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Are Peanuts Keto-Friendly? (& Better Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about peanuts, are they keto-friendly?

Peanuts are an extremely popular food around the world. Botanically speaking they are technically legumes, but due to their nutritional contents, many people consider them nuts.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in peanuts is around 7.6 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people regular peanuts are keto-friendly in small amounts.

Peanut butter is in its basic form just regular crushed peanuts. However many brands add sugar and other sweeteners to peanut butter which can make it not keto-friendly. Other peanut products like honey roasted peanuts are also usually not keto-friendly.

Even if you eat them in keto-friendly portions you may want to exercise some portion control with peanuts anyway for reasons like fiber intake, calorie intake, and protein intake. Being in ketosis is no guarantee for goals like losing weight. There are also nuts alternatives that are more helpful for staying in ketosis.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in peanuts

100 grams of peanuts contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 16.1 grams
  • Of which fiber: 8.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 7.6 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 7.6 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of peanuts can certainly be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of peanuts is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 4.5 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.1 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of peanuts, 2.1 grams, is slightly easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not peanuts are keto for you ultimately depends on how many peanuts you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in peanuts

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of peanuts contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 567
  • Protein: 25.8 grams
  • Carbs: 16.1 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 8.5 grams
  • Fat: 49.2 grams
  • Manganese: 97% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Niacin: 60% of the DV
  • Folate: 60% of the DV
  • Copper: 57% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 43% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Even though they are slightly higher in net carbs, peanuts do contain a nice amount of valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.

Alternatives for peanuts on keto

Peanuts are not the only option when you want to eat nuts on the ketogenic diet. In fact, peanuts are relatively high in net carbs compared to other nuts.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7):

  • Pecans: 4.4 grams of net carbs
  • Brazil nuts: 4.8 grams of net carbs
  • Macadamia nuts: 5.6 grams of net carbs
  • Walnuts: 7 grams of net carbs
  • Hazelnuts: 7 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over peanuts.

How to avoid eating too many peanuts

By now it is clear that to be able to fit peanuts in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a bag of peanuts near you and hoping that you don’t eat too many is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too many peanuts with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how many peanuts will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the peanuts out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying them if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the number of peanuts you eat.

What is your goal with keto?

Even in some cases, a small number of peanuts added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake. Even though they are low in carbs, nuts can still kick you out of ketosis.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, peanuts can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level. That being said, if losing weight is your goal, keep in mind that peanuts contain a relatively high amount of calories.