Are Peanuts Bad for Kidneys?

Mar
15

Are Peanuts Bad for Kidneys?


When living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), it can sometimes feel like the list of foods you’re told to avoid is never-ending. Peanuts and peanut butter are often no exception to this list, which prompts the question: are peanuts bad for kidneys?

Peanuts Nutrition

Generally speaking, peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of plant-based protein with 7g per 1oz (about 2 tablespoons) serving, contain plenty of healthy fats to keep you full, fiber to support healthy digestion, and are naturally low in carbs. 

Despite being a small nutritional powerhouse, all nuts and nut butters are very calorie-dense, and peanuts are no exception. Just two tablespoons contains nearly 200 calories. Regardless of who you are and whether or not you are living with CKD, diabetes, or other chronic disease, it’s not the best idea to be eating peanut butter by the spoonful out of a jar in a mindless manner. 

Overall, the nutrition in peanuts can vary greatly depending on how you are buying them. Salted, roasted with honey and oil, or as peanut butter? The choice is yours, but let’s help you choose wisely!

When comparing all the different ways that peanuts and peanut butter can be prepared, there are certain things you want to look out for. Here are some keywords to look for when choosing peanut products:

  • Unsalted or No salt added
  • Zero sugar or no added sugar
  • 100% peanuts
  • Dry roasted

Then, take a closer look at the ingredients list and try to avoid items with: 

  • Added oils (peanut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil)
  • Added salt (sea salt, salt) 
  • Added sugars (sugar, cane sugar, molasses, honey) 

Peanut Oxalate Content

It’s nearly impossible to avoid the topic of oxalates when discussing peanuts and kidney disease. While peanuts do have a higher oxalate content compared to other nuts, this doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your diet entirely. 

Peanuts have 148 mg of oxalate per 100g of roasted peanuts. At first look, this might make you question if peanuts are bad for kidneys. However, when you break it down into a typical serving size of about 1 oz, it’s 52mg of oxalate per serving. Meanwhile, peanut butter has only 65 mg of oxalate per 100g. A typical serving size of two tablespoons (32g) ends up containing about 21 mg of oxalate per serving. Below is a simplified version to help you remember:

1 serving of peanuts or peanut butter = ~60 mg of oxalate

Consuming high amounts of oxalate can be a contributing factor to kidney stones, but there are many other types of kidney stones unrelated to your oxalate intake. Therefore, you should only be watching your oxalate intake if your health provider has told you so. 

Peanuts Potassium Content

Potassium restrictions for those in later stages of CKD (3-5) can range anywhere from 2,000-4,000 mg per day. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions about whether or not you should be restricting your potassium intake and by how much. 

Peanuts have 705 mg of potassium per 100g. This equals 197 mg per 1 oz serving. For peanut butter, it’s slightly less at 654 mg per 100g or 209 mg per two tablespoons. Below is a simplified version to help you remember:

1 serving of peanut or peanut butter = ~200 mg of potassium

The bottom line is, you don’t need to panic over peanuts- even on potassium restriction! Even if you are on the lower end of limitations at 2,000 mg total per day, even two servings of peanuts or peanut butter would still only contribute to 20% of your total daily limit! 

Peanuts Phosphorus Content

Phosphorus restriction is another diet factor commonly restricted in those with kidney disease. Typical CKD diet limitations on phosphorus range from 800-1,000 mg per day. 

Peanuts have 376 mg of phosphorus per 100g or 105 mg per 1 oz serving. Peanut butter has 393 mg of phosphorus per 100g or 149 mg per two tablespoons. See the simplified version below:

1 serving of peanuts of peanut butter = ~385 mg phosphorus

If you are on a strict phosphorus restriction, it doesn’t mean that peanuts are something that you don’t necessarily have to eliminate or are bad for your kidneys, but watch closely. Just one serving contributes to 48% of your daily limit. 

Eating Peanuts on a CKD Diet

Even if you are on an oxalate-restricted, potassium-restricted, and phosphorus restricted diet, it doesn’t mean peanuts are bad for your kidneys. As long as you monitor what other foods you are consuming so as to not go over your limit. 

Additionally, you can try things such as mixing peanut butter with dairy-free yogurt to create a flavorful fruit dip or spread while stretching the peanut flavor and lowering overall oxalate content at the same time. A savory peanut sauce in a stir-fry uses only one serving of peanut butter in an entire recipe, but is spread out over 10 servings! Peanuts aren’t bad for kidneys as long as you keep track of your intake and limits set by your healthcare provider.

Peanuts and Diabetes

According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 3 adults with diabetes also has CKD. So, how can you fit peanuts and peanut butter into a combined renal diet and diabetes diet? 

Typically diet restrictions concerning the kidneys revolve around the micronutrients of a food- the vitamins & minerals. Comparatively, diabetes diet guidelines are focused on the macronutrients- protein, carbohydrates & sugar, and fat. 

Therefore, for your kidneys sake, make yourself aware of the oxalate, potassium, and sodium content and keep those numbers roughly in your head as some of these items are not always listed on nutrition labels. Secondly, for your blood sugar’s sake, make yourself aware of the macronutrient contents of the product including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar. 

Peanut butter alone is a fairly macronutrient-balanced item for those with diabetes as it is, with plenty of protein, fat, little carbs, and a decent amount of fiber for its serving size. As per usual, it’s all about moderation!

Peanuts in Asian Cuisine

Peanuts are an affordable and widely-loved food both alone and incorporated into dishes. Lots of traditional Asian cuisine incorporates peanuts into its recipes. Below are a few examples: 

Kung Pao Chicken

Key Ingredients: Chicken, roasted unsalted peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers

Pad Thai

Key Ingredients: Shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, lime, peanut sauce and crushed roasted peanuts

Shanghai Hot Sauce Noodles

Key Ingredients: Pork, tofu, raw shelled peanuts, onions, carrots, and chili bean paste

Peanut Butter Chicken

Key Ingredients: Chicken, creamy peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and garlic

Chinese Wok Roasted Peanuts

Key Ingredients: Raw peanuts with skin, salt, seasonings, and oil

Recipe Spotlight: Low Sodium Peanut Sauce

After learning that peanuts aren’t so bad for kidneys, how about trying a new recipe? Peanut sauce recipes can vary, but typically includes a mixture of peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and brown sugar. Many of these items alone can put you over the limit for your recommended sodium intake for a day! 

Need an asian peanut sauce recipe that can work with your renal or diabetes diet? Try this:

peanut sauce topped with crushed peanuts on a blue background

Low Sodium Peanut Sauce

Edith Yang
A flavorful and versatile sauce you can use with rice, noodles, in a stir-fry, or as a dipping sauce. This recipe works as a kidney, diabetes, and heart-friendly option!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 83 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until well combined. Serve with rice noodles, in stir-fry, or as a dip for fresh bell pepper, snap peas, and cucumber!

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 343mgPotassium: 94mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 90IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Meet Edith

Registered Dietitian with over 10 years of experience sharing nutrition knowledge that you can use to enjoy food again

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