Peanut butter, when chosen wisely, can be a nutritious snack for those with diabetes. The key is to select a type rich in healthy fats and low in added sugars. Natural peanut butter fitting these criteria stands out as the top choice.

  • Best Choice for Diabetics: Natural peanut butter low in added sugars and high in healthy fats.
  • Key Benefits: A good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Top Consideration When Shopping: Opt for peanut butter that contains only peanuts and perhaps a pinch of salt, avoiding added sugars and unhealthy additives.

Be sure to portion your peanut butter appropriately and balance it with other nutritious foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Benefits of Eating Peanut Butter

Peanut butter that contains added sugar is not a healthy choice for people with diabetes, as it can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Sugar is a source of empty calories and adds excess carbohydrates to the diet. It can be particularly problematic for people with diabetes who must closely manage their carbohydrate intake. A calorie deficit calculator is the best way to reduce your sugar intake and keep an eye on your carbohydrates.

In terms of nutrition, peanut butter is a good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Here's a closer look at the benefits of peanut butter:

Protein

Peanut butter is a rich source of protein, vital for building and repairing tissues in the body. Protein also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals. Getting adequate protein is vital for diabetics, as it can help lower HbA1c levels, improve body composition, and minimize loss of muscle mass.

Healthy fats

The majority of the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, considered "healthy" fats. These types of fats can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Fiber

Peanut butter contains around 2 grams of fiber per serving, which helps regulate digestion and promotes feelings of fullness. The fiber may also help blunt blood sugar spikes after meals.

Vitamins and minerals

Peanut butter is a good source of various vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for diabetics, including magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels; potassium, which supports nerve functioning; and vitamin B6, which aids in hemoglobin production and may reduce risk of peripheral neuropathy nerve damage associated with diabetes.

The Best Peanut Butter for Diabetics

1. Santa Cruz Organic Creamy Light Roasted Peanut Butter

Santa Cruz Organic Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter is a delicious and healthy option for peanut butter lovers. This creamy spread is made with organic roasted peanuts and has no added sugar, hydrogenated oils, or preservatives. It's perfect for spreading on toast, crackers, or as an ingredient in baking. This peanut butter is USDA-certified organic, gluten-free, and vegan. Enjoy roasted peanuts' rich, natural flavor with every spoonful.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
2. Jif No Added Sugar Creamy Peanut Butter Spread
$52.64

Jif No Added Sugar Creamy Peanut Butter Spread is a delicious and healthy option for peanut butter lovers who are looking for a low-sugar option. Made with high-quality roasted peanuts, this creamy spread has no added sugar and no artificial preservatives. It's perfect for spreading on toast, crackers, or as an ingredient in baking. With 200 calories, 17g of fat, 3.5g of saturated fat, and 2g of total sugars per serving, Jif No Added Sugar Creamy Peanut Butter Spread is a great choice for anyone looking to limit their sugar intake.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/16/2024 02:22 am GMT
3. SKIPPY Peanut Butter Spread No Sugar Added
$27.20

SKIPPY Peanut Butter Spread No Sugar Added is a great choice for those looking to enjoy the taste of peanut butter without added sugar. Made with high-quality roasted peanuts, this peanut butter spread has a creamy texture that is perfect for spreading, baking, or snacking. With zero grams of trans fats per serving, this peanut butter is a healthier option for those looking to limit their intake of trans fats. Enjoy the rich, natural flavor of roasted peanuts.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/16/2024 02:22 am GMT
4. JUSTIN'S Classic No Stir Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Spread
$6.74

This spread is a delicious and nutritious option for peanut butter lovers looking for a gluten-free alternative. Made with high-quality roasted peanuts, this peanut butter spread has a smooth and creamy texture. With 210 calories per serving, 7g of protein, 1g of dietary fiber, and just 2g of sugar, the Spread is an excellent option for anyone looking to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. And with no added sugars, hydrogenated oils, or gluten, it's a spread that you can feel good about enjoying. 

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/16/2024 02:22 am GMT
5. 365 by Whole Foods Market Peanut Butter - Unsweetened and Organic

This unsweetened peanut butter has a rich, natural flavor that is perfect for spreading, baking, or snacking. With 190 calories per serving, 7g of protein, 2g of dietary fiber, and just 1g of sugar, it's a great option for anyone looking to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It is made without any added sugars, hydrogenated oils, or artificial preservatives, making it a spread that you can feel good about enjoying. 

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
6. Wild Friends All Natural Peanut Cashew Super Butter
$24.90 $22.51

A premium nut butter made with only the finest ingredients. This delicious spread is made with a blend of all-natural peanuts and cashews, creating a unique and nutty flavor that is perfect for those who appreciate the taste of natural, wholesome ingredients. With a smooth and creamy texture, this nut butter is great for adding to smoothies, dips, sauces, and more.

