Let’s start with a simple question...
True or False: I can implement a ketogenic diet eating only carbohydrates.
If you guessed false, I don’t blame you. But the answer is actually true. And that’s because a ketogenic diet is any diet that causes your body to produce a significant amount of ketones. So despite popular belief, you can actually get away with a 100% carb-based ketogenic diet - but you’ll have to SEVERELY limit your calories.
Just how much? Well...start with 200 calories per day and work your way down. Or, don’t do that at all. And instead, do what smart people do...
Choose a ketogenic diet that actually works long-term.
Pictured: Your all-carb ketogenic diet. This should last you a week :)
The ideal long-term ketogenic diet is high in fat, adequate in protein, and very low in digestible carbs. This kind of diet allows you to enjoy delicious foods and sufficient calories - all while minimizing blood sugar and enjoying all the lifelong benefits of a ketogenic diet!
And if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious food that works well with any keto diet, then look no further than nature’s very own...nuts!
Pictured: A much more enjoyable ketogenic diet.
Are Nuts Keto?
If you’re reading this, you may know that we have an entire product line of delicious flavored nuts and nut butters. And that alone may allow you to conclude that nuts are OK to eat on a ketogenic diet.
But if you want to know why nuts are a great food to eat on keto, then you’re in luck. Because I’m about to break it down for you.
Nuts Are Naturally High in Fat
Nuts are naturally high in healthy fats - with the majority of calories in a serving of nuts coming from fat. For example, a typical 1oz serving of cashews has 156 calories and 12g of total fat. That means that 108 of the 156 total calories come from fat - making cashews roughly 69% fat by calories. That’s the same percentage of fat by calories as 80/20 beef - which is often a staple of many ketogenic dieters.
The high-fat quality of nuts is partly what makes them an amazing option for anyone looking for a keto snack. But it’s not the only reason...
Nuts are Fairly Low in Carbohydrates
While the amount of carbs per serving varies among different types of nuts, the overall carb count is typically low enough to make them a great food for any keto dieter. However, nuts do have some digestible carbs - so you’ll need to watch your intake if you’re looking to maximize your ketones.
For example, that same 1oz serving of cashews mentioned above has 6g net carbs per serving. And while 1 serving won’t have nearly enough carbs to kick you out of ketosis, 5-6 servings might. So it’s worth mentioning that you can’t eat cashews all day and expect to remain in ketosis.
Pictured: the correct cashew serving size to stay in ketosis.
Nuts are Low in Protein
There are different theories on protein intake with ketogenic diets, and I do believe that the right amount of protein for you depends on your exact situation. For instance, if you’re trying to build muscle on keto - you’ll want a higher protein intake than keto dieters who aren’t training as hard - typically 1.0 - 2.0 grams per pound of body weight.
But whatever your protein preference, you won’t have to worry about overdoing it with nuts. And that’s because nuts are naturally pretty low in protein. As we’ll see from breaking down the macros of various nuts below, most nuts have just 3-5g of protein per 1oz serving. Making protein a non-issue when it comes to eating nuts on a ketogenic diet.
So...Are Nuts Keto?
Taken together, it’s easy to see that 2 things are true:
1. Nuts are generally OK on a ketogenic diet; and 2. This isn’t as straightforward a question as you might think. And that’s because whether a nut is keto or not depends entirely on the type of nut you’re eating and how big the serving size is. You need to treat nuts like any other food on a ketogenic diet - and incorporate their macros into the target macronutrient breakdown of your diet plan.
So before you go crazy and snack on handfuls of nuts all day, read our complete breakdown below to learn what nuts are best on keto - and what nuts you’ll want to consume in moderation.
What Nuts Are Best for Keto?
To make things easy, we’ll analyze each nut based on nutrition facts from nutritionvalue.org - and we’ll place each nut into 2 different categories:
Best nuts for keto
Nuts to enjoy in moderation on keto
In the first category, we’ll outline the best nuts to eat on a ketogenic diet. These nuts are high in fat and comparatively lower in carbohydrates compared to other nuts - which means they can be great worry-free options on a ketogenic diet.. And we’ll start with my personal favorite...macadamia nuts!
Best Nuts for Keto
Macadamia Nuts: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw macadamia nuts:
Net Carbs: 2g
Macadamia nuts are very high in fat and very low in protein and digestible carbs. They also contain important micronutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Together, these qualities make macadamia nuts a great food option for anyone on a ketogenic diet.
Pecans: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw pecans:
Net Carbs: 1g
Based on these numbers, it’s clear to see that pecans are a great food for anyone eating a ketogenic diet. They are extremely high in fat as a percentage of total calories, and the net carb value is even LOWER than macadamia nuts! Which means, you can enjoy these nuts worry-free on a keto diet.
