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Nuts make wonderful snacks, and also a great addition to lots of our everyday meals like smoothies, cakes, bread and more. They are also a good source of certain nutrients.
Although you can enjoy nuts on a keto diet, it’s still not as simple as that.
There are certain types of nuts that can be enjoyed and certain types that should be best avoided. Plus, there are a couple of things you should know before choosing or adding any nuts to your meals, even on a keto diet.
This comprehensive guide will show you the role of nuts on keto, important things you need to know as well as the best nuts to enjoy and still lose weight and burn fat efficiently.
The role of nuts on keto
Nuts are a type of fruit which have an edible kernel or interior enclosed in a hard and inedible exterior or shell. They are a good source of lots of important nutrients needed by our body.
As said earlier, a lot of them taste good, which gives them a spot in a lot of diets today and a lot of our meals as well. But not all nuts are created equal. There’s a “what” and “how” that comes into play when dealing with nuts on keto.
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet. It requires you to keep your carb intake low, to enable your body enter the state of ketosis, where you freely burn fat for energy.
And since you need to consume below a certain number of carbs daily to maintain ketosis, you can’t just consume anything. For most people, it could be 25g or 30g of net carbs per day.
If you’re not sure how many carbs you should consume daily to achieve and maintain ketosis, check out our guide on your daily keto carbs limit.
Certain nuts are low in carbs, and are considered ok on a keto diet, and can be eaten more freely. Some are also higher in carbs and should be eaten more carefully, or even possibly avoided.
Plus, how you actually eat these nuts matters as well. Like I said, there’s a “what” and “how” question that comes into play. First let’s discuss the “what” and then discuss the “how”
So then, what nuts can you eat on a ketogenic diet?
Best low carb nuts to enjoy on a keto diet
Here are 8 of the best keto-friendly nuts you can enjoy.
1) Brazil Nuts
Native to south American countries like brazil and Peru, brazil nuts are nutrient rich, tasty and are relatively low in carbs, making them ok for a keto diet. One ounce(1 oz.) of Brazil nuts contain 4.1g of protein, 19g of fat and 1.2g of net carbs.
Brazil nuts are rich in important nutrients like copper, magnesium and phosphorus. But one particular nutrient it has in abundance is selenium.
Selenium is important for the normal and healthy functioning of the body and it also helps to boost the immune system, among many other things. Here are some health benefits associated with Brazil nuts.
- Due to their selenium content, brazil nuts can help regulate thyroid problems
- They are rich in antioxidants which help protect your body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
- Since they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they can help to improve heart health.
Brazil nuts can be enjoyed raw or even roasted. Certain medical sources advise against eating too much of them due to their high selenium content. Eating too many Brazil nuts may lead to something known as selenium toxicity.
On a keto diet, it would be hard to overeat them due the daily carb limit you need to maintain ketosis. Overall, Brazil nuts are a good option for a low carb or keto diet.
Pecan nuts are a worldwide favourite grown mainly in New Mexico, Georgia and Texas. Due to their nice taste and nutrient profile, you’ll find them in quite a variety of foods ranging from pecan pies to nut bars. Even when raw, they make amazing snacks.
A serving of pecans(1 oz.) contains 20g fat, 3g protein and about 1.5g net carbs. Pecan nuts are also rich in vitamins and other important nutrients as well. They are also a source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
You can definitely enjoy pecan nuts on a keto diet. Here are some health benefits associated with eating them.
- Pecans have been shown to help reduce insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity
- They can help improve cholesterol profile
- They contain certain compounds called polyphenols, which can act as antioxidants and help reduce inflammation
- Also, they may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
3) Macadamia nuts
Like most low carb nuts, macadamia nuts have their place in our diets from snacks to parts of our desserts and main courses. Although they can be eaten raw or roasted, they offer more health benefits in their raw form.
