Protein, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates are essential macronutrients on a ketogenic diet. And there are many plant or animal-derived sources to choose from on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
And while it's possible to get your nutrients from various foods, low-carb nuts are the perfect little pods that deliver all the primary macros—in some cases with loads of fiber.
Plus, walnuts or pecans can serve as a faux meat base for those of you eating a vegetarian or vegan keto diet. It's a great foundation to make burgers, paté, or keto-friendly hummus.
Also, some may feel cautious about consuming nuts if their goal is weight loss, but no need to fear. Eating low-carb nuts can aid in curbing your appetite, making you much less likely to overeat.
Plus, the appetite regulation experienced by many who include nuts in their meal plan may result in more sustained and effortless weight loss for the following reasons:
- The thermogenic effect created when digesting nuts gives a boost to the metabolism.
- However, the limited bioavailability of raw nuts results in the body's ability to absorb only a portion of the energy provided by these precious pods.
- Plus, the intense feelings of satiety provided by nuts help offset their energy (caloric) impact on the body.
- Plus, nuts contain loads of nutrients, like copper and manganese, that support many functions in the body and may promote weight loss.
- However, as is the case with deciding which foods to eat on keto, there are ideal and less beneficial selections.
The Best Nuts For Weight Loss
Walnuts (1oz) - 185 calories | 18.5 grams of fat | 4.3 grams of protein | 3.9 grams of carbohydrates | 1.9 grams of fiber | 2 grams net carbs: Top a coconut yogurt parfait or a colorful salad with a sprinkling of these nutrient-dense nuts.
Walnuts are one of nature's best sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, making up about 72% of the nut's overall fat content.
Although eating a ketogenic diet may help bring your nutritional plan sharply into focus, many in Western culture consume large amounts of highly processed foods loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, leading to increased levels of inflammation.
Eating a meal plan higher in omega-3s is even more critical to offset the impact of some of the packaged or keto-friendly fast foods that may contain questionable oils or other ingredients with the potential to derail your wellness efforts.
Brazil Nuts (1oz) | 187 calories | 19 grams of fat | 4.1 grams of protein | 3.3 grams of carbohydrates | 2.1 grams of fiber | 1.2 gram net carbs: These sizable nuts are an excellent option if you'd like to lose weight as they contain the metabolism-boosting mineral, selenium.
Six nuts provide almost 10x the daily recommended dose!
Selenium is a vital mineral to consume as it regulates thyroid function, DNA synthesis and aids in supporting metabolic health thanks to the crucial role it plays in thyroid health.
Almonds (1oz) | 170 calories | 14.9 grams of fat | 5.9 grams of protein | 6 grams of carbohydrates | 3.1 grams of fiber | 2.9 grams net carbs: Lactose intolerant followers of the keto diet may already adore almonds. The lovely milk alternative they produce is easy to make at home, and its neutral flavor and dairy-free status make it an excellent option for those with lactose sensitivity.
Plus, snacking on almonds is the perfect way to add some lean protein to your meal plan; a handful is filling, and they're easy to eat on the go.
Plus, almonds contain a significant amount of vitamin E and magnesium, which aid in achieving restful sleep, improve your body’s insulin response, and promote healthy weight loss.
Macadamia Nuts (1oz) | 204 calories | 21.5 grams of fat | 2 grams of protein | 3.5 grams of carbohydrates | 2.5 grams of fiber| 1 gram net carbs: Eating dairy-free cheeses and yogurts is a fantastic keto option.
Whether you can stomach lactose, the richness and creaminess of nuts, like macadamia nuts create mouthwatering selections to expand your food choices.
Plus, macadamia nuts are nutritional powerhouses, brimming with monounsaturated fat (MUFAs). And MUFAs boost the body's post-meal thermogenic effect—firing up your system's metabolic engine to encourage more rapid weight loss after eating.
Hazelnuts (1oz) | 183 calories | 17.7 grams of fat | 4.3 grams of protein | 5 grams of carbohydrates | 2.7 gram of fiber | 2.3 grams net carbs: Like cashews, hazelnuts provide a significant amount of copper, with an ounce providing approximately a quarter of your body's daily needs.
