Can You Eat Peanut Butter On The Paleo Diet?

As we all know there are certain foods that aren’t allowed on the Paleo diet.  One of these being peanut butter.  Yet I still find people asking is peanut butter Paleo?

Well for those who follow a strict Paleo diet the answer is no.  But for others enjoying this particular food on the odd occasion is fine.

Is Peanut Butter Paleo

The first thing you need to understand is that in fact peanut’s aren’t a nut, they are a legume.  This is the main reason why they do not appear on the Paleo diet food list.

This is why you may be wondering if you can eat peanut butter on the Paleo diet?

Unlike us or animals, plants cannot run away from their predators or frighten them off.  So to protect themselves they release certain compounds.  These compounds help to make them taste horrible or make it hard for us to eat them.  The kinds of compounds that you will find in peanuts include lectins, phytates, and saponins.  These can all cause problems for us when eaten.

So what’s the problem with such compounds that you’ll find in your beloved peanut butter?


You’ll find that raw peanuts contain high levels of this compound.  It forms part of the seeds and helps the leaves to grow when this plant sprouts.  We really have problems digesting this compound.  If your digestive system is compromised in anyway lectin can get into your bloodstream without any changes.   As our body is unable to digest it so our immune system goes into action.  It produces antibodies that will attack and destroy it.

This particular compound can also lead to damage to the wall lining your gut.  In turn, it can lead to other health problems from joint pain and fatigue to an allergic reaction.


Like other legumes, peanuts contain phytic acid.  This cause the minerals in the food you eat to bind together.  As a result, you’ll find it more difficult to absorb them and use them.  Such a compound will prevent your body from being able to absorb such minerals as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron.  Also, it prevents you from absorbing other trace minerals to be found in the vegetables you eat.

Paleo Diet Peanut Butter


This is a group of chemical compounds that you’ll find in plants in abundance.  Just like the lectin above such cannot only irritate but damage your intestinal tract.  Even if the peanuts in the peanut butter have been cooked for a long time the saponin found in them can still cause problems for you.


The peanut is susceptible to fungus and mold.  There is one fungus in particular that can be found in peanuts.  This fungus is known as Aspergillus flavus.  It produces a toxin known as aflatoxin and is about 20 times more carcinogenic than DDT.  The chemical that is often used in the production of pesticides.

But when cooked (roasted) then the levels of such a toxin in peanuts gets reduced.   Yet you need to be aware that nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and pecans, which are Paleo approved contain this toxin as well.

In Conclusion

As peanuts are a legume, not a nut they aren’t considered to be Paleo.  This is why when you ask is peanut butter on the Paleo diet, you will find out it isn’t.

For anyone who has digestive problems then eliminating this food from your diet is vital.  The same goes for people who suffer from autoimmune or inflammatory health problems.

But for those who love this particular food, you can still enjoy it sometimes.  Include it as an occasional treat or as a snack.  There are some great Paleo diet peanut butter recipes around that will allow you to make some tasty treats you can enjoy.

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