The Best Nuts for Keto
Nuts are a natural whole food and can be an excellent addition to your Healthy Keto® diet. But which nuts are best for keto? There are many types of nuts that fit keto's low-carb, high-fat requirements, but others don't.
Understanding which nuts to choose and which to avoid lets you make confident keto choices. Let's take a look at the best nuts for keto.
Six reasons to eat nuts on the keto diet
If you don't include nuts in your keto regime, you miss out on many health-promoting benefits. Nuts are nutrient-dense and rich in healthy fat and fiber. They support heart health and cognition, aid memory, and help your body fight infections and inflammation.
Here are some reasons why nuts are a great choice for keto.
1. High in healthy fats
To maintain ketosis, you must choose high-fat, low-carb foods. Keto-friendly nuts provide high-quality fats your body needs to produce energy and hormones and support the digestion of fat-soluble vitamins. Nuts are excellent ketosis-approved sources of fat.
2. Low in carbs
To maintain ketosis, consume no more than 50 grams of net carbs daily. Choosing the right kind of nuts helps to keep your total carbs low while fueling your body with good fats and nutrients.
3. High satiety
The high-fat and high-fiber content of nuts slow down your digestion, making you feel fuller for longer. Eating nuts increases satiety, meaning you can go longer between meals—a great tool to help you lose weight.
4. Rich in nutrients
Tree nuts have an excellent nutrient profile. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols, a natural substance that supports healthy cholesterol levels and heart health. Research confirms that regular nut consumption helps lower heart disease risk and reduce blood pressure.
5. Great taste
Many kinds of nuts and nut butters are delicious and healthy. Try these Keto Almond Butter Pine Bombs to convince any skeptic that a keto diet is anything but boring.
Nuts are very versatile and an easy ingredient to work with. Storage and preparation of nuts require minimal effort. Some nuts can be mixed with water, pureed, and strained. Almond milk is a great example and a keto-friendly non-dairy milk substitute.
Add nuts to salads, desserts, and soups, or include nut butter in your keto recipes.
The best and worst nuts for keto
Many types of nuts are excellent additions to your keto diet. But not all nuts are perfect. Some nuts have high pythic acid while other nuts can deplete zinc. Let's look at which types of nuts are keto-approved and which ones you should avoid.
What kinds of nuts are best for keto?
The fat-to-carb ratio is the most important factor in choosing nuts. Most nuts have a high-fat content, but some have more carbs than others.
To maintain ketosis, consume no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs daily. Knowing the number of total carbs and fiber amounts helps you keep track of your daily net carbs.
Remember, you calculate the net carb amount by subtracting fiber content from total carbs.
Below is a list ranking nuts from most keto-friendly to least keto-friendly.
Pecan nuts have the lowest net carbs while being an excellent source of healthy fats, making them perfect for keto. Pecans are tree nuts and a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium and support healthy blood pressure.
You can use pecans as a salad topping, and if you are looking for a treat, try this sugar-free recipe for candied pecans.
Net carbs: 4 g
Fat: 71 g
2. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are low-carb and high-fat. They are nutrient-dense and provide many health benefits because brazil nuts high levels of selenium, a trace mineral necessary for enzyme production, thyroid health, detoxification, and liver function.
Because a recent study suggests a keto diet may increase your risk of selenium deficiency, adding Brazil nuts to your keto diet is a smart choice—supporting healthy nutrient levels and your overall health.
Net carbs: 6 g
Fat: 88 g
Walnuts are popular nuts that are low in net carbs and contain a good amount of healthy fats. Walnuts also contain vitamin E and polyphenols, supporting heart health, digestive function, and healthy cholesterol levels.
Some tasty keto recipes include walnut bread with maple butter, candied walnuts, and cabbage bowls. They also go great with this spiced nut mix recipe. Because walnuts can quickly go rancid, it’s best to eat them fresh or store them in an airtight container.
Net carbs: 6 g
Fat: 52 g
4. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are exceptionally healthy nuts. They contain more carbs than pecans, Brazil nuts, or walnuts but provide a lot of fat.
You may be concerned that higher amounts of carbs in macadamia nuts will kick you out of ketosis. But don’t worry—the high-fat content will buffer the carb's impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels, making macadamia nuts a very keto-friendly option.
Net carbs: 7 g
Fat: 102 g
Almonds are another excellent keto-friendly nut low in carbs and high in fat. Ground almonds also make the best keto flour for baking. Almond flour is gluten-free and versatile; you can use it in healthy “junk food” recipes and keto desserts like almond cookies and pumpkin muffins.
Almonds contain vitamins and trace minerals like vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and copper, providing health benefits and optimal nutrition.
Net carbs: 9 g
Fat: 45 g
6. Pine nuts
Pine nuts are a type of seed sourced from the cones of pine trees. They are great for keto because of their high fat-to-carb ratio. Similar to macadamia nuts, the slightly higher carb content of pine nuts is offset by the high amounts of healthy fat.
Pine nuts have a soft, buttery texture and are rich in vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, zinc, and copper. Like other nuts, pine nuts promote heart health and support weight loss.
Net carbs: 13 g
Fat: 92 g
7. Almond butter
Although high in net carbs, almond butter contains 139 grams of fat per cup. This high fat-to-carb ratio makes it an excellent keto-friendly ingredient.
Almond butter is a great alternative to peanut butter, which has more carbs and less fat.
Net carbs: 21 g
Fat: 139 g
Pistachios contain more carbs and less fat compared to other nuts, but small amounts won’t kick you out of ketosis. Limit yourself to 2 to 3 ounces and choose shelled pistachios. The extra effort to crack open the shells will naturally slow you down and control portion size.
Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants which protect against harmful cellular damage and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Net carbs: 21 g
Fat: 56 g
9. Peanut butter
Peanut butter has an excellent fat-to-carb ratio and can be a good option for your keto diet. Choose minimally processed products without added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils, and opt for peanut butter containing as few ingredients as possible.
Learn how to make your own healthy peanut butter cups! Almond butter and walnut butter are good alternatives if you are allergic to peanuts or want to experiment with keto-friendly ingredients.
Net carbs: 35 g
Fat: 130 g
Cashews are the least keto-friendly nuts. The high carb content of cashews can quickly push you over your daily carb limit.
It’s best to avoid these nuts and opt for one of the keto-approved varieties listed above.
Net carbs: 35 g
Fat: 62 g
*Note: The provided net carb and fat content information are for a serving size of 1 cup of nuts or nut butter. Remember that you will unlikely consume such high amounts in one serving, so adjust your net carb count accordingly.
How many nuts can you have on keto?
Most nuts are a tasty addition to your keto diet. But, you can have too much of a good thing. Nuts are calorie dense and can quickly exceed your energy needs, leading to weight gain. It’s one of the most common weight loss mistakes a person can make.
Too many nuts can also put stress on your digestive system. If you are new to keto, your body may not be fully adapted, and the high-fat content of nuts can overwhelm your digestive system causing intestinal bloating, gassiness, and cramping.
Introduce keto-friendly nuts in small amounts and gradually increase them as you become keto-adapted.
Nuts are a healthy addition to your ketogenic diet but limit your portions to around 1/4 cup of nuts or 1 tablespoon of nut butter per meal.
Who shouldn't have nuts: nut sensitivities, allergies, and intolerance
While nuts can be keto-friendly, you must avoid them if you are sensitive, allergic, or intolerant.
People with digestive issues and kidney stones can be sensitive to nuts. If you are prone to digestive problems, lectins in nuts can cause many symptoms. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins found in nuts that irritate the gallbladder, causing bloating, pain, and discomfort around your stomach and liver.
If you are sensitive, lectins can directly affect the nerves controlling your organs, leading to issues outside the digestive tract. Back pain, neck pain, and brain fog have all been linked to lectin sensitivity.
Nuts high in lectins include peanuts, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, and hazelnuts.
Nut intolerance symptoms are similar to nut sensitivity but commonly only cause intestinal symptoms. If intolerant, your body will respond with inflammation to one or several proteins in nuts. Common symptoms of nut intolerance are bloating, stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea.
You may be intolerant to all kinds of nuts or just one type. Listen to your body and make adjustments to your keto diet as necessary.
A nut allergy results from a severe immune system response to the proteins in nuts. Allergic reactions can be severe, even life-threatening, and happen immediately after exposure to nuts or eating nuts.
Some common symptoms of nut allergies include coughing, nausea, stomach pain, sneezing, diarrhea, vomiting, and runny eyes.
How to germinate nuts
Germinating nuts is an ancient technique that makes nuts more digestible and can be a great option if you feel nuts are hard on your digestion. The soaking process breaks down enzymes and increases the nutrient content of nuts, causing fewer digestive issues and boosting nutrition.
Germinating is an easy process of soaking nuts overnight, followed by dehydrating them at low temperatures. Watch this video to learn more about how and why to germinate seeds and nuts.
Nuts are an excellent keto food which is why we include them on the keto food list. Most varieties are high in healthy fats, have a moderate protein content, and are low in carbs. Among the best choices are pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.
They are nutritious and versatile but also high in calories—but don’t snack on nuts or add too many to your meals to avoid weight gain. That’s right nuts can make you gain weight!
Cashew nuts are the least keto-friendly variety, and stay away from highly processed peanut butter with added sugars. Check the labels and choose nut butters with minimal amounts of ingredients.
If you are new to keto, slowly introduce nuts to your diet and let your body adapt. Take notice of symptoms and avoid nuts if you have any discomfort.
You may tolerate some nuts better than others, so listen to your body and tweak your keto lifestyle.
Check out our keto-friendly recipes to learn new ways to enjoy nuts on keto.
1. Are nuts high in carbs?
Most nuts are low-carb and high-fat, making them an optimal keto food.
2. Are nuts considered low-carb?
Yes, most nuts contain between 1 to 7 grams of carbs per ounce, which is considered low-carb. But remember to count the carbs in nuts towards your daily carb limit.
3. Can I eat nuts on keto?
Absolutely! Many nuts have an ideal fat-to-carb ratio and are keto-friendly.
4. Will nuts kick me out of ketosis?
No, nuts will not kick you out of ketosis but do choose the right type of nuts and don’t overindulge. Pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts in moderate amounts are excellent choices for your keto plan.
5. Can I have nuts while fasting?
Nuts are keto-friendly, but you should avoid eating nuts while fasting. While doing intermittent fasting, only have nuts during your eating window.
6. Which nuts should I avoid on keto?
Avoid cashew nuts, nut butter with added sugars, and spiced nuts. They are high in total carbs and can quickly push you out of ketosis.
7. What are the best nuts to have on a keto diet?
The best low-carb nuts are pecans, Brazil nuts, and walnuts. They are high-fat, low-carb, and contain vitamins and minerals supporting your health and well-being.
8. What are the worst nuts to have on keto?
It would be best to avoid cashews and nut butter with added sugars. They are not keto-friendly and can kick you out of ketosis.
9. Which nuts contain the fewest carbs?
Pecans, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and walnuts are all low-carb nuts with between 1 and 2 grams of net carbs per ounce. These nuts are keto-friendly and support weight loss.
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