The 10 Best Nuts for Keto (And Nuts You Should Avoid)

Most nuts are great for the keto diet. But nuts still differ in their carb count. Find out here which nuts are best for keto and which ones you may want to avoid.

Most nuts are high in fat and low in carbs, which makes them an ideal keto food. Keto dieters rely on these dry fruits as their go-to snack, and they’re quite popular made into nut butters, nut milks, nut flours, and even yogurt.

But not all nuts have an ideal keto macros balance.

The best keto nuts will have less than 5g of net carbs in a 1 oz serving along with lots of fat. But there are also nuts that are unusually high in carbohydrates and depressingly low in fat. You need to be aware of both types when considering nuts for your keto diet.

With that said, which nuts are best for the keto diet and which are worst?

Find out in this rundown of the 10 best nuts to eat on keto, from the lowest in carbs to highest. We’ll also talk about their health benefits and mention 2 of not-so-good ones.

1. Pecan Nuts

Ever wondered “what are the lowest carb nuts?” Well, pecans definitely top the list.

Keto-ers love them because they’re 72% fat while having only 1.3 g of net carbs. This makes them one of the most keto-friendly nuts out there. Pecans are also rich in fiber, providing 11% of the daily value (DV) for this nutrient important for gut and metabolic health.

One study examining the effects of a 4-week long pecan-rich diet found that pecans can help lower insulin and improve insulin sensitivity in overweight adults 1.

With their crunchy texture and buttery flavor, they’re great in low-carb pecan pie and bars. Of course, they’re also tasty on their own.

Nutrition per 1 oz 2
Calories 195
Protein 2.6 grams
Fat 20.3 grams
Net carbs 1.3 grams

 

pecan_nuts

Pecans are the lowest in carbs.

2. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts grow in South America on one of the largest trees in the world. The nuts themselves are quite impressive in size and other qualities.

Considered an Amazonian superfood, Brazil nuts will enrich your keto diet with a healthy balance of saturated, monounsaturated (MUFA), and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fats. They’re rich in satiating protein at 4 g in a serving. But what they’re most known for is their selenium content: one kernel providing 140 % of the DV.

brazilian_nuts

Besides being low-carb, Brazil nuts are selenium-rich.

Because of their unique nutrient composition, researchers believe they can be used as an alternative to selenium supplement 3. They’re heart-healthy, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and are rich in antioxidants.

Nutrition per 1 oz 4
Calories 185
Protein 4 grams
Fat 18.8 grams
Net carbs 1.4 grams

 

3. Coconuts

Ask a botanist and they’ll tell you that coconuts are the fruits of the coconut palm. Ask anyone else, and they’ll say coconuts are nuts as evident by the suffix “nut” in coconut.

So, which one is it?

Because coconut meat is dry and fat-rich just like that of nuts, coconuts are put in the nuts category. Keto-ers love them because of their unique saturated fats. Their saturated fats are called medium-chain triglycerides, which the body easily turns into ketones 5. They’re also a good source of fiber (10% DV) and manganese (21% DV).

On a keto diet, there are many coconut products to choose from: desiccated coconut, coconut flour, coconut milk (canned or carton), coconut butter, and coconut oil.

Nutrition per 1 oz 6
Calories 99
Protein 0.9 grams
Fat 9.4 grams
Net carbs 1.8 grams

 

coconut

Coconut is probably the most cherished keto nut.

4. Walnuts

An affordable nut that’s easy to find at any grocery store, walnuts are a good source of essential fats otherwise hard to find.

These aromatic nuts are namely high in fat (65%), most of which is PUFA, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers claim they’re the only nuts that are a good source of these essential fats 7. In case you didn’t know: omega-3s are essential for preventing heart disease and forming cell membranes.

walnuts

Walnuts add omega-3s on keto.

Walnuts have a strong flavor that pairs well with many sweet and savory dishes.Use them to make energy bites, in salads, and with roasted Brussels sprouts. Store walnuts in a cool, dry place as PUFAs are prone to rancidity.

Nutrition per 1 oz 8
Calories 183
Protein 4.3 grams
Fat 18.3 grams
Net carbs 1.9 grams

 

5. Hazelnuts

There are different species of hazelnuts, but all are sweet-tasting and can be enjoyed raw or toasted.

What’s really important is that they too are high in fat (60%) and low in carbs (16%). Hazelnuts are also rich in vitamin E, providing 21% DV of this antioxidant vitamin that’s important for skin and brain health. Besides antioxidants, hazelnuts provide B vitamins (3-12% DV), magnesium (12% DV), manganese (87% DV), and copper (24% DV).

Their lovely flavor pairs wonderfully with chocolate, so consider using them in your favorite chocolate keto recipes.

Nutrition per 1 oz 9
Calories 177
Protein 4.2 grams
Fat 17.2 grams
Net carbs 2 grams

 

hazelnuts

Hazelnuts and chocolate are great for keto recipes.

6. Macadamia Nuts

Native to Australia, macadamia nuts are also known as Queensland nuts, bush nuts, and bauple nuts.

