Is Peanut Butter Gluten-Free?

In my house, one of our staple foods has always been peanut butter. It comes in handy for topping bread and apples, filling us up and conveniently giving us the protein that we need during the day. We never had a trouble with allergies when we ate peanut butter, though we mostly bought the all-natural peanut butter and kind of steered away from types like Jif and Skippy. Of course, you have to remember that we are not highly gluten-sensitive, so if something was not officially labeled gluten-free, chances were good that we would feel fine after eating it. But, is peanut butter truly gluten-free? If not, what is your alternative?

Most brands of peanut butter are intrinsically gluten-free, although they will usually not note that fact directly on the label. Jif peanut butter, for instance, is gluten-free since it does not contain any gluten-related ingredients according to their label. However, if you are highly gluten-sensitive, there is the obvious risk of gluten cross-contamination with Jif peanut butter. Still, there have been very few reports of anyone being “glutened” after eating this particular brand. So, it’s very likely that you will be perfectly safe eating Jif peanut butter.

Other popular brands of peanut butter, such as Skippy, Smuckers and Peter Pan, are almost always naturally gluten-free. So, as long as you are not super sensitive to gluten cross-contamination (since most of the brands are not processed in a gluten-free facility), you should still be able to enjoy these well-known types of peanut butter. Just make sure to always read the ingredients on the label before buying it.

Here are a few tips to remember when you are shopping for peanut butter in the grocery store:
Avoid Low Fat or Fat Free types of peanut butter because they contain HVP’s (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Proteins), which are known for setting off gluten-related allergies.
Be cautious when you are looking for chocolate peanut butter. It is more likely that gluten is added to the mix as a thickener. A good alternative to buying chocolate peanut butter is mixing cocoa powder into your regular peanut butter; you can also mix it with cinnamon or unsweetened applesauce for a special, sweet topping!
If you are very highly sensitive to gluten, you will always be safer buying all-natural peanut butter. All-natural peanut butter contains only, peanuts and salt. It does not have sugars, fillers, hydrogenation or gluten of any kind. Even Jif sells natural peanut butter now, though I suspect that theirs contains sugar in addition to the peanuts and salt.

All of you peanut butter eaters out there can relax! This is not one of those food products that requires a certified gluten-free replacement if you develop gluten sensitivity. You shouldn’t have to change your peanut butter routine much at all, provided that you are not allergic to nuts, of course! Otherwise, you can still relish the taste of Jif or Skippy peanut butter on your toast or apples in the morning.

Image courtesy dendroica

Tricia Fecteau

I have tried to share what I have learned years in my book called "Gluten-Free with Love" available on Amazon and on my website. I want to help you in your journey to good health.