In this article I will be taking a look at one of the most popular nibble foods around and asking the big question, are peanuts paleo?

Peanuts are used in the making of a huge variety of different meals, sauces, ingredients and so much more. Those who suffer from an allergy to peanuts will know how hard it can be to avoid food that contains or have been cross-contaminated with peanuts.

The quick answer to the question, are peanuts paleo? is simply no they are not paleo friendly, and this comes down to a few reasons that I will go into further in this article.

So Why Are Peanuts not Paleo Friendly?

There are a few key reasons that knock Peanuts off of the ok to eat list. I will start with one of the most noteworthy reasons, as it refers to a whole section of ingredients that are prohibited on the Paleo diet.

Are Peanuts Paleo?

Peanuts despite their name containing the word “nut”, are in fact not actually part of the “nut” family.  They differ from nuts such as walnuts and almonds that grow in trees, both of which are sometimes referred to as “tree nuts”. These types of nuts are easily gathered, and thus they’re paleo friendly.

Peanuts in fact, actually belong to the Legumes family. The Legumes family for those who don’t know is where ingredients such as peas, beans, and lentils are from. The legume family of foods tends not to be allowed on the paleo diet, while they’re not as bad as grains they do have quite a few downsides to them.

Why is the legume family so bad peanuts aren’t allowed?

As I mentioned earlier, the legume family isn’t as bad as other food groups such as grains. There are a few reasons why they have been excluded.

Low Nutritional Value

Legumes nutritional value that is often touted relies on the legume to be in its natural, raw state. Cooking the legumes causes it to lose the vast majority of its nutritional value. Considering that’s a core way many people end up eating things such as peanuts, it means their nutritional value is fairly diminished.

Peanuts also suffer from many other problems. While legumes are high in iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, they tend not to be absorbed by the body due to something that is found in all legumes, and that is phytates.

Phytates are classified as an anti-nutrient. This classification means it stops the body from absorbing the vast majority of the nutritional content in peanuts. Meaning that all your body is getting from peanuts is just empty carbohydrates.

High Lectin Content

Another thing that you need to know about peanuts and legumes is that they have a high lectin content. What is lectin you may ask? Simply put lectin are proteins that are found in almost every type of food known to mankind. While not all lectins are troublesome, the ones that are found in legumes and peanuts are notoriously bad for you.

Peanuts Still In The Shell

These lectins can cause damage to the intestinal wall, which can result in problems such as a leaky gut. It can also be linked with a variety of autoimmune and digestive issues.

While there are ways to reduce this lectin content, it is a laborious process, and you are much better off following the stricter paleo diet and cutting legumes and peanuts out altogether.


Peanuts also have yet another issue with them, and this is called aflatoxins. It’s important to know that aflatoxins aren’t part of the peanuts themselves but instead are created by a certain type of mold that loves to grow on peanuts. It’s an extremely hard thing to get rid of, with the FDA declaring it as an “unavoidable contaminant”.

Aflatoxins can lead to some serious health problems such as cancer and hepatitis B, and this is an even bigger problem for countries that rely on peanuts being one of their staples in their diets.

So Peanuts aren’t paleo?

So in conclusion to the question, are peanuts paleo? The answer is no; peanuts are not paleo and should be left off of your shopping list if you’re shopping for the paleo diet. This exclusion from the shopping list is due to a variety of big issues with peanuts. It suffers from a very low nutritional value because of the presence of phytic acid that reduces the body’s intake of the good nutrients that can be found in peanuts.

Peanuts also suffer from a high lectin content, in which can cause an assortment of different problems with a person’s body. Lastly, there is also the aflatoxins, which is one of the most significant pressing issues with peanuts. It can be very dangerous and something you need to look out for if you do choose to eat peanuts as it can cause some very serious issues.

Peanuts in a bowl

There is also another point worth noting, legumes and peanuts were never a part of our paleo ancestor’s diets. The means to cultivate them and make use of peanuts and legumes did not come untill many years after.

I hope that this article has helped you learn everything you need to know about peanuts and has also answered the question on are peanuts paleo friendly. If you have anything to add or noticed a mistake or I got something wrong, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.