Peanut butter does not tend to cause constipation, and the fiber it contains may actually help someone poop. However, the type of peanut butter and other factors may impact a person’s bowel movements.

Constipation is common among all ages and populations in the United States, affecting around 16% of adults and 33% of those ages 60 years or older.

People with constipation may have fewer bowel movements that are difficult to pass. They may also feel that they have not emptied their bowels fully after a bowel movement. Causes of constipation include dietary and lifestyle factors, medical conditions, and certain drugs and supplements.

This article explores possible links between peanut butter and constipation, possible adverse effects, and benefits. It looks at alternatives and others foods high in fiber. Additionally, it answers some frequently asked questions.

Peanut butter is a source of fiber, with a 32-gram (g) serving providing around 10% of the daily recommended amount of fiber for someone eating 2,000 calories a day. However, this may depend on the brand of peanut butter.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) advises that not eating enough fiber may cause constipation, so including peanut butter as a source of fiber in the diet may benefit people.

However, the NIDDKD notes that people should drink plenty of water and other liquids if they eat more fiber, and some people may wish to take a fiber supplement to relieve constipation. Staying hydrated helps to soften stools and make them easier to pass.

Additionally, it may help to check the brand of peanut butter and what it contains. Research indicates that people who eat more sugar, salt, and fat have an increased incidence of constipation. This suggests people should choose brands of peanut butter that contain peanuts without other added ingredients.

Adverse effects

Some people may have a peanut allergy, which can cause severe symptoms such as anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • wheezing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • a fast heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • anxiety or confusion
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • blue or white lips
  • fainting or loss of consciousness

If someone has these symptoms:

  1. Check whether they are carrying an epinephrine pen. If they are, follow the instructions on the side of the pen to use it.
  2. Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
  3. Lay the person down from a standing position. If they have vomited, turn them onto their side.
  4. Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.

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Digestive symptoms may also result from a peanut allergy. However, these are more likely to include stomach cramps and diarrhea than constipation.

If someone suspects they have a peanut intolerance or allergy, they must consult a medical practitioner who can test for and diagnose a peanut allergy.

Nuts may provide beneficial health effects and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. As well as containing fiber, nuts are rich in the following:

People may wish to include different nuts as part of a fiber-rich, nutritious diet. They can eat nuts raw, dry roast them in the oven, or use a blender to create nut butter. Additionally, people can purchase various types of nut butter in supermarkets, though they should try to avoid ones with added sugar, salt, or oil.

Types of nuts a person may wish to add to their diet include:

People can aim to include plenty of fiber in their diet to help prevent and relieve constipation.

The NIDDKD advises people to add fiber to their diet a little at a time to help their body get used to the change. Fiber-rich foods include:

The following answers some frequently asked questions about peanut butter and constipation.

Is peanut butter hard on the stomach?

People with a mild peanut allergy may develop digestive symptoms such as cramps or diarrhea when they eat peanut butter.

A peanut allergy can also cause a more severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis. People with a peanut allergy must avoid peanuts and products containing peanuts.

What foods make people constipated?

Experts advise eating a lot of the following foods can cause someone to become constipated:

What are the side effects of eating too much peanut butter?

Peanut butter contains around 16 g of fat in a 32 g serving, which equates to 20% of a person’s recommended daily fat intake. Some brands may also have added salt and sugar.

This means eating excessive amounts of peanut butter may have associated risks for people living with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Peanut butter contains fiber, which may help people avoid constipation. However, people should try to choose brands that do not contain added salt, sugar, or fat.

Including certain foods in the diet can help to keep bowel movements regular. These include vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Additionally, people should try to stay hydrated, as this helps ensure their stools are soft enough to pass.

If a person experiences any symptoms of a reaction after touching or consuming peanut butter, they should seek medical help immediately. A doctor can test to determine whether a person has a peanut allergy.