Keto nuts – the best and the worst

Can you go nuts with nuts on a keto diet? Well, yes and no… it depends on what kind of nut you choose. This visual guide will help you choose nuts with the lowest carbs, to help you succeed on keto

You’ll find the lower carb (i.e. keto) options to the left.

The numbers above the nuts represent the amount of net carbs in 100 grams, or 3½ ounces

A rough guide is that 100 grams of nuts is about three handfuls. But hands come in different sizes, so if you want to know exactly how many grams of carbs you’re eating, here are how many individual nuts you need for 100 grams:

  • 65 pecan halves
  • 20 Brazil nuts
  • 40 macadamias
  • 70 hazelnuts
  • 25 walnuts or 50 walnut halves
  • 2/3 cup of peanuts
  • 80 almonds
  • 3/4 cup of pistachios
  • 3/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 60 cashews

Keto nuts to love

Pecans, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts, all on the left side, have the lowest amount of carbs per serving and can be enjoyed freely on the keto diet. At least it’s very hard to get too many carbs this way.

Eat these low-carb nuts as a snack (if you need one) between meals, toast and toss into salads and other dishes, or grind them into nut butters to spread into celery, other veggies or low-carb crackers.

The nuts in the middle are not the best keto options, but you can probably get away with a few here and there.

The nuts to the right – especially cashews – should be avoided on keto. You’ll very quickly reach the daily keto limit of 20 grams of carbs.

Less than three handfuls — about 60 cashews in total — is enough to reach this limit.

For all these various types of nuts, never eat any version that has been treated with sugar and other glazes, such as with labels like “honey roasted”, “sweet chili”, “salted caramel” and “spiced.” Read labels to make sure that no sugar has been added. These days many brands are adding sugar.

A reason to not go nuts on nuts

While Brazil, macadamia and pecan nuts are good keto options, you may still want to be a bit restrictive when eating nuts. Especially if you’re aiming to lose weight, or reverse type 2 diabetes, even these nuts can still be problematic.

Keep in mind that all nuts contain lots of fat and calories (plus some protein and minerals) – they are very nutritious.

Eating nuts is fine if you’re doing so when you’re hungry and needenergy. But if you’re just snacking on them between meals – without being hungry – because the nuts taste good or because you’re bored, then you’re adding tons of fat that you don’t need.

The result? Your body will burn the fat from the nuts, instead of your stored body fat. This is fine if you’re happy with your current weight and metabolic health. But if you’re aiming to lose weight it’s a different story. In that case, reducing snacking between meals to a minimum may be the best option.

As always, aim to eat when you’re hungry. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry.

Salt, reward and how to avoid a nut binge

Nuts are so tasty and good, that they may be easy to over consume, especially salted varieties.

Adding salt to nuts makes them significantly more rewarding and, for many people, almost addictive.

This can lead to eating far more than you need to feel satiated

Eating too many nuts, especially with higher carb counts, can seriously slow down weight loss.

Here are some tips to help control consumption, if you need them:

  • Select the amount you want to eat.
  • Put the nuts in a small bowl – don’t eat out of the full bag or container.
  • Preferably don’t mindlessly munch nuts while in front of the TV, watching a movie, reading or doing another activity that has most of your attention. Aim to instead enjoy them deliberately and mindfully.
  • Cut back on nuts if you find your weight loss is stalling, and make them an occasional indulgence.