17 Best Keto Nuts and Seeds for Those on Keto and Low-Carb Diets

Updated: May 12, 2020

In a rush? Here's the ranking of the best keto nuts and seeds -- below we'll provide you with supporting information, recipes to get them into your diet outside of general snacking, and more pros and cons of each nut.

Best and Worst Nuts for Keto Ranked


Jump To:  best keto nuts  |  best keto seeds  |  nutritional information  |  health benefits  |  moderation  |  recipes  |  FAQs


Nuts can be a vital part of a keto lifestyle–but you have to choose the right kind. Nuts are typically high in protein and the good kind of fat, but some have more net carbs than others. As you might expect, nuts with the lowest carb count are the most suitable choices on a keto diet. In addition, the higher the fiber count of the nut or seed, the better it is for a low carb diet

The best keto nuts have about half of their total carbs occurring as fiber–which won't increase your blood sugar, helping you stay in ketosis (this is referred to as net carbs). To calculate the net carbs of any food, simply subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs. The lower that number is, the more low-carb, and keto-friendly, the food, or in this case, nut, is. 

Those new to a ketogenic diet often ask if cashews are keto-friendlyCashews and pistachios are prime examples two nuts, that while quite tasty, don't fit into a keto meal plan. Cashews and pistachios come in at 22 and 15 grams of carbs respectively, which is usually too high to reach or maintain a state of ketosis as they don't have enough off-setting fiber to reduce their net carb count.

The best keto-friendly nuts to eat:

1. Pecans Pecans   
1g net carbs per ounce | learn more
2. Brazil Nuts Brazil Nuts   
1g net carbs per ounce | learn more
3. Macadamia Nuts Macadamia Nuts   
2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
4. Walnuts Walnuts   
2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
5. Hazelnuts Hazelnuts   
2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
6. Almonds Almonds   
3g net carbs per ounce | read more
7. Pine Nuts Pine Nuts   
3g net carbs per ounce | learn more
8. Peanuts Peanuts   
4g net carbs per ounce | learn more
9. Pili Nuts Pili Nuts   
1.1g net carbs per ounce | learn more


Only consider eating these in moderation due to high carbs:

10. Pistachios Pistachios   
5.8g per ounce |
 learn more
11. Cashews Cashews   
8.4g per ounce |
 learn more

 

The best keto-friendly seeds to eat:

1. Chia Seeds Chia Seeds   
2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
2. Flax Seeds Flax Seeds   
0.2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
3. Sesame Seeds Sesame Seeds   
2g net carbs per ounce | learn more
4. Sunflower Seeds Sunflower Seeds   
4g net carbs per ounce | learn more
5. White Pumpkin Seeds Pumpkin Seeds   
2.4g net carbs per ounce | learn more
6. Hemp Seeds Hemp Seeds   
1.4g net carbs per ounce | learn more

 

 

This guide will recommend the best nuts for keto dieters (Harvard called out almonds and walnuts)–and how they can impact your diet in a positive way. However, remember that serving size matters just as much as the nutrition facts of any type of nut. While you typically don't need to count calories on a keto diet, keep in mind that a serving size is about one to one and a half ounces. 

Some of the best nuts and seeds for keto dieters in one shot:

Keep this handy image printed on your fridge or pantry to remind yourself which nuts and seeds to go for!

Reminder: Net carbs are the carbohydrates which are absorbed by your body. To calculate net carbs in whole foods, subtract fiber from total carbs. To calculate net carbs in processed foods, subtract fiber and some of the sugar alcohols from total carbs.

The Best Keto-Friendly Nuts, Ranked with Extra Insights:

1. Pecans

Pecans, a tree nut, are an excellent choice on a keto diet because they only have four grams of carbs and one gram of net carbs per serving. They also may lower your insulin levels, which helps keep your body from storing fat–which is outstanding news if you're trying to lose weight.

Enjoy these high-fat nuts alone as a snack, crush them up in a keto-friendly chicken salad, or put them in a food processor and dress fish or chicken in crushed pecans for a low-carb coating. 

Pecan Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1-ounce pecan halves
  • Calories: 196
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Net Carbs: 1 gram per ounce serving

Buy them on Amazon here.

2. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts come from trees found in South America and they have a plethora of keto-friendly health benefits. They contain significant amounts of healthy fats–and selenium, which aids in reproductive functions and protein synthesis. Some studies even suggest that a keto lifestyle may promote selenium deficiency

One single brazil nut has 100% of the daily value of selenium and one serving has just three carbs, making it an excellent snack choice. Like most nuts, they are highly portable, so stow them away for a nutritious pick-me-up on a busy day. 