Almonds: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw almonds:
Net Carbs: 3g
Don’t be discouraged by the higher protein and (slightly) higher carb value. Almonds are still a great food to incorporate on a ketogenic diet.
Almonds have been connected in research studies to a wide variety of health benefits. And the higher protein value could be an added benefit for anyone looking to build muscle on keto. And if you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to incorporate almonds into YOUR diet, you’re in luck. Try some of our delicious flavored almonds and almond butters today!
Walnuts: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw walnuts:
Net Carbs: 1g
Walnuts are very high in fat and very low in digestible carbs - with only 1g net carb per serving! Feel free to indulge your walnut cravings on keto.
Hazelnuts: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw hazelnuts:
Net Carbs: 1g
Hazelnuts are very similar to walnuts in their macronutrient breakdown. And just like walnuts, they’re a superb food choice for keto dieters! Just make sure you’re not eating chocolate-covered hazelnuts or (intentionally) fooling yourself with the nutella spread.
H2: Nuts to Enjoy in Moderation on Keto
While we wouldn’t call these nuts the “most keto” nuts in existence, they are still completely fine to eat on a ketogenic diet. You’ll just want to make sure you follow our guidance and consume these nuts in relative moderation. Again...we’ll start with one of my personal favorites :)
Cashews: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw cashews:
Net Carbs: 6g
While the carb count is comparatively higher than the “best” keto nuts, cashews are still a great snack option for keto dieters. You just need to keep your servings to a minimum so you’re not eating too many carbs.
Or...you can take the guesswork out of it and try some of our tasty flavored cashew nut butters - like our Apple Pie Flavored Almond + Cashew Butter!
I can personally attest to the unbelievable deliciousness of this product - as I’m eating a squeeze pack while writing this now. And with just 4g net carbs per serving, I don’t need to worry about weighing out handfuls of nuts! :)
Pine Nuts: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw pine nuts:
Net Carbs: 3g
Pine nuts aren’t the most exciting food. But with just 3g net carbs per serving, pine nuts are a real keto food to enjoy in moderation.
Pistachios: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw pistachios:
Net Carbs: 4g
As you can see, the net carb amount is a bit higher than most other nuts on this list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some pistachios on a ketogenic diet. And here’s some good news - research has shown that having to de-shell pistachios can decrease consumption by up to 41%!
Peanuts: Macro Breakdown
Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 1oz serving of raw peanuts:
Net Carbs: 2g
Don’t let the protein scare you. Peanuts are the perfect addition to any keto diet. And if you’re looking for an AMAZING keto peanut snack, check out our Chocolate Banana Flavored Peanut Spread. It’s my favorite Legendary nut butter, and despite my general reluctance toward absolute certainty, I’m 100% positive that you’ll enjoy it! :)
H2: How to Eat Nuts on Keto
By now it should be clear to you that yes - you can eat nuts on keto. You just need to be smart about it. And by that I mean: you need to keep these simple tips in mind…
Control your Portions
If your preference is to eat handfuls of raw or salted nuts, be sure to keep track of just how much you’re eating and track this along with your total macros. You could weigh the nuts beforehand, but something about that just doesn’t seem fun. Instead, try pre-portioning nuts into snack sizes to enjoy when you feel like it. Or try our pre-packaged flavored nuts and nut butters.
Beware of Hidden Ingredients
If you’re buying a pre-packaged brand of nut or nut butter that isn’t Legendary Foods, then we can’t guarantee that it’s keto. Always check the nutrition facts panel on any pre-packaged product.
If there’s one thing the food industry does well, it’s hide sugar and carbs where you’d least expect them. So...always be on the lookout for foods that can spike blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis. Which leads us to our final point...
Count Your Carbs
It’s easy to see a snack with even 6g net carbs per serving and think, “it’s only 6g! I can eat this on keto!”. And for the most part, you’d be right. But when you’re restricting carbs to the level that many of us do on a keto diet - oftentimes around 30g per day - it’s easy for these low carb snacks to add up.
When eating a ketogenic diet, there’s nothing more important than monitoring carbs. And you have more freedom than you think on protein intake - especially if you’re regularly engaging in intense exercise. But if you overdo it on carbs, you’ll spike your blood sugar and exit the blissful state of ketosis.
So yes...nuts are among the many foods that are OK to eat on a ketogenic diet. They’re high in fat, and typically very low in protein and carbs. Which makes them an excellent keto snack for anyone on a ketogenic diet.
But like all foods on keto - be sure to remember the all-important mantra that will successfully guide your keto life…
I want to eat keto. I must keep carbs low.
Stay Legendary :)