Is peanut butter keto?

Is peanut butter keto gives us something to consider because of all the chemicals that food companies insist on adding to our nosh.

My standpoint is controversial I will admit but I believe all food that has been processed should be considered toxic until proven otherwise; nowhere is this more true than with peanut butter.

Keto means different things to various people; in short it is low in starch but high in protein and fat. That fits peanuts to a tee. But once Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan get hold of them, I would not touch their products. Shall we dive in and see why? This is not going to be a long scientific explanation; the short answer.

Peanut butter, honey and strawberry sandwich.

Peanuts have a low glycemic index; consuming them slows the absorption of other sugars in the meal.

This is equally true of unsweetened peanut butter but it is not easy to find.

In a handful of raw peanuts (36 g) you will find the following nutrients.


  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Fats


  • 9.4 g
  • 5.9 g
  • 18 g

Daily value

  • 19%
  • 3%
  • 23%


  • 7.7 g
  • 8.8 g
  • 17.7 g

So the short answer is that peanuts are certainly keto when unsweetened; they are low in carb and high in fat.

Peanuts have a large percentage of fibre, known generally as "fermentable carbs." They contribute to our need for protein and fat. They belong to a group of legumes known as the oil seeds; they are good food. Few nutritionists would disagree.

Moreover the fat has a high percentage of the healthy monounsaturated oils, similar to avocados and olives; good stuff.

And unsweetened peanut butter is low in starch at only 3% of the daily value; and the net carbs are less than three grams. Nearly a half is fibre which does not contribute to blood glucose; instead it provides a very important function in supplying nutrients to the friendly bugs in the colon. 

Now let's compare the carbs in peanuts versus Jif.


  • Natural sugars
  • Added sugars
  • Fibre
  • Other carbs

Total carbs

Raw peanuts

  • 1.5 g
  • Zero
  • 3.1 g
  • 1.3 g

5.9 g

Jif peanut butter

  • 1.5 g
  • 3.7 g (by subtraction)
  • 2.2 g
  • 1.43

8.8 g

In other words, the glycemic natural sugars in peanut butter would be 1.5 g in about 2 TBSP. But Jif adds more than double that amount from sucrose and molasses.

Unsweetened Smuckers and Black Cat peanut butter would qualify as keto foods; they have less salt too.

Hydrogenated oils

Personally I would not touch the average commercial peanut butter not because of the added sugars but due to the hydrogenated oils they introduce; half of them would be trans-fats which are extremely bad for us.

And then they add various emulsifiers and stabilizers so that the oils will not separate out; more chemicals.


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a huge favourite in many Western cultures. In America for example, the average boy would consume 1,500 before completing his schooling. Depending on the bread used each one would probably contain over 100 grams of starch; far too much.


  • 1 TBSP Jif peanut butter containing added sugar
  • 1 TBSP strawberry jelly
  • 2 slices country loaf bread

Total carbs


  • 4 g
  • 13 g
  • 106 g

123 grams

Just one PB&J sandwich contains 123 grams of carb. Depending on who you talk to that is close to the total amount that a child should have in a whole day; there's a lot of sugar and despite the peanuts it is high GI. 

Is it any wonder that nearly twenty percent of children are obese and that fully a half of all adults will soon be?

Is peanut butter keto? Not if you consume one of the average commercial brands; simple sugars are added raising the glycemic index.

Unfortunately I was unable to find research measuring the GI of unsweetened peanut butter formulations compared to those with added sugar.


Peanut butter and honey sandwich

There is a better option to answer and satisfy your question; is peanut butter keto? Use a true wholegrain bread, natural honey and raw berries.

  1. Cut two slices of artisan bread.
  2. Smear one slice with no-sugar peanut butter.
  3. Cover the other slice with creamed natural honey.
  4. Layer freshly-sliced strawberries on the peanut butter and close the sandwich.
  5. Cut diagonally to make it pretty; the honey and peanut butter will stick the strawberries in place.


  • 1 TBSP no added-sugar peanut butter
  • 1 tsp natural honey
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread
  • 4 strawberries



  • 3 g
  • 5 g
  • Net carbs 5.1 g[2].
  • Net carbs 6 g

19 grams

Levels of keto

  • Healthy person
  • Obese
  • Morbidly obese and unstable diabetic
  • < 150 g per day
  • < 50 g
  • < 20 g

For a normal healthy child a peanut butter and natural honey wholemeal sandwich would just qualify as keto; others would disagree.

Is peanut butter keto?

Is peanut butter keto is an important question that we now can answer. The cautious reply is yes but once eaten in a typical PB&J sandwich made with a commercial bread it certainly is not.

Unsweetened peanut butter without jelly on a slice of unrefined wholegrain artisan bread would certainly be considered an excellent keto food.

However there are two distinct groups of keto practitioners; those who eschew all carbs and a distinct party who look only upon refined starch as the real devil.

To the former all starches must be vigorously reduced. The latter would encourage butternut, legumes and whole grains for their proven health benefits; unsweetened peanut butter would qualify for both groups.

The happy tum

The happy tum is one which is not constipated, nor subject to bouts of diarrhoea and pain. It is not obese; fat stored around the organs is particularly detrimental to wellness.

The happy tum has a large number of diverse bugs that have a great many important functions; in particular by producing specific chemicals like butyrate they reduce inflammation in the body.

These friendly bacteria, viruses and yeasts need large amounts of fibre for food; such as that provided by a keto peanut butter sandwich using true wholemeal flour. The strawberries are the cherry on top.

Caring for the temple

This page is part of a much broader subject; caring for the temple[4]. Christians believe that it is in their bodies that Almighty God abides; thus they have a duty to look after themselves.

In short there is Heavenly Food which leads to life and health; and that which the world provides. The latter is often highly-processed; important nutrients have been extracted.

Frailty and nuts

Strong research published in The Journal of Nutrition after following 70,000 women for 24 years concluded that regular enjoyment of all nuts is strongly associated with less frailty as we get older[5].

Alas commercial peanut butters in general gave no such protection; it's speculative but it is probably because of the sugar and trans-fats added to many of them.

Natural honey

Astonishingly researchers in Germany have found that natural unprocessed honey has a low glycemic index. It certainly contributes to the net carbs but it is slow-release and doesn't produce the blood sugar storm as expected; like the commercial stuff does.

Honey creamed and runny bottlesRunny and creamed natural honey


Disappointingly Bon Appétit in looking for the best peanut butter[3] considered only taste; whether it was healthy or otherwise was not reasoned important. Unsweetened and non-homogenised products were disqualified, nor even considered; say no more.

So yes this page about wholesome, keto foods is controversial. Personally I cannot recommend and would not eat most commercial peanut butters, processed honeys or supermarket bread.

Faced with them at a social gathering I might have a small helping so as not to offend. It is true that I teeter on the verge of orthorexia; I'm that determined to live a long and zestful life free from medication.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
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  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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