Whether you're looking for a nutritious source of protein and healthy fats or just love the taste of premium nut butter, this is a perfect choice. With no added sugars, hydrogenated oils, or artificial preservatives, you can feel confident that you're getting only the best with Wild Friends.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/16/2024 02:22 am GMT

When Shopping for Peanut Butter, Here Are Some Things to Consider:

Check the ingredients

Look for peanut butter that contains only peanuts and maybe a pinch of salt. Avoid eating peanut butter that contains added sugars, hydrogenated oils, or high fructose corn syrup.

Look for natural peanut butter

Natural peanut butter is made from just peanuts and is free from added sugars, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives. These types of peanut butter tend to be a healthier choice for people with diabetes.

Consider the fat content

Peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial for people with diabetes. Choose a peanut butter low in saturated fat, as this type of fat can raise cholesterol levels.

Look at the calorie count

One serving of peanut butter is typically two tablespoons. Look for peanut butter that is lower in calories to help you stay within your daily calorie goals.

Choose reduced-fat options

If you prefer a smoother texture, look for reduced-fat peanut butter, which has fewer calories and less fat than regular peanut butter.

Which Type of Peanut Butter is Healthiest?

Natural peanut butter is considered better for people with diabetes for several reasons:

No added sugars

Natural peanut butter is made from only peanuts and does not contain added sugars, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and add extra carbohydrates to the diet.

Healthy fats

Natural peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Reduced additives

Natural peanut butter does not contain hydrogenated oils or preservatives, which can be harmful to your health.

Better flavor

Natural peanut butter has a purer, nuttier flavor, often preferred over peanut butter with added sugars and other ingredients.

Better for digestion

Natural peanut butter is less processed and does not contain additives that can irritate the digestive system.

Overall, natural peanut butter is a healthier choice for people with diabetes, as they do not contain added sugars or harmful additives. Look for natural peanut butter low in saturated fat, and portion it appropriately as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Peanut Butter and Fats

Peanut butter is a spread made from roasted peanuts high in fat. The fat content in peanut butter is a combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fat

Saturated fat is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature and can raise cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease. Peanut butter contains a small amount of saturated fat, usually around 2 grams per two-tablespoon serving.

Monounsaturated fat

Peanut butter is a rich source of monounsaturated fat, with around 8 grams per two-tablespoon serving. Monounsaturated fats can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease, which diabetics are already at higher risk for.

Polyunsaturated fat

Peanut butter contains polyunsaturated fats, with around 4 grams per two-tablespoon serving. Getting more polyunsaturated fats from foods like peanut butter may help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels for those with diabetes

Overall, peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health. However, it is vital to portion peanut butter appropriately, as it is also high in calories, and to balance it with other nutritious foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

What is the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Peanut Butter?

The glycemic index (GI) of peanut butter is relatively low, usually estimated to be around 14. The GI measures how quickly and high a particular food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI raise blood sugar levels quickly, while foods with a low GI have a slower and more gradual effect on blood sugar levels.

Peanut butter is considered a low-glycemic index (GI) and low-glycemic load (GL) food, with a GI of just 14 and GL of only 3 per serving. This means peanut butter has a relatively small, gradual effect on blood sugar levels. This is partly due to its fiber and protein content, which can help regulate digestion and slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.

However, it's important to keep in mind that the GI of peanut butter can vary depending on the specific brand and the presence of added ingredients, such as sugar or hydrogenated oils. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and consult a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations on how peanut butter may affect their blood sugar control.

How Does Peanut Butter Affect Blood Sugar

Peanut butter can affect blood sugar levels because it contains carbohydrates, primarily in the form of dietary fiber and sugar. The effect of peanut butter on blood sugar levels can vary depending on several factors, including the type of peanut butter, portion size, and individual differences in metabolism and blood sugar control.

For people with diabetes, it's important to choose a peanut butter low in added sugars and to portion it appropriately. Natural peanut butter made from only peanuts and without added sugars is a good choice. They contain fiber, which helps regulate digestion and slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

In general, eating a moderate amount of peanut butter with a meal can help regulate blood sugar levels, as the healthy fats and protein it contains can help slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

However, it is important to keep in mind that peanut butter is calorie-dense, so portion control is key. In addition, people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and consult a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations on how peanut butter may affect their blood sugar control.

Tips for Managing Peanut Butter Intake With Diabetes

If you have diabetes and are taking insulin, it's important to consider how peanut butter can affect your blood sugar levels and insulin dosing. Here are some tips for managing insulin dosing while eating peanut butter:

Portion control

As peanut butter is high in calories and fats, it’s vital to pay attention to portion sizes for optimal blood sugar control. Stick to about 2 tablespoons per serving and account for the carbohydrates when calculating insulin needs.

