We’ve always been told that low carb nuts are a great snack for a low-carb diet or ketogenic diet. However, some nuts tend to have more carbs than others! If you’re not sure which nuts have fewer carbs, this article will fill you in so you can make better choices for your lifestyle.
This ultimate guide to carbs in nuts and seeds will help clear up any confusion you may have with which nuts and seeds to eat and which to avoid. By knowing the carb content and grams of net carb values, you immediately can make better, more informed, choices.
Some are really surprising. Take a look at the best keto nuts, and which nuts you may want to enjoy a small amount of sparingly to control your carb intake.
Are nuts and seeds keto?
Nuts and seeds are keto, especially if you snack on low-carb nuts. You must control how many you eat each day as part of reducing your carb intake. How many carbs per day you enjoy will depend on whether you are following a keto diet or a low-carb diet. The macro calculator will help you decide.
When you first start living low carb, I bet you were excited to learn we can snack on nuts and seeds again. We no longer count calories and we no longer fear high-fat foods. In fact, increasing our healthy fats are encouraged.
But, that’s only true if you eat the best nuts and enjoy them in the right proportions. Many people slip up by overindulging on nuts and then realise their weight loss has stopped and wonder why. They never make the connection between nuts and the slow creep of carbs back into their diet. Why is that?
- VOLUME – Nuts are easy, portable and so easy to overdo. They can be oily and salty which is designed to hit our “bliss point”. This encourages the packet to disappear before our very eyes.
- HIGH CARBS – Many don’t realise how high in carbs some nuts and seeds can be. I can hear the groans already as I tell you to avoid cashews, chestnuts and pistachios.
Snacking on nuts is so much better than snacking on high-carb junk food, and groundnuts such as almond flour are brilliant for low-carb baking. But make no mistake, the volume you may be consuming and the high carb contents of some nuts, can be the number one saboteur of weight loss.
So let’s take a closer look at the most common nuts and seeds with their carb values.
Nutritional values from cronometer.com
All nutrition values stated are net carbs (total – fibre = net). Values may vary slightly depending on the reference used.
Which low-carb nuts are best to eat?
These keto-friendly nuts can all be enjoyed from time to time, but you’ll soon see that some will take up much more carbs than others.
With good portion control, nuts are a keto-friendly snack that will help prevent blood sugar spikes while providing nutritional benefits such as B vitamins and healthy fats.
The nuts below are all raw nuts, but if you prefer them roasted in olive oil or another fat, the nutritional values will be different. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours either – cayenne pepper and garlic powder are two of the best seasonings I’ve tried!
Values are net g carbs per 100g.
Low carb nuts and seed guide
Net grams of carbs 4g per 100g Protein 14g per 100g
Brazil nuts also contain vitamin B1, E, copper, magnesium, selenium, zinc and iron.
Brazil nuts seem to be harder to overindulge with because most people tend to grab just a few to snack on. Plus, this nut ties with pecans for the lowest carb nut, so this is maybe the best option for nuts out there!
Brazil nuts can be lovely chopped up in grain-free granola. Don’t cook them, but simply add them chopped once the granola has been cooked and cooled. They add a lovely nutty flavour and texture to the recipe.
Brazil nuts are incredible if you dip them dark chocolate for a little occasional treat.
It’s worth noting that this is a tree nut, in case you are sensitive to them.
Net carbs 4g per 100g Protein 20g per 100g
Pecans also contain vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Plus these nuts also only have 4 grams of net carbs, making them an excellent option for snacks.
Pecans are amazing in sweet low-carb recipes, but baking with pecans soon adds up.
Cheesecake bases may require a cup or two of pecans, and pecan pies will require even more for the filling and for decoration.
With everything low-carb, it’s all about awareness, then the choice is yours.
So just be aware of how many pecans go into a recipe, and enjoy a small slice.
Net carbs 5g per 100g Protein 30g per 100g
Pumpkin seeds also contain vitamin A, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Pumpkin seeds can be a great little snack if you nibble on them one by one.
Some new low-carb flours are being introduced into the market, and one of them is pumpkin seed flour. If you can’t get hold of this near you, you can easily make your own by grinding raw pumpkin seeds in your food processor or coffee grinder.
Net carbs 5g per 100g Protein 8g per 100g
Macadamias also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Macadamia nuts are an incredibly popular low carb and keto snack because they contain 75% fat.
Macadamia oil is highly regarded due to its mild nutty flavour and higher omega 3/6 ratio.
Macadamia oil can be used in homemade mayonnaise, on salads and in dressings. Macadamia nuts are a great snack to carry around as the high-fat content will keep you fuller for longer.
Net carbs 7g per 100g Protein 15g per 100g
Walnuts also contain vitamin B1, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
Walnuts add a creamy texture similar to hazelnuts, but without all that fiddly roasting, then removing the shells. No one has time for that.
Walnuts are also amazing in these sugar-free walnut and brandy truffles. If you haven’t tried them yet, go ahead. Warning, I like them boozy.
