In this guide, we’ll go into great detail on some of the best nuts that you can eat during your transformation to ketosis, and while you are on your keto diet. Nuts can be a great way to aid you in your ketogenic diet, but one should know that not every single one out there is actually considered a keto-healthy snack. Some nuts are just plain bad for keto because they are high in carbs and don’t have the fibers to back them up. This guide will explain numerous processes, and give a top list of some of the best nuts you can eat on a keto diet. Keep in mind, if you have an allergy to any of these nuts (or all of them), then you need to stay away from either those that are listed, or find another way to get the great nutrients that nuts can provide for your body.
Why Choose Nuts During a Keto Diet?
Nuts are full of nutrients which your body needs, as well as amino acids and minerals, antioxidants, and more, which can aid you in your journey to ketosis more than some other foods. A lot of times, nuts can also be rich in fiber, which doesn’t count against your net carb count, but can help you digest the foods you need to eat and help you be able to avoid getting constipated, which is a common side effect of a keto diet, let alone any low-carb diet. They also contain fatty acids which can help you in achieving ketosis faster as well. You want to utilize about 100g a day (which can equal about 2-3 handfuls), and one good way to achieve this is to not binge eat them. Eat them as a side to your meals, or simply a snack in between them.
There are many benefits to why nuts are great. Many of them that are keto friendly can help reduce health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes, death from early complications, and many nuts have anti-inflammatory agents which can help keep certain areas of your body from being inflamed. Nuts that are used during a keto diet don’t really affect your blood sugar, and can help keep them regulated. Plus, they’re small, and conveniently accessed. You can literally pack a bowl with a few handfuls, or use a few small sandwich bags with a handful each to measure each serving you want to take with you throughout the day.
What are Some of the Best Nuts to Eat During a Keto Diet?
As mentioned earlier, not every nut is great for a keto diet, but from the ones that are, this section will go into detail on what they are, and why.
- Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are the most common nut that people consume on average during a keto diet. There are many reasons why that is that makes this the number one nut on every list that you can find both medically, and online. When it comes to not burning your body fat, macadamia nuts have the highest natural fat content for the price of just a few carbs. Their main source of fats is from monounsaturated fats, which help aid the body in insulin control, and can help lower and regular cholesterol levels. It also helps to curb belly fat, and can aid your body from ailments such as heart disease or other cardiovascular complications when eaten regularly. Macadamia nuts have also been proven to have numerous electrolytes, macronutrients, and minerals that the body needs. They are also high in calcium. Some complications that have been included as problems macadamias can help are stroke resistance, lowering your blood pressure to healthy levels, weight loss by providing that “full” feeling, fortified bones, lowered diabetes risks, and strengthening of your nerves, which is one thing we are trying to achieve and help with the keto diet. They even have a “keto nut butter” that is made of various nuts (macadamia being the primary ingredient) that can help boost your ketones internally, as well as help you feel full.
Pecans are one of the best nuts that you can also eat on the keto diet. They share many similarities when it comes to profiling their ratios of fats, carbs, proteins, and macronutrients. Contrary to popular reputation, pecans aren’t as sweet as they may taste when they are mixed with other foods and desserts. Often times, they are just plain bland when by themselves. They have slightly lower levels of monounsaturated fats, a little more protein, a low amount of carbs because they are mostly fiber, a healthy level of polyunsaturated fats, and a little less in the department of minerals.
Pecans are 70% fats, which is important in most keto diets that help in the ketosis process. Pecans are also one of the nuts that contain high amounts of a product called “oleic acid”. This specific macro-ingredient has numerous health benefits, and has been linked to lowering patients’ risks for contracting heart disease and diabetes (particularly type 2). They are also proven to help with your body’s natural method of fighting diseases, as well as bodily inflammation.
- Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts (which can unfortunately go by many other slang terms) are a great way to have healthy nuts on your keto diet list. They are number three on the list because of their nutritional statistics with the other popular nuts during keto. They are lower in calories, have a higher protein count (at 4 grams of protein per 1 ounce), and are made up of mostly fats as well. The fats that are in a brazil nut are more balanced than the previous two on the list. They have just a couple grams difference per service between saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats (but nevertheless they are very good for you because of this balance). They are also low on carbs because for every ounce, though they have 3g of carbs, two of those grams are in the form of fibers.
Brazil nuts offer more calcium and a little less iron than the others, and they don’t have vitamins A or C. They do have very healthy benefits when it comes to brain function and being able to battle against the body’s balance between free radicals. You can’t miss what these nuts look like, because they are a lot larger than most other forms of nuts, even when they are shelled.
Walnuts are one of the most natural ways other than fish that a person can get Omega-3 fatty acids from. They are very low in saturated fat per serving, and while they are a little higher in calories than brazil nuts, they offer a whopping amount of natural fats, mostly comprised of polyunsaturated fat, and the monounsaturated fat being the lesser of the two. They are a little higher in actual net carbs though, because they have a little less fiber, but it’s not enough to notice really much of a difference or to cause problems with your keto diet.