Plus, hazelnuts are rich in manganese, which helps support proper thyroid and metabolic function to reset your natural appetite.
Plus, early research looks positive regarding hazelnut’s beneficial impact on insulin regulation to prevent metabolic disorders like insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
Pili Nuts (1oz) 204 calories | 22.6 grams of fat | 3.1 grams of protein | 1.1 grams of carbohydrates | 1.1 grams net carbs: Enjoy these buttery nuts—probably the most keto-friendly option ever—to support healthy bones thanks to their abundance of manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and calcium.
Plus, add a sprinkling of Himalayan sea salt, and it's the perfect mineral-rich midday snack.
Also, grind these nuts into smooth and creamy nut butter for added magnesium in your meal plan; it contains the most of any nut!
Also, the pili nut deserves its kudos for the many other health benefits it provides. Here are some fantastic side effects attributed to eating the delicious and nutritious pili nut:
- Use your food to fight disease with anti-inflammatory nuts like the pili. The antioxidants within these pods do their job by neutralizing or eliminating the degenerative threat of free radicals and oxidative stress.
- The rich omega-3 content in pili nuts is priceless in its ability to reduce harmful LDL levels to prevent heart conditions like atherosclerosis and major, often terminal, events like heart attacks or strokes.
- Boosting ketone levels is a fantastic way to keep your cognitive function and brain health in tip-top shape. Add pili nuts, and you double the benefit to your neurological and brain function support.
Pine Nuts (1oz) | 191 calories | 19.4 grams of fat | 3.9 grams of protein | 3.7 grams of carbohydrates | 1 gram of fiber | 2.7 grams of net carbs: The earthy and distinct flavor of the pili nut gives savory pesto it's unmistakable taste. Plus, in addition to tasting incredible, they contain a fat called pinolenic acid, which may reduce hunger by balancing hormones that affect appetite.
As a side note, we recommend using higher carb nuts, like cashews and pistachios sparingly to make sure you do not exceed your daily carb limit.
The Health Benefits of Eating Nuts
Snacking on nuts or nut butter is a fantastic way to achieve satiety and curb the appetite, but they offer additional health benefits as well.
In addition to promoting satiety and appetite control, eating nuts may benefit your health in the following ways:
- Anti-inflammatory: aids in reducing oxidative stress in the body.
- It helps lower triglycerides to prevent pancreatic and liver disorders.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol levels, offsetting it with high HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels.
- Consuming nuts helps to reduce blood pressure.
- Eating nuts can keep blood fluid, preventing clots.
- The vitamins and trace minerals found in nuts can also improve the lining of your arteries and promote overall heart health.
While nuts provide many benefits, there are a few points to consider when eating them.
- Portion out your nuts: It's easy to down hundreds of calories in a few handfuls of fatty nuts without realizing it. Of course, we want to consume healthy fat on keto, but it's still essential to monitor your macros if you want to lose weight.
- Make sure all you're eating is nuts: Avoid packaged trail mixes that may contain hidden sugars or other subpar ingredients. Make an easy homemade trail mix option instead; Pinterest is littered with creative options.
- Nuts are abundant in various vitamins and minerals, and it's best to eat different low-carb nuts as a part of your diet to provide your body with a broader spectrum of nutrients.
- Although nuts contain nutrients, they also cause allergic reactions for some, so beware. Plus, nuts contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient known to cause digestive issues that can lead to lowered levels of mineral absorption—often resulting in deficiencies in calcium, iron, and zinc.
There are many tasty keto recipes to make featuring a variety of low-carb nuts. From keto granola to brittle or an enhancement in a quick bread, they're marvelous dietary additions.
- Set aside a little time during meal prep to make a yummy batch of No-Bake Chocolate "Oat" Bars to enjoy for breakfast or a satisfying, portable snack.
- Enjoy a delicious and moderately sweet Keto Almond Cake with a cup of MCT-infused tea or coffee; it's the perfect complement to a cozy evening at home.
