Does peanut butter cause constipation? Maybe.
Generally speaking, peanut butter consumed in moderation is not a cause of constipation. However, if you eat an excessive amount of peanut butter (especially without drinking an adequate amount of water or other beverages too), it is possible that it can clog up “the works.” Moreover, if you have an intolerance to nuts (and thus, nut butters made from them), then you may be experiencing constipation due to the intolerance.
Peanut butter is actually a helpful food for fighting constipation, at least in most cases. Peanut butter contains 2.6 grams of fiber in each 2-tablespoon serving. According to the Institute of Medicine, this is 10 percent of the daily value of fiber for women and 7 percent of the daily value of fiber for men.
A Cause and a Cure?
Fiber softens and loosens the stool, making it easier for you to pass a bowel movement. Still, if you consume peanut butter and/or other fiber-rich foods and don’t drink enough water or other liquids to stay hydrated, then you may find yourself constipated. This is because fiber is not digestible, so without water, it can bulk up in your intestinal tract, causing a host of problems. In this way, fiber can be both a cause and a cure.
If you’re eating peanut butter or other foods with fiber without drinking sufficient fluids, then you can also worsen any existing constipation or even possibly cause a bowel obstruction, which is a serious condition that requires immediate medical care.
Food sensitivities and intolerances can result in constipation from peanut butter. This is due to the presence of amines and salicylates found in peanut butter—natural food chemicals that many people are sensitive to. Eating peanut butter in large amounts or every day can lead to constipation due to these chemicals.
Eliminating Peanut Butter
If you suspect that peanut butter may be the cause of your constipation, you can rule out or confirm your suspicion by eliminating it from your diet. If your constipation improves, then it is likely that peanut butter may have been at least partially responsible for your constipated state.
Keeping a Food Diary
One way to determine if your consumption of peanut butter is the driving force behind your constipation is to keep a food diary. Write down what you eat and when you eat it, and then compare your level of constipation to your diary. It is often possible to pinpoint foods that are causing you to develop symptoms of constipation by analyzing your food diary.
When To See Your Doctor
Constipation is common and everyone experiences it from time to time. However, if you experience constipation that lasts for two weeks or longer, you need to see a doctor. See your doctor right away if you’re constipated and notice blood in your stool, are losing weight, or have severe pain when passing or trying to pass stool.