Nuts are the ideal keto snack - delicious, nutrient-dense, and low-carb. What more could we ask? They provide precisely what we need, high in fat and moderate in protein, with only a little bit of carbohydrates. They store easily and are convenient to carry and find when shopping. But not all nuts are created equal; some are more keto-friendly than others.
Here, we’ll look at the best keto-friendly nuts and the worst. Beginning with the nuts that have the lowest net carb count to those with the highest.
The 3 Best Nuts to Include in a Keto Diet
Here are our top 3 best keto nuts. We begin with a nut you might be unfamiliar with, the pili nut.
With just 1g of carbs (no fiber) and 22 g of fat per 1 oz (28g) serving size, Pili (pee-LEE) nuts are the front runner of keto-friendly snacks. They grow on large evergreen trees found in the volcanic soils of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. They are sustainable, low-maintenance, tropical trees that can yield up to 300 lbs (140 kg) of nuts annually.
The nuts are harvested as black, tear-shaped, hard pulps, with the edible white kernel safely protected by a second brown shell.
When eaten raw, the pili nut has a light flavor similar to sunflower seeds. But after roasting them, the exterior becomes chewy and the inside a melting, buttery, velvet texture. They may be eaten plain, roasted, or seasoned.
Because pili nuts grow in volcanic soil, they have a high mineral content. They have the highest magnesium levels of any nut, they are a complete protein, and have all of the amino acids.
Note: 1 oz of pili nuts = 15 kernels (approx.)
Our next keto-friendly nut is the pecan. With just 1.2 g of net carbs and 20.2 g of fat per 1 oz serving, it’s no wonder we love pecans so much. This tree nut is bursting with thiamine (vitamin B1), phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, oleic acid, and fiber.
Research indicates that pecan-rich diets can benefit over-weight or obese adults by reducing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. The same study showed that consuming 1.5 oz of pecans daily reduced insulin levels and improved trial participants’ insulin sensitivity.
So with the right sweeteners, pecan pie is back on the menu!
Note: 1 oz of pecans = 9 nuts (approx.)
Happy news! Brazil nuts are one of the top keto-friendly nuts we can eat. With 1.3g net carbs and 18.6 g of fat per 1 oz serving, your love affair with the Brazil nut may continue. This South American tree nut is rich in selenium and the trace minerals your body needs for reproduction and protein synthesis.
One single Brazil nut has 100% of an adult’s daily requirement of selenium. But as with all things, moderation is the key. Too much selenium can have a negative effect on your health, so daily consumption shouldn’t exceed four nuts.
Note: 1 oz of Brazil nuts = 6 nuts (approx.)
Other Nuts to Explore That Meet Keto Diet Standards
The following nuts are also keto-friendly and would make a nutritious snack:
Macadamia nuts are the trendy treat, with 1.5 g net carbs and 21.5 g of fat per 1 oz serving. These Australian tree nuts have been linked to improved cholesterol levels. One study showed that men who made macadamia nuts 15% of their daily calorie intake had 5.3% reduction in bad cholesterol and an 8% increase in good cholesterol.
Macadamia nuts have more manganese than most nuts. We need manganese to produce digestive enzymes, bones, and immune-system defenses. They also surpass every other nut in the number of monounsaturated fats they provide.
You can find many keto-friendly macadamia nut products like milk, butter, and flour.
Note: 1 oz of macadamia nuts = 11 nuts (approx.)
Walnuts are a great way to boost your keto results with only 1.9g net carbs and 18.5g of fat per 1 oz serving. This tree nut is a fan-favorite worldwide and is bursting with B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, fiber, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Rich in omega-3 fats, walnuts have more antioxidants than most other foods. There is evidence to suggest that a diet rich in walnuts can improve your heart and brain health. Walnuts may also increase weight loss, regulate blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, and protect against some forms of cancer.
One study of 100 people on low-calorie diets revealed that consuming 15% of their calories as walnuts had lowered their LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.
Walnut oil is an expensive culinary oil often used in salad dressings.
Note: 1 oz of walnuts = 7 nuts (approx.)
Related: Keto Soup Recipes You Need to Know
HazelnutsWe often associate hazelnuts with sugary Nutella, but they’re so much more. With 2.0g of net carbs and 17.2 g of fat, hazelnuts are a friend to the keto lifestyle. These have a smooth buttery texture, which makes them versatile for baking.
Originally a British native, the hazel tree was once considered magical, providing protection from evil. Today hazelnuts are a great vitamin E source, with only one ounce holding 28% of your Reference Daily Intake (RDI). Vitamin E is vital for skin and brain health and neutralizes harmful free radicals to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Note: 1 oz of hazelnuts = 21 nuts (approx.)
