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 of the picture.
The numbers above the nuts represent the amount of net carbs in 100 grams, or 3½ ounces. The numbers in green are keto approved and the numbers in red are the ones you want to avoid.
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:
30 Brazil nuts
30 walnuts or 60 walnut halves
half a cup of peanuts
1/3 cup of pine nuts
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 group in the middle are not great 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. Just two handfuls — about 40 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. This is fine if you’re eating them when you’re hungry and need energy. 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 reduce 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 taste really good, they are easy to over consume, especially salted varieties. Adding salt to nuts make 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 in front of the TV, watching a movie, while 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.
Top 7 Keto Nuts
Here’s our list of the top 7 keto nuts, ranked by the amount of carbs.
Pecan nuts – 100 g (3½ ounces or about three handfuls) contains 4 grams of net carbs.
Brazil nuts – 100 g contains 4 grams of net carbs.
Macadamia – 100 g contains 5 grams of net carbs.
Peanuts – 100 g contains 7 grams of net carbs.
Hazel nuts – 100 g contains 7 grams of net carbs.
Walnuts – 100 g contains 7 grams of net carbs.
Almonds – 100 g contains 10 grams of net carbs. Almonds can also be ground into almond flour. Its neutral flavor makes it a good substitute for high-carb flours, and it’s used in many keto recipes for bread or even pizza.