Can You Eat Peanut Butter On The Keto Diet?

Keto aficionados take heart: despite the confusion surrounding celery's favorite topping, peanut butter can safely be a go-to food on the popular diet.

Now that you can breathe more easily, there are a few caveats that need to be mentioned. First of all, there are no foods that are strictly banned on the keto diet. But because achieving, and maintaining, keto relies on meeting strict macronutrient quotas (roughly 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and a slim five percent carbs), it makes carb-rich foods near impossible to indulge in.

One medium cupcake contains around 26 grams of carbohydrates — which is an entire day's worth of carbs for many keto-followers — so, while a cupcake isn't technically 'banned,' it had better be a darn good one if it's going to force to you eat nothing but meat and fat for the rest of the day (via

Much of the confusion surrounding peanuts on the keto diet has to do with the fact that peanuts are actually classified as legumes, not tree nuts. But they are higher in fat than beans in general, making them more keto-friendly. Their nutritional profile and taste are also more in line with tree nuts than, say kidney beans. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter has about 200 calories, with eight grams of protein and three or four grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber).

Peanut butter can be a healthy addition to the keto diet

Cynthia Sass, MPH, R.D., says "A keto diet is typically restricted to 5% carbs. So if you eat 1600 calories a day, that's a maximum of 20 grams of carbs per day. If a two-tablespoon portion of unsweetened peanut butter provides 6 grams of carbs with 2 grams of that as fiber, that leaves 4 net grams of carbs. So in that portion you've 'spent' 20% of your carb allowance, not including any veggies" (via Health).

To get the most nutritional and low-carb mileage from peanut butter, make sure it contains a maximum of two ingredients: peanuts and salt. Many peanut butters contain added sugars, which translates to added carbs. Jessica Crandall Snyder, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adds, "The keto diet is all about staying in the nutrient ranges, so avoiding added sugars is key" (Men's Health).

So read labels carefully. But, as long as the portions are measured carefully and the math is right, peanut butter is an indulgence that gets a keto thumbs-up.