Not strictly nuts, these botanical legumes have 3.0 g of net carbs and 13.8 g of fat per 1 oz serving. They are an excellent source of plant protein (6.6 g per serving) and are rich in vitamin E, folate, niacin, and magnesium. Peanuts are exceptionally high in leucine and other essential amino acids.
Though they are more closely related to beans and lentils, peanuts are the most popular and common nut. They make an easy and enjoyable treat and can be used in such a wide variety of recipes, we couldn’t list them all.
The healthiest way to eat peanuts is raw, with the skins still on. The skin contains antioxidants that protect our cells from damaging free radicals.
Other than eaten whole, peanut butter is a fantastic keto snack. Two tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter contain 5 g of net carbs, 18 g of fat, and 8 g of protein. It is a creamy, smooth mouthful of heaven! Just be sure to track how much you’re eating, as it’s easy to overeat.
Note: 1 oz of peanuts = 28 nuts/legumes (approx.)
What Are the Nuts to Enjoy in Moderation in Your Keto Diet?
Although we love nuts as a quick and tasty way to get our fat and nutrients in a low-carb way, not all nuts are so beneficial. The following are a few that we should consider more carefully and consume more sparingly.
Unique and versatile pine nuts, also known as pinoli or pignoli, have 2.6 g net carbs and 19.1 g of fat per 1 oz serving. Like peanuts, pine nuts are not actually nuts. They are the seeds from pine cones and are best known for their contribution to pesto - the Italian sauce made with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and basil.
The fat contained in pine nuts is called pinolenic acid, which can minimize hunger by regulating the hormones associated with appetite. One study showed that in overweight, postmenopausal women, a dose of 3 g of concentrated pine nut oil with breakfast, ate 36% less food.
Pine nuts are one of the most expensive nuts to purchase, but when we consider the long process of their harvesting, we understand the price.
Note: 1 oz of pine nuts = 167 nuts/seeds (approx.)
Almonds are a protein-rich, fiber-rich, and versatile nut. Containing 2.7g of net carbs and 14.0g of fat per 1 oz serving, they are naturally sweet and easy to find in stores.
Research shows that a diet full of almonds is also nutrient-dense and could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and type-2 diabetes. Almonds have high concentrations of healthy fats, protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and copper.
Concentrated in the brown layer of skin, there is a treasure trove of antioxidants. So if you eat them, choose the ones with the skin intact as the healthier option.
Almond flour, milk, and butter are keto-favorites. But the nuts may be eaten raw or roasted.
Note: 1 oz of almonds = 23 nuts (approx.)
With a count of 4.9g of net carbs and 12.4g of fat per 1 oz serving, pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and B-vitamins.
They are the edible seeds of the Pistacia vera tree. Although they have more potassium in 1 oz than half of a large banana, they’re still on our ‘please limit’ list. Consuming fewer of these is recommended as the net carbs are higher than most other nuts.
To benefit from these nuts’ nutrition, consider using fewer of them in recipes that can maximize the flavor - for instance, Pistachio and Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins.
Nuts To Track More Closely
Although we’ve said that nuts are the perfect keto snack, there are a few nuts whose consumption can quickly lead to overdoing it on carbohydrates. We don’t want to tell you that you should never eat these but consume with caution.
With 8.3g of net carbs and 12.3 g of fat per 1 oz serving, just a few of these nuts can quickly put you over your net carb count for the day. Even if you carefully fraction it out, you are still allowing them to consume a big part of your daily carb allotment. Cashews are also light on fats, which makes them mostly unsuitable for the keto-lifestyle.
If you feel like you must have a few of these soft, sweet nuts, consider chopping a few to sprinkle on a salad or have dry-roasted macadamia nuts, which have a similar taste.
Note: 1 oz of cashews = 18 nuts (approx.)
Chestnuts are not without their benefits, but with 13.6g of net carbs and hardly any fats per 1 oz serving, they’re best avoided.
If you cannot resist, know that chestnuts contain vitamin C (for the immune system), folic acid and vitamin B, fiber, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Chestnuts may restrict the absorption of fats and sugars in the intestine and stimulate the intestinal peristalsis as a remedy for stubborn constipation.
Note: 1 oz of chestnuts = 3-10 kernels (information was conflicting)
There’s a wide variety of choices when it comes to nuts. You can avail yourself of their nutrient-density and healthy fats while enjoying their convenience. You have nuts that are so low-carb that you can enjoy them in some abundance (not too much), and others that may be consumed in moderation.
Just imagine sprinkling these mouthwatering and healthy ingredients on your keto ice cream or baking it into your brownies. The possibilities are endless, so go nuts and enjoy your keto journey to the max!