Brazil Nut Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 ounce
  • Calories: 185
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Net Carbs: 1 gram per ounce serving

Brazil Nut Cautions:

The most common side effects of eating too many Brazil nuts are hair loss, brittle hair and nails, and overly dry skin. If you really overeat these nuts, you could risk selenium toxicity, or selenosis (source). Most likely, to get to this level, you are both eating Brazil nuts and taking a supplement with high levels of selenium. Roughly 5,000mcg (equivalent of about 50 nuts)of selenium could cause toxicity, which can lead to trouble breathing, kidney failure, or heart attack. 

Brazil Nut Facts:

Most Brazil nuts don't come from Brazil but rather from Bolivia.

Buy them on Amazon here.

3. Macadamia Nuts

This tree nut comes from Australia mostly. They're very high in fat, which makes them a great choice for keto dieters. They also only contain four grams of carbs and two grams of net carbs–keeping your carb count low so you can reach or maintain ketosis. These are very healthy nuts!

Furthermore, some studies suggest macadamia nuts promote healthy cholesterol levels. One study even found that men with a diet containing 15% macadamia nuts for four weeks reduced their LDL cholesterol levels by 5.3 percent and increased their HDL levels by eight percent.

Eat them alone, mix them into a keto-approved trail mix, or buy macadamia nut milk, macadamia flour, macadamia butter to use in your favorite recipes. 

Please note: macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs - so please don't share them with your four-legged friends!

Macadamia Nut Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 35 nuts
  • Calories: 190
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams (75% is monounsaturated fats, which are healthy!)
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Net Carbs: 2 grams per ounce serving

Macadamia Nut Recipes:

Cookies

Nut Butters

Salads

Buy them on Amazon here.

    4. Almonds

    Did you know almonds aren't actually classified as a nut? They're actually seeds from a Mediterranean drupe fruit. They are full of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin E, and zinc–plus, they have a mere five grams of carbs and offer 20% of your daily value of folate, choline, and potassium, making them a powerhouse keto "nut!" 

    Most people enjoy almonds roasted and salted, raw, or blanched. Keep in mind, a lot of the antioxidants found in almonds are in the skin, so don't remove it. You can also buy almond flour and use it in many recipes that call for traditional white or wheat flour. 

    Almond Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 23 almonds are in one ounce
    • Calories: 168
    • Fiber: 3.5 grams
    • Fat: 15 grams
    • Protein: 6 grams
    • Net Carbs: 3 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    5. Walnuts

    Similar to chia seeds, walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can regulate testosterone levels, reduce inflammation, boost brain function, and lower your risk for heart disease. While they have a fairly high fat content, they've also been found to be helpful for dieters aiming to lose weight. One trial even showed that those who consumed 30 grams of walnuts daily had the most significant weight loss–and were better at avoiding unhealthy food choices. 

    SuperFat Keto Walnut Brownies

    They only have 3.8 grams of carbs per serving, so eat them plain or try baking them right into these decadent keto-friendly brownies

    Walnut Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1/4 cup, shelled (about 7 nuts)
    • Calories: 183
    • Fiber: 2 grams
    • Fat: 18 grams
    • Protein: 4.3 grams
    • Net Carbs: 2 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    6. Hazelnuts

    There's more to hazelnuts than making it into Nutella. If you don't mix them with chocolate and sugar, they're actually quite appropriate on a keto diet. Hazelnuts only have five grams of carbs and are proven to lower the total cholesterol levels while supporting HDL levels. 

    You can enjoy their buttery flavor plain–but they also make a tasty low-carb dessert when you mix them with high-quality dark chocolate. Hazelnut flour is also a great choice to use as a traditional flour alternative. 

    Hazelnut Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 21 kernels
    • Calories: 178
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Fat: 17 grams
    • Protein: 4 grams
    • Net Carbs: 2 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    7. Pine Nuts

    While pine nuts (also known as pignolias) come in at a slightly higher carb count of six grams, they can still fit into a keto lifestyle–in moderation. Pine nuts have their perks–they are antioxidant-rich–and are shown to help suppress your appetite, reduce menstrual cramps, boost circulation, and improve your body's blood clotting function. 

    Use pine nuts to enhance some of your common household meals, such as veggie noodles and chicken, or add them to a keto pesto sauce. You can also enjoy them roasted and salted, or raw by themselves. 

