Nuts and seeds are the cornerstones of low-carb living. Without them, your snack options would be much more limited, and you wouldn’t have nut flour, milk, or butter to make your favorite keto desserts with.
But not every nut and seed out there should make it to your must-have foods list. Some nuts and even seeds have more carbs than an apple!
That’s why it’s a good idea to either skip these non-keto nuts or keep your intake of them to a minimum. Luckily, there aren’t that many you need to look out for, so you still have a whole world of keto nuts to enjoy. Plus, there’s still a way to have your non-keto nuts and stay in ketosis.
Here is more about which nuts and seeds to avoid on keto.
Unlock the Secrets of a Successful Keto Diet: Avoid These Nuts to Reach Your Goals and Choose the Best Options for Your Health
Most nuts are low in carbs and, therefore, keto-friendly . Great examples are macadamias, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. But a rare few are the exact opposite, and some are in-between where carb count is concerned. Here are those non-keto nuts to avoid.
These sweet nuts are in season starting October till December and are consumed roasted, cooked, dried, canned, and ground.
They’re unique among tree nuts because they have more starch than fat, which is sad if you’re on a keto diet. There are a whopping 47 g of net carbs in 100 g of chestnuts . That means almost half of their weight is carbs, with the other half being mostly water. They’re also very low in fat and protein—all in all, a nut that is incompatible with keto.
Cashew nuts are a popular snack on their own but are also processed into milk, butter, and even cheese.
The problem with them? They have too many carbs to keep you in ketosis. A 100-g serving has about 27 g of net carbs, while a small handful has around 8 g . They may not be as problematic as cashews, but carbs can quickly add up. If you still want to use them in keto recipes, it’s a good idea to stick to no more than a handful a day.
Notice how wonderfully sweet-tasting pistachios are? That’s because they have a good amount of carbs in them. A 100-g serving has a little over 16 g of net carbs, or 4.7 g in an oz . They’re not precisely high-carb, so many find that pistachios can be ok on a keto diet if you keep your intake moderate. We suggest not eating more than two handfuls or two teaspoons of pistachio butter daily.
All other nuts get a thumbs up on keto and can be consumed in more significant portions and in the forms of nut flour, nut milk, or nut butter.
The Not-So-Keto Seeds: Which Seeds Should You Avoid on Your Low-Carb Journey?
You can probably enjoy every edible seed on the keto diet without repercussions. Like nuts, most seeds are high in fat, low in carbs, and have a generous amount of protein. There is one seed; however, that is a point of contention in keto circles:
Also called pepitas, pumpkin seed kernels are relatively low in carbs at 8.2 g in a 100-g serving . More problematic are whole pumpkin seeds, i.e., those with the shell on. USDA’s food database states that the same serving of whole pumpkin seeds has 35 g of net carbs . So, we’d say to keep your pumpkin seed intake moderate and avoid eating their shells.
Other than that, all other seeds are acceptable on keto. That includes chia, flax, poppy, sesame, sunflower, and hemp. However — and this is important — avoid botanical seeds listed as culinary grains. These include corn, quinoa, rice, and so on. That is because grains are more often than not quite starchy despite being botanical seeds of grasses.
Keto just wouldn’t be the same without nuts and seeds. They make for a great snack, can be “milked” to replace dairy, and are ground to make wheat flour substitutes. Most are compatible with low-carb eating, but a rare few are unusually high in carbs and need to be avoided.
While it may be true that anything that fits your macros is good on keto, we all know certain foods have so many carbs in a small serving that they make it impossible to stay in ketosis. On keto, every carb counts, including carbs found in a rare bunch of nuts and seeds we listed here.
Related:What Nuts to Choose on Keto?
- Ros E. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010;2(7):652-682. doi:10.3390/nu2070652
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Chestnuts. October 2020. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100521/nutrients
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Nuts, cashew nuts, raw. April 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Pumpkin seeds, unsalted. April 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100603/nutrients
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt. April 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170188/nutrients