Macadamia nuts are rich in good nutrients and minerals as well. A serving(1 oz.) of these contains 21g of fat, 2g of protein and 1.5g net carbs. They aren’t just high in healthy monounsaturated fats which help improve cholesterol levels.
Here are some benefits of macadamia nuts
- They can help lower the risk of heart disease
- They contain soluble fiber which can help to improve digestion and gut health
- Macadamia nuts are loaded with antioxidants which help fight inflammation
- Due to their abundance of monounsaturated fatty acids, they can help improve cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are enjoyed all over the world. Although there are a few different species of walnuts, the English walnut seems to be the most common and the most consumed worldwide.
Looking similar to pecans, walnuts are high in fats as well and low in carbs and have a good amount of protein as well, making them perfect for a keto diet. One serving, equivalent to 1 oz. gives 18g of fat, 4.3g of protein and 2g net carbs.
They are rich in vitamins, minerals, omega 3s, antioxidants and other plant nutrients that promote a good and healthy body. Plus, they make perfect snacks. Here are some health benefits associated with eating walnuts.
- They can help to lower blood pressure
- Walnuts are very rich in antioxidants which help fight inflammation and oxidative stress
- They may help reduce the risk of certain cancers
- They promote brain health and help improve brain function
And due to their versatility when it comes to adding them to your diet, there are only so many ways to enjoy them.
Gotten from the hazel(corylus) tree, hazelnuts are a staple in many homes today in one form or the other. They make perfect snacks and can be enjoyed raw, roasted or crushed.
Due to their flavour, they can be combined with chocolate to make regular and even low carb Nutella. One serving(1 oz.) of hazelnuts contain 17g of fat, 4.2g of protein and 2g of net carbs.
They also serve as a good source of vitamin E, alongside other nutrients and also antioxidants. Roasting can reduce the amount of level of in them, so raw is healthier.
Here are some benefits associated with hazelnuts.
- They help reduce blood sugar levels
- They support good cardiovascular health
- Hazelnuts can also help improve cholesterol levels
Peanuts, A.K.A groundnut or monkey nuts, are one of the most popular nuts in the world today. Although technically they could be classified as a legume, they are regarded as nuts by most people.
Their flavour gives them a way into lots of snacks and desserts across many diets. Due to their low carb, high fat and impressive protein content, they are quite ok for a low carb keto diet. They are also rich in nutrients and minerals as well.
A serving(1 oz.) of peanuts contains 14g of fat, 7g of protein and 2.2g net carbs. They are usually enjoyed roasted or in the form of peanut butter. Here are some health benefits of peanuts.
- They help protect against heart disease
- Peanuts support health and can help maintain a healthy weight
- They are rich in monounsaturated fats which help improve cholesterol levels
Due to these, peanuts can definitely be enjoyed on a ketogenic diet.
Almonds are one of the darlings of the ketogenic diet. They are the source of many popular low carb ingredients such as almond butter and almond flour which is used for baking.
Almonds have a very good nutritional profile. A serving(1 oz.) of almonds contains 14 of fat, 6g of protein and 2.6g net carbs. Here are some health benefits of eating almonds.
- They are rich in antioxidants which help fight inflammation
- Due to their high vitamin E content, they help improve cholesterol levels
- The magnesium is almonds can help lower blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels
Almonds definitely have their place among the best nuts on keto.
8) Pine nuts
Pine nuts are the edible seeds gotten from the pine tree and are grown all over the world. Due to their low carb content and high fat content, you can definitely enjoy pine nuts on a keto diet.
A serving (1 oz.) contains 19g of fat, 3.8g protein and 2.7g net carbs. They have a good buttery flavour which makes them popular as snacks or parts of our desserts and certain meals.
They are good sources of vitamins E, K and more as well as other important minerals that support a healthy body. Here are some health benefits associated with pine nuts.