    Pine Nut Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 ounce
    • Calories: 198
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Fat: 19 grams
    • Protein: 4 grams
    • Net Carbs: 3 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

     

    8. Peanuts

    The peanut, also known as goobergroundnut, or monkey nutis actually not a nut, but a legume. But since peanuts share many characteristics with nuts and because many of us share a love for peanuts, let’s cover them anyway.

    Peanut Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 ounce
    • Calories: 161
    • Fiber: 2.4 grams
    • Fat: 14 grams
    • Protein: 7.3 grams
    • Net Carbs: 4 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

     

    9. Pili Nuts

    Canarium ovatum, better known as the pili nut, is relatively unknown in most parts of the world. This nut is native to the oceanic regions of Southeast Asia, where locals often serve them as a sugar-coated, deep-fried dessert.

    Pili nuts have a unique taste. Eaten raw, they come across as a mix between cashews and macadamias, but with a richer flavor.

    Pili Nut Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 ounce (about 15 kernals)
    • Calories: 204
    • Fiber: 0 grams
    • Fat: 22.6 grams
    • Protein: 3.1 grams
    • Net Carbs: 1.1 grams per ounce serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

     

    Nuts to Probably Avoid on Keto:

    10. Cashews & 11. Pistachios

    In case you missed it in the introduction, cashews and pistachios are two types of nuts which are typically not recommended for folks on the ketogenic diet. They have 22 and 15 grams of carbs respectively which is usually too high to maintain a state of ketosis. So while most nuts will work (in moderation) aim to avoid cashews or pistachios. Readers on reddit even lament cashews being poor keto options as well.

    Keto-Friendly Seeds Ranked with Extra Insights:

    1. Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds are plant-based seeds that are 60% fat and packed with omega-3 fats, iron, and fiber–plus they are known to have anti-inflammatory benefits and promote weight loss. At 12 grams of carbs and two grams of net carbs per serving, they are perfectly suitable for a low-carb diet. While people don't normally eat these tiny black or white seeds alone, they are popular in many snack options. 

    If you want to incorporate chia seeds into a tasty low-carb snack, try making chia seed pudding by soaking the seeds in liquid for several hours until they become jelly-like in texture. Here are some excellent keto chia pudding recipes to try! 

    SuperFat Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

    You can also toss chia seeds into low-carb smoothies or protein shakes or use them in keto crackers. 

    Chia Seed Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
    • Calories: 138
    • Fiber: 10 grams
    • Fat: 9 grams
    • Protein: 3 grams
    • Net Carbs: 2 grams per serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    2. Flax Seeds

    While 100 grams of flax seeds have about 8.2 grams of total carbs, they have very high in fiber (7.7 grams), giving them a net carb count of only 0.4 grams. They contain a type of fiber called lignans that has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids so many nuts offer. 

    There's no shortage of ways to reap the benefits of flaxseed by adding it to many of the foods you eat on a regular basis. Add a tablespoon to unsweetened yogurt or mix right into your keto-friendly baked goods. 

    Flax Seed Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 tablespoon
    • Calories: 55
    • Fiber: 2.8 grams
    • Fat: 4.3 grams
    • Protein: 2 grams
    • Net Carbs: 0.2 grams per serving

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    3. Sesame Seeds

     

    Sesame seeds are more commonly used as additions to meals than as snacks in their own right - but regardless, they provide quality fat and fiber with minimal net carbs.

    Sesame Seed Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 ounce
    • Calories: 160
    • Fiber: 5 grams
    • Fat: 13 grams
    • Protein: 5 grams
    • Net Carbs: 2 grams per ounce

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    4. Sunflower Seeds

    Like pine nuts, sunflower seeds also weigh in at six grams of carbs, but they definitely have their place, even in a low carb diet. They are chock full of vitamin E, phenolic acids, and flavonoids–which can help prevent diabetes and are have natural anti-inflammatory properties. 

    Traditionally, people eat sunflower seeds alone, but there are many ways to enjoy them. Skip the croutons and top a green, leafy salad with mozzarella cheese, diced bacon, and sunflower seeds. You can also buy sunflower seed butter at most health stores, which is a great alternative to peanut butter

    Sunflower Seed Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1 ounce
    • Calories: 198
    • Fiber: 2 grams
    • Fat: 14 grams
    • Protein: 6 grams
    • Net Carbs: 4 grams per ounce

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    5. Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds are also often called pepitas. They're a fantastic keto seed because they only have three grams of carbs and offer 23 percent of your daily intake of iron and 37 percent of the recommended amount of magnesium you should consume. 

