Peanut butter is almost always vegan. In my experience, you would have a difficult time trying to find a peanut butter that isn’t vegan, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. Vegans do not eat any products that contain animal derivatives. For example, milk chocolate is not vegan because it contains milk from a cow. Peanut butter, traditionally speaking, is just ground up peanuts and salt. Sometimes sugar is added, as well. There are two basic types of peanut butter that exist in grocery stores today – besides creamy and crunchy – they are: natural peanut butter and regular peanut butter.
Natural Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter, as the name implies, only contains natural ingredients. Most natural peanut butters are simply peanuts and salt ground into a paste. Sometimes oils are added to natural peanut butter, such as palm oil or peanut oil, and natural sweeteners may also be added, such as molasses. One of the only times you have to watch out for non-vegan peanut butter is when you’re shopping for natural peanut butter in a health food store or the health food isle of an ordinary grocery store. This is where I have found the occasional brand of natural peanut butter that contains egg whites.
Regular Peanut Butter
The difference between natural peanut butter and regular peanut butter is that regular peanut butter contains sugar, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to enhance the smoothness. Many people these days are choosing natural over regular peanut butter to avoid the extra calories from sugar, as well as the harmful trans fats in the partially hydrogenated oils.
Some people who consider themselves vegans do not have a problem with eating honey, but most vegans do not eat honey. Both natural and regular peanut butters may contain honey. Peanut butters that contain honey usually say so right on the front of the label, but you should still check the ingredients label just to be certain.
As Part of a Vegan Diet
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, vitamin E, and healthy fats for vegans. If you are a vegan or planning to become one, you should definitely make it a staple in your diet. I eat it daily to add extra protein to my diet. I also just love eating it, either on toast or by the spoonful.