Peanut Butter for Bodybuilding: How It Benefits Bodybuilders

Peanut butter for bodybuilding

Consuming peanut butter for bodybuilding is the most convenient and delicious way to increase calorie intake. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, men who have an active lifestyle need 2,400 to 3,000 calories to maintain their weight, while women need 2,000 to 2,400 calories. To gain weight, you needs to have 200 to 300 calories more than the recommended level.

Bodybuilders need high amounts of protein to recover the muscles after workouts. There are many sources of protein such as lean meat, eggs, fish, milk, soy, yogurt, beans, and many others. Peanut butter is another delicious source of protein that provides 188 calories and eight grams of protein in a serving serving of 32 grams. It is one of the most convenient, nourishing, and delicious ways of increasing calorie intake. Rather than consuming fried and fast food on cheat days, bodybuilders can opt for this healthy and tasty treat. Let’s see how peanut butter helps in bodybuilding.

Peanut Butter for Bodybuilding

Bodybuilders need to have a high-calorie diet that consists of a high amount of protein. To build muscle, they need to take in more calories than they burn through proteins and good fats.

Peanut butter benefits are numerous when consumed with other protein-rich sources, providing the required daily intake of proteins for bodybuilders. It also has healthy unsaturated fats which help meet a bodybuilder’s nutritional requirements.

Peanut butter when consumed in moderation has ample health benefits. A small quantity of peanut butter, around one to two tablespoons, provides a good amount of protein. Peanut butter is a good source of protein for vegetarians, other than beans, dairy, legumes, and soy. It also includes carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber and sugar.

Peanut Butter Has Sodium

Peanut butter has 147 milligrams of a crucial electrolyte called sodium. Sodium helps maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. A low-sodium intake in bodybuilders can cause muscle cramps, and in extreme cases, it can cause a dangerous sodium deficiency called hyponatremia.

However, excess amounts of sodium are just as bad, and you should read the nutritional information on the jar carefully before buying peanut butter. The good thing about peanut butter is that it also has a good amount of potassium, which counterbalances the excess sodium.

Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Peanut butter also has other essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and manganese.

It has good amounts of vitamins E and B6, as well as folate and niacin. All these nutrients are the essential elements required in a bodybuilder’s diet.

Peanut Butter Is Satiating

Consuming the same protein sources everyday may become boring at times, and peanut butter is a good way to change things up.

It can be directly consumed from the jar or on a slice of toast, or it can be added to a bowl of oats, smoothies, or shakes.

You can even have it with apples and bananas which will further balance your diet. Eating peanut butter is a good way to satisfy your sweet cravings, which will give you more healthy calories and nutrition compared to nutrient-deficient sweets.

Affordable Source of Calories

Peanut butter is good for bodybuilding considering its affordability. Bodybuilders need more than 3,000 calories daily.

According to, peanut butter is a good and cost-effective source of protein compared to other sources such as lean meats, fish, supplements, and protein bars.

Convenient Source of Calories

For meeting the 3,000-calorie goal, bodybuilders can either drink their calories through protein shakes and other healthy smoothies, or opt for peanut butter.

It is one of the quickest and easiest methods to increase the calorie and protein intake, especially after a workout. It is also an effective way to boost energy. Peanut butter has fiber which gives a feeling of fullness and prevents constipation.

Protein in Peanut Butter

Protein can be classified as complete or incomplete proteins. To stay healthy, our body needs 21 amino acids. Complete proteins are proteins which include nine amino acids.

The body cannot produce all nine amino acids, so it must be obtained through various food sources such as nuts, eggs, lean meat, dairy and soy, among others.

Although peanut butter is an excellent and delicious source of protein, it isn’t a complete source.

It lacks sufficient amounts of L-methionine, but has good amounts of lysine, proline, arginine, and other amino acids. Generally, all plant-based foods are incomplete sources of protein.

To make peanut butter a compete source of protein, you can pair it with another source of protein, like spreading it on multi-grain bread. Most whole grains have a good amount of L-methionine and lack sufficient amounts of lysine, so peanut butter and whole grain bread complement each other well.

Peanut butter provides 16% of the recommended daily intake of protein. Nearly 25% of peanut butter is protein, 20% is carbs, and the other 50% is fats. Peanut butter contains less protein and more fats per serving, so it should be consumed in moderation.

How Much Peanut Butter to Eat for Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilders need a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They need to eat nutrient-dense foods such as peanut butter, which has a good amount of protein, fat, and antioxidants.

Proteins help speed up muscle recovery, and taking in enough protein along with carbs, prevent the body from using its own muscle tissue for energy.

The peanut butter intake for proteins depends on many factors, including the intensity of the workout, age, gender, and overall diet.

The recommended protein intake for bodybuilders is one gram per pound of body weight. However, Dr. Michael Colgan, author of Optimum Sports Nutrition, stated that the RDA doesn’t meet the protein requirements of people who want to build muscles.

Susan M. Kleiner, PhD in nutrition and human performance, recommends taking 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. After researching the recommended protein intake, Dr. Peter Lemon came to the conclusion that a person engaged in strength training should consume 1.7 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day.

Peanut butter is calorie-dense, and so it should not be used as the prime protein source. It is also not possible to totally rely on peanut butter for protein. For example, a person weighing 70 kilograms should consume approximately 140 grams of protein (70 X 2). In this case, a huge amount of peanut butter (more than 30 tablespoons) will be required, which is unrealistic.

The amount of peanut butter for bodybuilding will vary according to the protein coming from other sources, such as eggs, chicken, fish, milk, beans and legumes, or protein powder. The approximate intake of peanut butter for bodybuilders, counting the other sources of proteins, should be two tablespoons. To boost the benefits of peanut butter’s protein, you can spread it on a slice of toast, or have it with a glass of milk.

Fat in Peanut Butter

Peanut butter contains healthy unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The total fat content in two tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter is 16 grams, which includes 80% of healthy unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats in peanut butter help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like E and K  in the body. According to Harvard Health Publications, unsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol. Peanut butter has 25 milligrams of omega-3 and 4,506 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

Related: Study Says Peanut Butter May Help Reduce Obesity

The content of saturated fats is three grams for 32-gram serving. The total fat content provides 25% of the recommended daily intake of fats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting the fat intake to 20 to 35% of the total calorie intake. The saturated fat intake should be less than 10% of the daily calorie intake. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the American Heart Association recommends taking not more than 13 grams of saturated fats per day.

Most of the processed peanut butters use hydrogenated vegetable oils to have a good consistency. These hydrogenated oils are damaged fats which are harmful to the body. Therefore, it is recommended to choose natural varieties of peanut butter without hydrogenated oils. Peanut butter is free of cholesterol. In fact, it contains phytosterols which are known to control the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. These are plant compounds that structurally resemble cholesterol.

In conclusion, whether you are a bodybuilder or not, you can enjoy peanut butter as an alternate source of protein when combined with other protein-rich foods. As with everything else, moderation is key. Also, make sure you buy trusted brands and not ones which are laden with excess salts, hydrogenated oils, and sugars. So, peanut butter for bodybuilding is a good alternate source of protein and healthy fats.



“What Are the Benefits of Peanut Butter for Bodybuilders?” SF Gate;, last accessed March 27, 2017.


Quílez, J. et al., “Potential uses and benefits of phytosterols in diet: present situation and future directions,” Clinical Nutrition Journal, August 2003; 22 (4): 343-351. doi:, last accessed March 28, 2017