    They also help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. For instance, one 12-week study examined participants with severe kidney disease and found a significant improvement in the participant's blood sugar, triglycerides, and insulin levels when they ate one ounce of pumpkin seeds daily. 

    SuperFat Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

    You can buy them pre-packaged at the grocery store or make them on your own. If you make them at home, simply scoop them out of a pumpkin, rinse the seeds well, and sprinkle them with your favorite seasonings such as garlic salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 400 F. Enjoy! 

    Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts

    • Serving size: 1/4 cup
    • Calories: 180
    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Fat: 14 grams
    • Protein: 9 grams
    • Net Carbs: 2.4 grams per ounce

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    6. Hemp Seeds

    These are another option which typically get mentioned and you could consider if you're not a fan of any of the seeds above as well. See their nutritional information here. Reports show they can potentially help with a variety of health conditions such as high blood pressure (source), and neuro-degenerative diseases.

    Buy them on Amazon here.

    An Easy Way to Get Macadamia Nuts in Your Diet Anywhere, Anytime:

    SuperFat Nut Butters

    If you're a fan of nuts and seeds, chances are you'll love the convenience and keto-approved nutrition of nut butter. They are made with plant-based fats, have zero added sugar, and are certified vegan, keto and paleo superfoods. They are also gluten-free, kosher, and verified non-GMO. Plus, you can easily take them anywhere on the go to fuel your workouts, use as a meal replacement on a busy day, or use in smoothies and recipes. 

    Delicious, creamy nut butters also come in an array of flavors that only include natural ingredients such as macadamia, almonds, coconut, cacao, cinnamon, pink Himalayan salt, and coffee. 

    They even contain MCT oil, which supports your metabolism and brain function–and probiotics to power your day and keep you healthy. Here are the basic nutrition facts for macadamia coconut nut butter: 

    • Serving size: 1 pouch
    • Calories: 270
    • Carbs: 8 grams
    • Fiber: 5 grams
    • Fat: 27 grams
    • Protein: 6 grams
    • Net Carbs: 3 grams

    Nut butters, like SuperFat's will also contain monounsaturated fatty acids, and small amounts of polyunsaturated fats as well from the nuts and other ingredients; both of which are good for your heart health.

    You can buy our nut butters on Amazon here, and yes, they're Prime-able.

    Health Benefits of Nuts by Diet/Person

    Research shows that nuts support healthy body weight, enhance cardiovascular health, and may even help you live longer.(1)(2)(3)

    Before we talk about how nuts differ from one another, let’s explore their nutritional benefits across the board. Protein, healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E…those are just some of the beneficial nutrients with which nuts are packed.

    That’s why it’s no surprise that nuts are linked to many health benefits, including:

    Healthy Body Weight
      • Even though nuts are calorie-dense, they don’t tend to cause weight gain. Here’s what a 2013 meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded:
      • Compared with control diets, diets enriched with nuts did not increase body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference in controlled clinical trials.”
      Reduced Appetite and Increased Satiety
      • The primary reason why nuts don’t raise body weight is that they’re excellent at curbing hunger.
      • A 2014 review study concluded that "nuts are not associated with predicted weight gain. . . . largely due to their high satiety value, leading to strong compensatory dietary responses.”
      • In other words, because nuts are filling, you’re less likely to overeat other foods, causing you to ingest fewer calories.
      • Case in point: one study found that when participants snacked on peanuts, they automatically ate fewer calories later in the day.
      Increased Life Expectancy
      • The more often people eat nuts, the lower their risk of early death. That’s what researchers found by evaluating data on 118,962 participants involved in two large, independent cohort studies.
      • The researchers from the same study also found that daily nut-eaters were 20% less likely to die an early death compared to nut-avoiders during the 30-year study period.
      Reduced Inflammation
      • Nuts contain potent anti-inflammatory properties, which is one reason why they may boost life expectancy.
      • Researchers found that a 12-month Mediterranean diet incorporating 30 grams of nuts each day lowered C-reactive protein levels by 95% and interleukin 6 by 90%.
      • C-reactive protein and interleukin are inflammation markers, and lowering them results in a reduced risk of organ damage and chronic disease.
      Enhanced Gut Bacteria
      • Nuts are excellent sources of fiber. For instance, almonds contain 3.5 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams). And the pistachio provides 3 grams of fiber for the same portion.
      • That’s good news for nut eaters since fiber supports gut bacteria, reduces appetite, and improves cholesterol levels.
      Improved Heart Health
      • Research found that eating 30 grams of a daily nut mixture containing peanuts, walnuts, and pine nuts for six weeks significantly improved cholesterol levels in females with metabolic syndrome.
      • And if you’re not a fan of these nuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias have also been proven to reduce cholesterol levels.