- They are rich in minerals that support bone health
- Pine nuts are rich in vitamin E, which can help reduce inflammation
- They can help reduce the risk of heart disease
Seeds on a keto diet
Similar to nuts, certain seeds can also be enjoyed on a keto diet as well. They are high in fat, low in carbs and are loaded with lots of good and healthy nutrients for the body. Here are a couple of seeds that can be enjoyed on keto.
- Chia seeds – tiny, but highly nutritious, chia seeds are used in a variety of foods and drinks. They are a good source of fiber, containing 10g of fiber per ounce and only 2g net carbs per serving.
- Flax seeds – similar to chia seeds, these also have a high fiber content with 8g of fiber per ounce and less than 1g net carbs per serving. They are used in quite a lot of foods and have lots of health benefits as well.
- Hemp seeds – rich in healthy fats and plant-based protein, hemp seeds give loads of nutrition at only 1.4g net carbs per serving. They also help reduce blood sugar and may also help protect against some neurodegenerative diseases.
- Sesame seeds – high in fat and low in carbs, they a staple in lots of low carb recipes. They make perfect toppings for some pastries and breads as well. One ounce contains only 3g net carbs.
Here is a table that makes simplifies the carb and calorie count of the different nuts on the keto diet. The serving size used here is 1 ounce (28g)
|Low Carb Nut or seed||Calories||Fat||Protein||Net carbs|
All nutritional data from Nutritionvalue.org
Important things to note when eating nuts on keto
Like I said earlier on, there’s a “what” and “how” factor that comes into play when choosing nuts on keto. The type of nuts we eat and how we eat them actually matters. Since we’ve covered the “what” nuts to eat, let’s cover the how.
Here are some things to note that will guide you on how you eat your low carb nuts, so as to ensure you enjoy them without compromising or negatively affecting your diet.
Nuts are easy to binge on
It’s nice to have a healthy snack now and then and nuts make one of the best snacks on the keto diet. However, they are pretty easy to binge on, especially when they are salted.
It’s important to remember that nuts are high in fats and calories as well. If you are sitting beside a whole large bowl of them while watching Netflix, odds are you’d find the bowl empty before you even notice.
Eating too much nuts can quickly cause the carbs to add up and that could affect your ketone levels. Apart from that, if you’re trying to lose weight on a keto diet, you need to be able to burn your body’s own fat stores.
Eating too many nuts and seeds will provide your body with more than enough fats to burn for energy, reducing the need for your body to burn its own fat stores and this can lead to a weight loss plateau.
A good way to prevent this is by measuring out certain amounts of what you intend to snack on rather than keeping the entire pack near you. Also, self-control comes into play as well here.
This is pretty simple. Some people find that they’re allergic to nuts. In that case, it’s best to avoid them. Nuts can provide important nutrients to your body and flavour to your meals.
But if you’re allergic or sensitive to them, forcing yourself to eat them will only do you more harm than good. In such cases, opt in for nut-free keto foods or nut-free versions of the low carb foods that do contain nuts.
Summing it all up
Nuts definitely have their place on a low carb or keto diet. They are loaded with nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to our overall health and help the body function properly.
They all contain different amount of carbs and calories. The lower carb nuts as listed above are the best because you can enjoy them and still remain in ketosis. Certain seeds are also great on keto as well.
Nuts and seeds make great keto snacks, although it’s important not to overdo it as it could lead to a weight loss stall when they are consumed in excessively large quantities.
Also, if you are allergic or sensitive to certain nuts and seeds, then its best to avoid them and opt in for nut free options. All in all, you can definitely enjoy nutritious and energy packed nuts and seeds on a low carb or keto diet.
Keto Meal Plans That Make Fat Burning Easier
- Best nuts and seeds to have on a keto diet – Healthline
- Effects of pistachio nuts on triglyceride and body weight – NCBI
- Effects of nut-enriched diets on lipids and cardiovascular health markers – NCBI
- Health benefits of eating nuts and seeds – Livestrong
- Nuts and diabetes – Diabetes.co.uk
- Nut Consumption and Risk of Hypertension