- Use some creamy nut butter for baking a chocolatey batch of keto brownies. And add some nuts to the mix to boost the taste and texture for an extra special treat.
- A hefty dollop of nut butter is the key ingredient for our favorite Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Shake. Plus, the protein will make you feel full much longer.
- Summer is sizzling, but some Fall classics transcend seasons. Bake a comforting loaf of Keto Pumpkin Walnut Bread for a significant dose of vitamin A while satisfying your sweet tooth.
- Homemade keto granola, chock full of walnuts, pecans, flaxseeds, and other low-carb goodies is a perfect snack to enjoy atop some sugar-free yogurt with active cultures to boost gut health.
- Eating keto doesn't mean denying yourself sweet treats, quite the opposite. Bake a tray of keto sugar cookies and warm some sugar-free hot chocolate, and snuggle up to a good book for the evening.
Plus, it's easy to make an array of nut milk at home in your high-speed blender; it's fresher and preservative-free. Experiment with including hemp, chia, and flaxseeds into your milk blends, as well, for a boost of nutrition.
And there are a ton of other recipes using nuts to consume on a low-carb, high-fat diet. Here are a few creative ideas:
- Brown Butter Roasted Nuts: Toss some walnuts or pecans in your favorite honey substitute—Pyure and Sukrin offer tasty options—along with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika for a sweet, spicy and savory snack.
- Keto-friendly 'Candied' Nuts: Flavor your nuts with a honey replacement or simple keto syrup for a caramelized sweet and salty treat.
- Keto Nut Clusters: Whether you prefer chocolate-covered nut clusters or choose nut-butter truffle clusters, they're a fantastic fat bomb to help you hit your macros while quelling your sweet tooth in the ketosphere.
- 'Chex Mix' Roasted Walnuts: Put together a salty and savory keto take on the popular Chex Mix trail blend, it's great to bring with you on the go, so you always have a low-carb snack within reach.
- Keto Buffalo Roasted Nuts: Frank's Hot Sauce kicks up the flavor in party wings, and it plays the same role in these savory and spicy roasted nuts. Add cayenne, salt, and decadent butter, and you have yourself a mouthwatering, keto-conscious snack.
We can choose from many plant-based or animal-derived fats and proteins to stay satisfied on a ketogenic diet. Incorporating nuts as a healthy source of crucial macros is a fantastic way to boost nutrition while mitigating inflammation and aiding in sustainable weight loss.
Eating nuts is an excellent option on keto, but remember that macros still matter, especially if you're trying to shed pounds. So, weigh and portion out your nuts rather than eating out of the bag to avoid unintentional caloric splurges that can stall or setback your hard-earned wellness gains.
With the right nut selections, a balanced meal plan, and an active lifestyle, your keto journey will continue to return successes and benefits for many years to come.
- Ros, E., & Sala-Vila, A. (2020). Nuts and Brain Health. Health Benefits of Nuts and Dried Fruits, 261–288. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315173337-12
- Figueiredo, M. S. (2019). Consumption of Brazil Nuts Provides Cardiovascular Health Benefits. International Journal of Cardiovascular Sciences. https://doi.org/10.5935/2359-4802.20190037
- Neale, E. P., & Tapsell, L. C. (2020). Nuts in Healthy Dietary Patterns and Dietary Guidelines. Health Benefits of Nuts and Dried Fruits, 289–312. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315173337-13
- Antioxidants in Vegetables and Nuts - Properties and Health Benefits. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7470-2
- Freisling, H., & Noh, H. (2020). Nut Consumption and Cancer. Health Benefits of Nuts and Dried Fruits, 223–246. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315173337-10
- Ternus, M., Lapsley, K., & Geiger, C. (2008). Health Benefits of Tree Nuts. Tree Nuts. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781420019391.ch3
- Nishi, S. K., Viguiliouk, E., Mejia, S. B., Jenkins, D. J. A., Sievenpiper, J. L., & Kendall, C. W. C. (2020). Nuts in the Prevention and Management of Diabetes. Health Benefits of Nuts and Dried Fruits, 181–222. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315173337-9