          Best Nuts for Heart Disease Patients

          All nuts are heart-healthy, especially if you use them as a replacement for unhealthy foods. The best ones, however, are macadamias, almonds, and walnuts.

          Macadamias contain the heart-healthy palmitic and oleic acids, and more than 80% of the nuts’ fatty acids are monounsaturated.

          Almonds are antioxidant powerhouses and they benefit cholesterol, prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, and support weight loss.

          Walnuts are top-notch sources of healthy fats including omega 3s, and they improve various heart-health-related factors, such as cholesterol and blood vessel functioning.

          1. Almonds, macadamias, walnuts,
          2. Brazil nuts, coconuts, pecans, pistachios, pili nuts, hazelnuts
          3. Cashews, peanuts

          Best Nuts for Diabetics

          If you have diabetes, consume a few servings of nuts each week, as this can reduce various markers related to diabetes, such as blood sugar, inflammation, LDL cholesterol, and HbA1c.(75)(76)(77)(78)

          According to the UK Diabetic Community, specific nuts that contain diabetes-benefiting nutrients are almonds, walnuts, cashews, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios.(79)

          They also mention that almost every nut offers something good for diabetics, so the main focus should be on consuming nuts regularly, regardless of the variation.

          1. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts
          2. Brazil nuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, pili nuts, cashews

          Nuts are one of the best low carb options on keto! 

            A Note On Moderation

            Low carb nuts, seeds, and butters are certainly beneficial in a keto diet and have a plethora of health benefits. However, as with anything, moderation is key. Just because these nuts and seeds are fit into your diet, it's not a license to eat them three handfuls at a time. 

            It's easy to get carried away with nuts with mindless snacking. Keep your portion sizes in control by either buying single-serving bags or portioning one to one and a half ounces in plastic bags. One bag equals one keto snack–and you'll be less likely to go back for more when you know you've already had one serving.

            Recipes with Nuts and/or SuperFat Nut Butters:

             

            Frequently Asked Questions About Nuts and Keto:

            • What are the best keto nuts? The single best nut judged by most dietitians and nutritionists is the pecan. Brazil and macadamia nuts are also great options.
            • Are nuts keto friendly? Yes! Nuts are a great keto option for snacks or for integrating into meals to add flavor, healthy fats and protein without adding carbs. Cashews and pistachios are the key nuts to moderate, while macadamias, pecans and brazil nuts are great!
            • What nuts are keto? Most nuts are great options on keto! Pecans, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and walnuts are among the best you can go for - while avoiding or only consuming moderate amounts of cashews and pistachios due to their higher carbohydrate count.
            • Which nuts to avoid on keto? We would recommend avoiding cashews and pistachios on the keto diet, as they have much higher carb and net carb counts than other nuts - so there's simply better options available. You can consume them in moderation though.
            • Are cashews keto? Technically yes, however, they have a higher carb content than other nuts, so there's much better options if you're on a keto or low carb diet.
            • Are peanuts, nuts? No, technically peanuts fall into the legume family, with beans. However, they share a lot of similarities with nuts (such as the term nut in their name) and are thus often grouped together.
            • Are cashews good for you? Yes, cashews are a good source of far, and consumed in moderation can provide health benefits, they are typically not advised for folks on low carb diets though.
            • Are macadamia nuts healthy? Yes, macadamia nuts are one of the more healthy nut options you can go for when snacking or integrating into a meal or dessert dish. We've got options for macadamia nut recipes here!
            • Are pecans keto? Yes! They're a great option as they have a low net carb count.
            • How many almonds are in an ounce? 23 almonds make up one ounce of nuts.

             

             

            Interested in keto snack ideas? We've listed 120+ options!

            Published:  Jul. 17, 2019  
            Updated: May 12, 2020
            Author: Jess Pingrey
            Jess is a guest contributor for SuperFat, she has been featured on other keto, health, & wellness sites like ketohq.comtherunexperience.comfitsmallbusiness.com, and kettleandfire.com
            Medical Reviewer: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD.
            Natalie specializes in medical review, consulting and corporate wellness services for various large tech and health information companies. She also works with Healthline as a medical reviewer, for Mind Body Green as a health writer, is on the advisory board for Head Health, Inc. and consults for the popular intermittent fasting app, Simple.

             


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            Hungry for more?

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