Walnuts also have plenty of Omega-6 fatty acids, which are more common in things such as avocados, sunflower seeds, and many other products which one may or may not eat on a keto diet.
Walnuts are also a great way to get your macronutrients like folates (folic acid), phosphorous, copper, and vitamin E. The vitamin E is a special type that walnuts contain over any other nuts. This ingredient is called gamma-tocopherol, the most common form of vitamin E. The vitamins and minerals in walnuts are great for men, as it can help with cardiovascular disease resistance, improve brain functionality, and can even improve the levels of testosterone that a man’s body makes. It can also aid in weight loss as studies have shown that just about 30g of walnuts eaten by patients per day actually lost weight more than anyone else over the course of a few months.
Walnut eaters also made better choices when it came to being able to not eat healthy (brain function, right?)
Walnuts are also recommended and have been used in studies for cancer patients, and though it hasn’t been proven in human results, there have been animal studies in which breast cancer, and prostate cancer has been prevented completely by using walnuts. So we have hear an amazing nut that not only offers the most common form of the three top “keto nuts for keto diets”, but also has amazing health benefits with the research and studies to back it up, that it can help prevent health issues.
Hazelnuts are a very famous delicacy, because they are so widely used in the candy and sweets industry. From Ferro Rocher chocolates, to one of the most famous peanut butter alternatives – Nutella – filberts, as they’re normally called, are actually pretty friendly to your body for a keto diet. Just be sure that you don’t pack on the chocolate and sugar. Hazelnuts are a little higher in iron, but are also mostly fat calories, ad about 13g of monounsaturated fats, 2g of polyunsaturated fat, and only 1g of saturated fat, totaling up to 17g of fat per one ounce serving. The only downside is that they are approximately 2g of net carbs, because they have about 1g of starches and a gram of sugar to combat the 3g of fibers per ounce. They have a little more protein at 4g, and like their common cousins macadamias, they have about the same vitamin counts.
Hazelnuts are great for combating the risk of coronary cardiovascular disorders, as well as lowering bad cholesterol levels (such as LDL’s) without taking the body’s natural HDL levels. Like pecans, the oleic acid, high macronutrient counts, and the vitamins B and E are also great for your body, mind, joints, skin, and can even aid in your digestive system to promote healthy tissue growth.
Other Nuts to Help Promote Your Keto Diet
Some people don’t like those specific nuts, and that is alright. Fortunately, there are other alternatives, but do keep in mind that these nuts have generally double the amount of net carbs as they have less fiber to counter the starches and natural sugars they contain.
- Pine Nuts (also known as Pinolis)
These nuts have about 3g of net carbs rather than 1-2. This can be about a tenth of your total daily carb intake per day, so one should be a little more carb conscious on how many servings per day to eat. They are a good balance between both mono and poly unsaturated fats, as well as having a little more saturated fats, and have mostly iron for their macronutrient. Because of this though, they are able to help fight the hunger cravings you may have, increase the amount of circulation in your blood vessels, relieve cramps from problems such as menstruation, and can even help your body fight the risk of anemia, which has been known to happen in rare cases when performing a keto diet.
Almonds are actually a little bit better in many people’s opinions when compared to pine nuts, even in terms of flavor. Almonds are actually one of the most common forms of nuts, and are extremely high per ounce (at a whopping 6g of protein) than other nuts. While they have less fat, and offer more fiber for your diet, these nuts are still about 2g net carbs while you’re being carb conscious. Fortunately these nuts have wonderful benefits. Just like pine nuts and walnuts, these nuts are very common in reducing heart attack chances, lowering bad cholesterol levels, aiding the digestive track (both with vitamin E and natural fibers, and they’re higher in calcium and iron than some of the other nuts on the list. Almonds are used in one of the widest variety of alternative products as well, from milk, to even flours (which can substitute wheat flowers).
This nut is one of the lowest calorie nuts on the keto market, but unfortunately they have the highest net carb count. One ounce of cashews by themselves has nearly 40-50 % of your daily net carb intake, at about 8 grams, and they have the lowest amount of fiber on our keto-friendly nuts out there on the market. But nevertheless, they do offer many healthy benefits, from their unsaturated fats, to their high iron and vitamin E (many nuts don’t actually list that they are high in vitamin E, but it has been scientifically proven that they are rich in the vitamin BTW).
Fortunately though, there are products out there that can give you some of the flavor of this, such as peanut butter alternatives. You can easily search online for keto nut butter and find some great products. Using one of these alternatives helps to eliminate the carbs by having more fiber for you to ingest, but still gives you that same great flavor of cashews blended with other ingredients to provide a healthy snack for you in your keto transformation.
Pistachios are another great nut out there, but keep in mind that they have about 20% of a 20g net carb intake. Nevertheless, these nuts are actually some of the best out there in other areas, such as their high amounts of protein (almost 6g per ounce). When it comes to macronutrients, these low-fat nuts can help to improve your cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, since the carb count is so high, you need to be careful if you are not wanting to gain weight, or knock your body of its ketosis horse (you can also prolong your body’s transformation). You don’t have to worry about the proteins though, because they don’t do anything to hurt a keto diet. However, they are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, calcium, iron, and vitamin E, and other macronutrients.
