleic acid content, which provides added health benefits.

Virginia Peanuts

Virginia peanuts contain about 6g net carbs. They are the largest peanut variety with the highest fat content.

Spanish Peanuts

Spanish peanuts provide around 5g net carbs per serving. They have a higher protein and lower fat content compared to other varieties.

Valencia Peanuts

Valencia peanuts have approximately 5g net carbs per serving. They are sweet with a higher sugar content.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are prepared by shelling raw peanuts then simmering in water with salt. They have a soft texture and subtle flavor. Five boiled peanuts contain about 5g net carbs.

While their carb counts are all fairly close, runner and Virginia peanuts may be the best options for keto. Try different varieties to see which you prefer.

Peanuts for Vegetarians and Vegans on Keto

Peanuts can be a great addition to vegetarian and vegan keto diets, which tend to rely heavily on nuts and seeds.

Compared to tree nuts, peanuts provide more plant-based protein at around 7 grams per serving. They give a broader amino acid profile than other plant proteins.

Peanut butter is a tasty way for vegetarians and vegans to add healthy fats to their diet. Try using it in smoothies, sauces or chia pudding.

You can also make homemade peanut milk by blending soaked peanuts with water then straining out the pulp. Use peanut milk for shakes, oats or drinking alone.

Since carbs are limited on keto, having variety from different nuts, seeds and low carb foods is key. Incorporating peanuts can give more options.

Are Peanuts Safe on Keto for Diabetics?

Peanuts are likely safe for most people with diabetes following a keto diet, though responses can vary individually.

Some research shows peanuts and peanut butter may actually benefit blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.

One study had people with diabetes consume 2 ounces (56 grams) of unsalted peanuts daily for 12 weeks. The peanut group ended up with significantly lower A1c and fasting insulin levels compared to a control group.

Another study compared a peanut butter snack to a cheese snack in women with type 2 diabetes. Eating peanut butter led to lower blood sugar for 2 hours after compared to cheese.

The fiber, fat, antioxidants and magnesium in peanuts appear beneficial for reducing insulin resistance. This leads to better blood sugar regulation.

Of course, total carb intake still needs to be controlled on keto. But enjoying a serving of peanuts or peanut butter seems to have little effect on blood sugar for most people with diabetes.

Bottom Line

Peanuts are one of the lowest carb nuts, yet their high fat content and flavor make them satisfying on a ketogenic diet.

Limiting intake to 1-2 servings per day allows peanuts to be included without disrupting ketosis.

Be mindful of portion sizes, as peanut products like peanut butter are calorie dense. When eaten in moderation and accounted for, peanuts can be a healthy addition to the keto diet.

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