Monitor blood sugar response

The effect peanut butter has on blood sugar can vary individually based on factors like metabolism and insulin resistance. Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels after eating peanut butter to understand your body’s response and adjust portions or timing as needed.

Know the carbohydrate content

The amount of carbohydrates in peanut butter can vary depending on the brand, so it's important to know the exact carbohydrate content. One serving of peanut butter contains approximately 7 grams of carbohydrates.

Balance peanut butter intake with other healthy foods

While peanut butter can be part of a healthy diet for diabetics, balance is key. Pair it with non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats from other plant sources like avocados or nuts.

Time peanut butter intake appropriately

Eating peanut butter with a meal, rather than alone, can help regulate blood sugar levels. The healthy fats and protein help slow digestion of carbs from the entire meal.

Adjust insulin doses

If necessary, adjust your insulin doses based on your blood sugar levels and the amount of peanut butter you eat. People with diabetes should consult a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations on adjusting insulin doses based on their individual needs.

Consult with your physician and/or diabetes educator to learn about different kinds of insulin delivery methods, such as dual wave, extended, or square bolusing (with an insulin pump). This will help you prevent hyperglycemic events caused by delayed carbohydrate digestion.

What Are the Downsides of Eating Peanut Butter?

While peanut butter can be a nutritious food with many health benefits, there are also some downsides to consider:

High-calorie content

Peanut butter is calorie-dense, with a serving size of 2 tablespoons containing around 190 calories. Consuming too much peanut butter can contribute to weight gain and negatively impact overall health.

Allergen concerns

Peanut allergies are a common and potentially life-threatening food allergy affecting millions worldwide.

Symptoms of a peanut allergy can range from mild to severe and can include the following:

  • Skin reactions such as hives or itching
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and difficulty breathing
  • Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.

Peanut allergies are most common in children but can also develop in adults. There is no cure for peanut allergies, and the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid peanuts and peanut-containing products strictly.

It's important for individuals with peanut allergies to be vigilant about reading food labels and avoiding peanuts and peanut-containing products. In some severe cases, it may be necessary to carry an epinephrine auto-injector for emergency use in case of accidental exposure.

If you suspect you have a peanut allergy, it's important to see an allergist for a proper diagnosis and to develop a plan for managing your allergy.

High-fat content

Although peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, it also contains saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease if consumed excessively.

Added ingredients

Some peanut butter contains added sugars, hydrogenated oils, and other ingredients that can negatively impact health. It's important to choose natural peanut butter made from only peanuts and without added ingredients.

High sodium content

Some brands of peanut butter can contain high amounts of sodium, which can negatively impact blood pressure and overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is peanut butter good for diabetics?

Peanut butter can be a healthy food choice for people with diabetes as it is low on the glycemic index and contains healthy fats, protein, and fiber. However, it's important to choose natural peanut butter made from only peanuts and without added ingredients and to monitor blood sugar levels regularly.

Can peanut butter raise blood sugar levels?

Peanut butter can affect blood sugar levels but is relatively mild due to its low glycemic index, fiber, and protein content. However, the impact of peanut butter on blood sugar levels can vary depending on the specific brand and the presence of added ingredients, such as sugar or hydrogenated oils.

How much peanut butter can a person with diabetes eat?

The amount of peanut butter a person with diabetes can eat depends on individual needs and goals, including blood sugar control, calorie intake, and overall health. A serving size of peanut butter is usually 2 tablespoons, which contains around 190 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates.

Is peanut butter high in carbohydrates?

Peanut butter contains carbohydrates, with a serving size of 2 tablespoons containing around 7 grams of carbohydrates. However, it's important to remember that the carbohydrate content can vary depending on the specific brand and the added ingredients.

Conclusion

In conclusion, peanut butter can be a nutritious and satisfying snack for people with diabetes, as long as they choose a variety that is low in added sugars and high in healthy fats. Look for natural peanut butter that contains only peanuts and maybe a pinch of salt, and portion it appropriately as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. American Diabetes Association What is fat?
  2. American Heart Association, Saturated Fat
  3. National Library of Medicine The palm oil industry and noncommunicable diseases
  4. National Library of Medicine Saturated Fat: Part of a Healthy Diet
  5. National Library of Medicine Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children

About the Author

Inez Briand

Inez Briand is the partner of a type 1 diabetic (Ely). She has always been interested in traveling and cooking, and now that she has a partner with diabetes, her interest in cooking even more healthily has skyrocketed. She loves finding new recipes for her partner and family and sharing any food and nutrition-related articles on Diabetic & Me.

View All Articles