Visions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches remind me of delicious days gone by. However, these days don’t have to be over for those on the low FODMAP diet. With so many different kinds of peanut butter on the store shelves today, not all peanut butter is fair game. There are many processed food products that contain ingredients that are high FODMAP even though from the outside they may seem safe. Therefore, let’s take a look at how you can fit peanut butter into your routine while staying on track with your low FODMAP regimen.
What is peanut butter made of?
Peanut butter is typically made of ground dry roasted peanuts blended into a thick paste. The peanuts are first ground down to a medium grind, and then ground again into a finer, smooth texture. For chunky peanut butter, larger peanuts are used, or the grinding process is varied a bit so you get those delicious chunks of peanuts in every bite.
About 90-percent of peanut butter is peanuts for the most part. The other 10-percent can vary according to the manufacturer. In many cases, added ingredients may include salt for enhancing flavor and oil for stabilizing the peanut butter mixture. The oil is added to prevent the natural oils in the peanuts from rising to the top of the jar when blended. The oils make up about 1-2-percent of the peanut butter’s weight.
In some cases, sugar may also be added. In this case, it will be really important to check the ingredient label to see how much sugar is added and what kind of sugar is added. This is because some forms of sugar may contain FODMAPs that can trigger digestive symptoms in some individuals.
Is peanut butter low FODMAP friendly?
When peanut butter is made in its simplest form with just peanuts, oil, and a bit of salt, then yes, it is low FODMAP. Monash University has certified that two tablespoons of standard peanut butter should be safe for those on a low FODMAP diet regimen. It is when you see sugar added or fancy flavorings that you have to be diligent and read the ingredient label. Some label ingredients that you should avoid on the low FODMAP diet include:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Agave syrup
- Golden syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Carob powder
- Malted milk powder
- Cow’s milk
- Milk chocolate
- White chocolate
The key is to choose a peanut butter that has the least number of ingredients possible, so you can enjoy the delicious nutty flavor of peanut butter without any side effects.
Should I eat peanut butter?
Peanut butter can be a healthy part of your meals and snacks if consumed in its most natural form and in moderation. Every two tablespoons of natural peanut butter are about 190 calories, so it is calorie-dense. However, those calories do consist of 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, which can be a great addition to your daily nutrients. To keep it healthy, you should just be sure to stick to no more than two tablespoons a day and avoid any added sugars and unnatural flavorings.
If you want to enjoy peanut butter as part of your meals and snacks on your low FODMAP eating plan, then it is important to read the ingredient labels when grocery shopping. Look for peanut butter formulations with the least number of ingredients possible. And if sugar or flavoring is added, make sure they are not any of the ingredients listed above that are high in FODMAPs.
So, go ahead and enjoy that nutty, low FODMAP friendly protein bar or spread some peanut butter on your gluten-free toast. Just check the ingredients first so that you can enjoy your meal without any digestive surprises.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.