You will not have a hard time looking for the best nuts for ketosis since you will find so many of them. In fact, almost all nuts are ideal for the keto diet so long as you don’t eat too many of them. More on this later.
Related reading: Best Nuts to Eat on Keto
According to Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy,
“Nuts contain healthy fats and a little bit of protein, so when trying to hit your macros, they can make a good addition to the keto diet.”
Before we get into what are the best nuts for ketosis lets have a look at why they can be good for a keto diet or any diet for that matter.
Most nuts contain mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The polyunsaturated fats are termed omega-3 and omega-6. They are known as essential fatty acids as they have to be obtained from your food.
They are important components of cell membranes and get converted to other substances in the body such as those involved in regulating blood pressure and inflammatory responses.
But, it’s the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 in nuts that can be a concern. The majority of nuts contain very little omega-3 fats.
Omega 6 to omega 3 ratio
Various experts have slightly different views on what the right ratio is. Some say the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be around 3:1 while others say 4:1. Compare this to the average American diet where the ratio is more like 10:1.
Omega-6 fats have to be in the right balance with omega-3 fats for good health. Many people eat too many omega–fats and not enough of omega-3 fats. Omega-6 can be pro-inflammatory when out of balance so eating too many nuts can be a concern.
Why are nuts good for ketosis?
Most nuts are high in fats with moderate protein and low in carbs which is the ratio you want for the keto diet. When you reduce carbohydrates enough the body starts to use fats for energy. This produces ketones and then you are said to be in ketosis.
Pistachios and cashews are too high in carbs so it’s best to avoid those. Walnuts have the best omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Remember though that nuts are high in calories so depending on whether or not you are trying to lose weight one or two handfuls of raw nuts a day is plenty. Raw nuts are best too.
Related reading: Do You Need to Count Calories on a Keto Diet?
Best Nuts for Ketosis
Almonds are some of the most popular nuts for keto. It’s an ingredient for many keto-friendly products, from almond flour to milk. However, almonds do contain some carbs, but the amount of carbs that almonds have is very minimal. A serving of almonds contains only 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, leaving you with only 3 grams of net carbs.
Related reading: 3 Best Low Carb Flour Alternatives
The main reason almonds are considered one of the best nuts for ketosis is that they are high in healthy fats, which helps you stay in ketosis.
Related reading: Are Almonds Good for Weight Loss?
In spite of the fact that they are rich in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids, almonds have been found to have numerous health benefits. Research shows that eating almonds could lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart diseases.
Related reading: Is the Keto Diet Good for Diabetes?
The reason that the omega-6 in almonds does not cause a problem is that the nut is a complete nutritional source. As well as the fat content almonds contain vitamins and minerals which are protective.
Walnuts are some of the world’s most popular nuts, used in various recipes, although they can also be eaten as a keto-friendly snack. With only 4 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber, walnuts contain only 2 grams of net carbs, making them suitable for the keto diet.
Related reading: Low Carb Walnut Cake Recipe
Like most nuts for keto, walnuts are high in fat, having 18 grams of fats per serving. They also have the best omega 6:3 fat ratio.
It’s for this reason that walnuts are also good for the heart. Regular consumption of walnuts could lower your risk of developing heart diseases. In a 6-month study, those who consume 15% of their calories from walnuts had lower levels of bad cholesterol.
Related reading: Do You Need to Count Calories on a Keto Diet?
They have also shown a reduction in blood pressure. Because of its many health benefits, it’s no wonder why walnuts are considered the best nuts for ketosis.
3. Brazil Nuts
Like almonds, Brazil nuts are high in healthy fats, making them keto-friendly. These are tree nuts typically grown in South America. Since they are minimally processed, they are free from toxic ingredients and are safe to eat.
An ounce of Brazil nuts contains only 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. So, it only has a gram of net carbs per serving.
Brazils are also one of the healthiest nuts on the planet. They are a great source of selenium, an essential mineral for various bodily functions. Getting enough of this mineral is important for those on keto since research suggests that keto dieters may be at risk of selenium deficiency.
When searching for the best nuts for ketosis, hazelnuts will surely come up. These tree nuts are recognized for their smooth, buttery texture, making them a common ingredient for keto-friendly desserts.
Related reading: Keto Holiday Desserts – Easy and Delicious
With only 5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, hazelnuts only contain 2 grams of net carbs, so it’s perfect for any low carb diet. They are lower in omega 6 fats than most other nuts so are good from that point of view.
Hazelnuts are also a great source of Vitamin E which protects the fats in the nut and has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. It also serves as an antioxidant since it can neutralize harmful free radical compounds, potentially reducing risk factors for heart diseases, such as high cholesterol.
5. Macadamia Nuts
Native to Australia, macadamia nuts are tree nuts that are very high in fat which makes them a perfect staple for the keto diet. And, with only 2 grams of net carbs, these nuts won’t kick you out of ketosis.
What’s more, the nut contains a whopping 21 grams of healthy fats, which is what you need to stay in keto. They are lower in omega-6 fatty acids than some of the other nuts which makes them an excellent nut to eat.
Like most nuts, macadamias are also good for health. In fact, several studies show that macadamia can help improve cholesterol levels. In one study, those who consumed 15% of their calorie intake from macadamia experienced a 5.3% reduction in bad cholesterol levels.
Pecans are high in fats and low in carbs, making them an excellent choice for the keto diet. They only have a gram of net carbs, with a whopping 20 grams of fats! So, eating pecans can help you get into ketosis. Aside from being keto-friendly, pecans are also very healthy.
Pecans may help to reduce insulin levels. As you may already know, insulin is a hormone that causes your body to store fats, so it’s essential to maintain a low insulin level if you’re trying to lose weight.
A study done on some groups of adults found that those who consumed about 1.5 ounces of pecans each day experienced a reduction in insulin level and improved insulin sensitivity.
7. Pine Nuts
Pine Nuts are tree nuts commonly used as the main ingredient for pesto sauce, along with olive oil, basil, and parmesan. These nuts are extremely versatile and can also be used in some other recipes other than pesto.
They have a unique, earthy flavor that blends well with many different tastes. As one of the best nuts for ketosis, pine nuts are low in carbs and high in healthy fats.
An ounce of pine nuts contains only 3 grams of net carbs. In addition, they contain pinolenic acid, a type of fat that can help to minimize hunger pangs by regulating the hormones that affect appetite. A study on overweight women found that they ate 36% less food after consuming concentrated pine nut oil with breakfast.
Final thoughts on best nuts for ketosis
I expect by the time you’ve read this list you are wondering why I have not included peanuts. Well, the fact is that peanuts are not true nuts. They are actually legumes and contain more carbs than other nuts I have mentioned above.
Besides that they contain more omega-6 fat and negligible omega-3 so are not ideal. Peanuts and peanut butter are also high in aflatoxins. They are toxins produced by certain fungi found on agricultural crops such as peanuts and corn.
Major brands of peanuts and peanut butter have strict controls to monitor levels of aflatoxins in their products but other suppliers may not.
So far as other nuts are concerned for the keto diet they are high in calories so it’s best to not to eat too many of them. Add them to salads and eat them as snacks in moderation.
It’s also best to eat them in their raw state and not roasted. Roasting nuts may damage their healthy fat and lead to the formation of acrylamide, a harmful substance.