One good benefit that can be found with pistachios is that many people who buy them (and one of the most common ways to buy them) is with the shell still on. It’s been scientifically proven that in studies of pistachio consumption, when people bought and consumed these, but had to remove the shells first, they actually ate a drastically lower amount of pistachios than those who were able to just eat them right out of the package.
Some Rules of Caution When Eating Nuts for Keto Diets
There are some things that you don’t want to ingest when it comes to eating the best nuts for a keto diet. One thing to keep in mind is to be aware of other ingredients on the label when you are buying these products. From various oils that are used for roasting and more, you want to make sure you’re getting just the nut itself. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase the unroasted, plain nut, and then roasting it yourself without having to use things such as soybean or canola oil, or even vegetable oil. You also don’t want to purchase any of these nuts with extra “flavoring”, as these are often not only full of too much sodium than your body needs, but other harmful ingredients which can even cause blood sugar levels to be higher, as well as increase the carb count of the product. If you want to enhance the flavor, there are plenty of ways you can do this safely and probably even more effectively yourself. You can simply brush them over with a light coating and basting brush of olive oil, and then add salt and natural seasonings (being carb conscious of course) like garlic powder, onion powder, and more and roasting them slowly in the oven.
Another thing you want to do is make sure that for the duration of your diet, you don’t just pick one type of nut and stick with it. You need to alternate them, because every single one includes some differences in macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It also keeps you from getting burnt out on one single type of nut, just like many other food groups you encounter during your keto diet. By mixing it up a little, you’ll get the most out of your experience, and the most out of this group of superfoods. Plus, by alternating nut types, you have plenty of learning room, and can learn to cook, bake, and make numerous desserts and snacks you can have during your keto diet.
Be Sure To Watch Out For Sensitivity Warnings
There is a common ingredient in all nuts, called phytic acid. Aside from just the regular allergen issues some people experience, some people are sensitive to this ingredient found in nuts. When this happens, people can have digestive track issues, and won’t be able to absorb the macronutrients they need, or even the minerals the body requires. This can result in deficiencies in calcium, lower than normal blood iron levels, and a lack of zinc oxide in their blood. This doesn’t mean you have to skip eating nuts altogether though. Generally, the most common cause of this ingredient being present, is that the nuts aren’t roasted enough. One other way to avoid this is to ensure that the nuts have been soaked, and/or roasted. You can also soak and then re-roast them. You can also get “sprouting” forms of the nuts which help to break down the acids. More than anything, just be careful and find a method that works for you. It is not uncommon to have some sort of issue, and some nuts just aren’t for everyone.
Take EXTREME Caution to Allergy Signs
If you don’t know whether you are allergic to tree nuts or not, be sure to do plenty of research, and know the early warning signs of a food allergy. Nut allergies are also the most common allergies that can develop in anyone’s body, and they can happen with or without warning. (Most of the time you won’t know you have a food allergy until the moment it hits you). Here are some common tree nut allergy conditions that you may notice. If you start to experience ANY of these symptoms, get to a physician quickly or call 911. You may have stomach pains, nausea, or even start vomiting. You could have nearly instant diarrhea, not be able to swallow, have increased nasal mucous production or congestion, and more. Your throat may feel scratchy, and your face and body in general from your esophagus all the way up to your face, throat, mouth, or entire body. Lastly, a food allergy, if left untreated even for a matter of a few minutes, can cause your body to go into anaphylactic shock which can kill you. If this happens at ANY point, then you don’t want to include anything in your keto diet, and you will need to be ten times more cautious with your diet plan. Also keep in mind that just because you may have a peanut allergy, this doesn’t mean that you have a tree nut allergy. This does go hand in hand in some cases, but is not necessarily true in all cases, as studies have shown.
In the case that you do have an allergy to tree nuts, there are healthy alternatives. One thing you can do is take supplements naturally, or you can eat certain seeds, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and take a look into flax seeds and chia seeds as well, so you can add them to your diet regime. Many of these in combination during your keto diet will give you much of the same nutrients that you get from nuts as well, minus some of the fats that you may have to supplement with more meats, and fatty acid supplements.
Unless you currently have an issue with allergies as described above, then our final decision is that nuts should be an integral part, if not a primary portion of your snacking plans, as well as ingredient options when it comes to your ketogenic diet. Although some need to be monitored even more closely as far as net carbs, and their fatty acid levels (if you are supplementing, you may also want to pay close attention to iron levels as well, as too much iron is also not good for you either), and even calories if you are trying to cut calories as well with your keto diet (some keto diet plans actually have higher calorie counts than others, but more fibers, and non-digestive nutrients that nuts can have. Many of these macronutrients that end up being excess in your body can in-turn benefit your body, keeping you from missing out on a vital macro or micronutrient you may be missing, and most often, by adding these nutrients from nuts, your body will in-turn thank you for consuming these products, and simply get rid of the rest that it won’t use as healthy waste, rather than causing health problems. Your body can also thank you much later in life as well, as many of these items can literally increase your overall well-being.