They’re one of the best nuts to eat on keto thanks to their fat content (76%). Most of their fat is the heart-healthy MUFA kind, which is why diets rich in macadamia nuts lower total and LDL cholesterol 10, 11. And according to Lisa Richards, CNC,

“This nut is loaded with fiber to keep you full, B vitamins for energy, MUFAs for heart health, and antioxidants to fight free radicals — making macadamia nut an ideal keto snack.”

macadamia_nuts

Macadamia nuts are an ideal keto snack.

Besides eating as snacks, try using macadamia nuts in baking (they’re great in cookies, bars, and muffins).

Nutrition per 1 oz 12
Calories 201
Protein 2.2 grams
Fat 21.2 grams
Net carbs 2.1 grams

 

7. Almonds

Almonds are versatile, protein-rich, and fiber-rich keto nuts. They’re naturally sweet and easy to find at any store.

Referred to as nutritional powerhouses, almonds are impressively nutritious., Eating almonds on keto will give you several essential nutrients: 6 g of protein (12% DV), fiber ( 14% DV), vitamin E (37% DV), riboflavin (17% DV), magnesium (19% DV), phosphorus (14% DV), and manganese (32% DV). Their fiber and protein help control hunger and blood sugar spikes.

These sweet-tasting nuts are widely used in sweet and savory keto recipes. Enjoy almonds raw, toasted, or soaked or even as almond butter, almond milk, and almond flour.

Nutrition per 1 oz 13
Calories 162
Protein 6 grams
Fat 14 grams
Net carbs 2.7 grams

 

almond_nuts

Almonds are nutritious and keto-friendly.

8. Pine Nuts

Also called pinoli or pignoli, pine nuts are actually seeds — from pine cones. Not surprisingly they have a resinous, pine-like flavor appreciated in Italian cooking.

Nutrition-wise, these tiny (but expensive) low-carb nuts are rich in both fat and protein. They’re also a good source of vitamin E (13% DV), vitamin K (19% DV), magnesium (18% DV), phosphorus (16% DV), and zinc (12% DV).

pine_nuts

Pine nuts add flavor to keto meals.

Pine nuts are a great flavoring in Italian cooking, notably basil pesto, braised spinach, herbed pasta.

Nutrition per 1 oz 14
Calories 188
Protein 3.8 grams
Fat 19.1 grams
Net carbs 2.7 grams

 

9. Peanuts

Peanuts are botanical legumes. But because their nutrient profile closely resembles that of nuts, they’re considered and eaten like culinary nuts.

But can you eat peanuts on keto?

Yes, you can and you should (if you’re not allergic). Peanuts are one of the best sources of high-quality plant protein, providing 6.6 g in a serving. Like with other legumes, peanut proteins are equivalent to meat and egg proteins 15. They’re also rich in vitamin E (10% DV), niacin (19% DV), folate (10% DV), and magnesium (12% DV).

Enjoy peanuts as party snacks on your keto diet or, even better, as peanut butter. Sugar-free peanut butter is a great way to add more protein to your keto diet.

Nutrition per 1 oz 16
Calories 164
Protein 6.6 grams
Fat 13.9 grams
Net carbs 4.4 grams

 

peanuts

There is more than one way to eat peanuts on keto.

10. Pistachios

People have been eating pistachios for thousands of years, and they’re still one of the most popular nuts eaten as snacks, in ice cream, and on top of desserts.

But are pistachios good for keto?

Well, they’re not the lowest carb nut out there, but they can still be safely consumed in moderation. A serving provides just below 5 g of net carbs, but also lots of protein and fat. They’re a good source of several B vitamins, notably B6 (18% DV) and thiamin (16% DV). B vitamins are important for energy levels and brain function.

pistachio_nuts

While not the lowest in carbs, pistachios are still keto.

Enjoy pistachios as a fun snack or consider making colorful desserts with them.

Nutrition per 1 oz 17
Calories 159
Protein 6 grams
Fat 12.8 grams
Net carbs 4.7 grams

 

Avoid These Nuts

Some nuts are a bit too high in carbs to be keto-friendly, and they should be excluded from your keto nut list:

  • Cashews: Are cashews keto? Cashews and pistachios grow on trees that belong to the same family, but the former are too high in carbs to be good for you (7.6 g in 1 oz) 18.
  • Chestnuts: Chestnuts are mostly starch, and contain barely any fat 19. At 13.6 g of net carbs in a 1 oz serving, it’s best to avoid them.

Conclusion

Nuts and their products (flours, butters, and milk) are popular on a keto diet. They come in handy as a keto-friendly snack to stave off the munchies.

A lot of dieters also rely on low-carb nuts in a wide range of recipes: crushed nuts as breading, nut milks for low-carb breakfasts, nut flours in keto baking, and nut butters for extra plant protein.

Nuts lowest in carbs should be on top of your keto favorites. Hopefully, this keto nuts list can help you decide which nuts are best for your keto diet.

REFERENCES:

  1. McKay DL et al. A Pecan-Rich Diet Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. 2018 March 11 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872757/

  2. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData. Nuts, pecans. April 2019 1 - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients

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