The premise of eating paleo is to eat foods that humans would have eaten during the Paleolithic era like fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
However, if you’ve recently made the switch to a paleo diet you might be wondering: Can you eat peanut butter on paleo?
In this article, I will cover some important information about the paleo diet, including whether you can eat peanut butter on paleo and which nut butters are paleo.
Keep reading to find out more.
Can you eat peanut butter on paleo?
No, you cannot eat peanut butter on paleo. While the paleo diet might include the consumption of nuts and seeds, you must avoid peanuts.
This comes down to the fact that peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they are technically legumes, which are not paleo compliant. As a result, this means peanut butter is not suitable for those on a paleo diet.
So, why are peanuts not paleo compliant?
Those on a paleo diet deliberately avoid peanuts because of a compound phytic acid. Phytic acid, often considered as an ‘anti-nutrient’, is a unique natural substance found in plant seeds.
One of the reasons why the paleo diet excludes peanuts and other legumes is that phytic acid impairs absorption of iron and zinc, and also calcium.
That being said, it’s a contentious issue as phytic acid represents a nutrient with good and bad properties. There is also a huge variation within each food, so it isn’t as black and white as you might initially think it is when following a paleo diet.
Phytic acid is also not a health concern for those who follow a balanced diet. So, you can see why it’s a controversial topic overall.
What nuts can you eat on paleo?
There are a variety of nuts that you can eat when following a paleo diet. These include:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
As well as nuts, you can also snack on seeds if you’re paleo:
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
What nut butters are paleo?
If you were a huge fan of nut butters before you turned paleo, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are a variety of paleo-friendly nut butters.
A few paleo friendly nut butters include:
Macadamia Nut Butter
Macadamia nut butter is super rich and tasty. Unfortunately, macadamias are also some of the most expensive nuts around, so it can be expensive.
Almond butter is a fantastic substitute for peanut butter, and is an incredibly versatile ingredient to have in the kitchen for smoothies, snacks, and other recipes.
This is available at some speciality stores and online. You can also opt to make your own at home.
Sunflower Seed Butter
This is a yummy alternative to peanut butter, and is more widely available in the majority of stores.
It is important to reiterate that all other nuts and seeds, aside from peanuts, are fine for the paleo diet. If approved nuts and seeds are the only ingredients, or if the ingredients aren’t on the list of ingredients to avoid in the list below, then you should be fine to eat the nut butter.
That being said, you should always do your research. If you are unsure on whether a nut butter is paleo compliant, always make sure that you are checking the ingredients carefully before purchasing a specific nut butter.
As well as the nuts above, what are some of the common ingredients found in nut butters that you can eat on paleo?
Paleo Compliant Oils
- Palm oil
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- MCT oil
- Walnut oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
Paleo Compliant Sweeteners
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
Note: Xylitol is a hugely controversial sweetener in the paleo community, so where you sit on the debate will depend on you as the individual and your personal ethics.
So, what are some nut butter ingredients to avoid on paleo?
Non-Compliant Oils To Stay Away From
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
- Peanut oil
- Soybean oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Rapeseed oil
- Sunflower seed oil (While the seeds are fine to eat, the oil is not on its own)
- Anything hydrogenated
Non-Compliant Sweeteners To Avoid
- Corn syrup solids
- High fructose corn syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
Non-Compliant Ingredients To Avoid
- Artificial preservatives
- Artificial flavors
- Dairy products, including chocolate ingredients
If you want to avoid store-bought nut butter altogether, why not try making your own?
A Guide On How To Make Paleo Friendly Almond Butter
- 3 cups of almonds
- Step one – To begin, you will need to preheat the oven to 350ºF degrees. Next, warm the almonds in an oven for around 10 minutes. This will speed up how long they take to blend.
- Step two – Place the almonds in a food processor fitted with an ‘S’ blade. This is a long process, and will typically take around 25 minutes, so you might need to scrape down the sides as you go. You need to be patient. The almonds will first appear as if they’re turning into clumps of flour, then will form a ball. Following this, it will turn to a grainy almond butter before it becomes silky smooth and spreadable nut butter!
- Step three – Once totally smooth and creamy, transfer the almond butter to a jar and store it in the refrigerator This almond butter will typically last for around a month in the refrigerator.
No, you cannot eat peanut butter on paleo. This comes down to the fact that peanuts aren’t actually a nut, but instead are a legume. That being said, there are other nuts and nut butters that are suitable for you to eat when following a paleo diet.
If you are unsure on whether a nut butter is paleo compliant, make sure that you always carefully read the ingredients list before eating nut butters.