Net carbs 7g per 100g Protein 26g per 100g
Peanuts also contain vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, E, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Peanuts are one of the most controversial nuts here because they are actually legumes.
Many people avoid legumes because of the anti-nutrients, namely lectin and phytic acid. What do these toxins do? They are proteins that are said to bind to cell membranes. They can damage the lining of the intestine which may cause discomfort and bloat.
Some studies however show that lectins are found in many common everyday foods so are not restricted to legumes and beans. So enjoy them if you can tolerate them, and they are within your carb allowance.
That being said…be VERY selective with your peanut butter intake as most jars of peanut butter are loaded up with sugar and preservatives!
Net carbs 7g per 100g Protein 13g per 100g
Hazelnuts also contain vitamins B1, B6, E, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Hazelnuts are commonly found in Nutella, but are you aware that there are generally only 5 hazelnuts in an entire jar?
What’s worse, is that there is more sugar in the chocolate hazelnut spread than a chocolate bar. So think twice before you spread candy on your kid’s toast.
Fun fact: One brave mother took them to court to repute their health claims, and won! To this day, their slogan claiming Nutella is a “healthy breakfast” had to be removed from the packaging. Forever!
I like to make my own homemade sugar-free Nutella. Discover why I use walnuts instead of hazelnuts (genius).
Net carbs 8g per 100g Protein 13g per 100g
Pinenuts also contain vitamins B1, B3, E, K, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
Pine nuts are commonly found in pesto, and leave a lovely creamy texture. But unfortunately, they are expensive to harvest and expensive to buy.
I make my own pesto, but I make mine with kale and I managed to develop a recipe that is nut-free and pine nut-free.
Why not try my salmon zoodles with kale pesto and feta, you can’t get much healthier than that. Low-carb heaven in a bowl.
Net carbs 8g per 100g Protein 16g per 100g
Chia seeds also contain vitamin B6, K, copper, calcium, and almost every trace mineral such as iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Chia seeds also have a whopping 18% omega 3. One of the highest plant sources of omega 3 which makes them incredibly popular with vegetarians and vegans.
Chia seeds are versatile because they have virtually no flavour, they absorb any liquid, then swell to many times their size. They can be used as a chia pudding, chia fresca or chia breakfast recipes. Vegans even use “chia eggs”. Water is added to chia, the chis swells, and the whole “chia egg” can be used in various baking with varied success.
Net carbs 10g per 100g Protein 21g per 100g
Almonds contain vitamins B2, B3, E, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
Almonds are commonly used in low-carb baking as almond meal, almond flour and ground almonds, They are simply variations on ground almonds but differ in texture and grade.
Almond flour is generally finer grade and the almonds have had their skins removed. Almond meal and ground almonds are the same, coarser grade. Some brands remove the skin, others you may see little brown flecks which is the skin that was left on during grinding.
Personally, I prefer ground almonds/almond meal as it is cheaper and makes for a lovely alternative to breadcrumbs in many savoury recipes.
If you are a beginner to the low-carb diet, you may wish to read the Ultimate Guide to Low-Carb Flours. Because once you understand how each flour works, you can stop making expensive baking mistakes.
Net carbs 11g per 100g Protein 21g per 100g
Sunflower seeds also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, E, copper, selenium and zinc.
Sunflower seeds are often used in granolas, grain-free granola bars and are becoming more popular as an alternative low-carb flour for those who cannot tolerate almond flour.
I have successfully made Fat Head pizza using sunflower meal when I ran out of almond meal.
Net carbs 18g per 100g Protein 20g per 100g
Pistachios also contain vitamins B1, B6, K, copper, phosphorus and zinc.
Pistachios are becoming increasingly expensive, and because they are incredibly high in net carbs, I very rarely buy them.
The only reason I might buy them is to use pistachios for decoration using their lovely purple/green colouring.
They look beautiful stirred through low-carb ice cream, or to garnish a coconut fat bomb.
Net carbs 26g per 100g Protein 18g per 100g
Cashews also contain vitamins B1, B6, K, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Cashews are the nut that most people find hardest to give up at the beginning of living low carb.
Cashews are often cooked in processed seed oils, salted and accompany a sugary drink. The vegetable oils are inflammatory and the salt/oil combination hits our ‘bliss point’ so you want more and more. Am I right?
Cashews are creamy and are often used in “healthy” recipes to replace dairy.
Many vegans use cashew milk, cashew cream and even cashew cheese. Cashews are often used for the base of a raw cheesecake (along with Medjool dates) so can you just imagine how high in carbs (albeit unprocessed ones) these “healthy” recipes are. So just be aware of what goes into a recipe when eating out, and what a recipe calls for on the internet. All “healthy” recipes are not created equally.
Net carbs 27g per 100g Protein g per 100g
Chestnuts also contain vitamins B1, B6, C, folate and copper.
I once made the mistake of buying chestnuts and baking them in the oven without doing my research.
Well, mistake number one was not to read the carb value (some reference quote chestnut up to 56% carbs) and mistake number two was not to read the baking instructions. Let’s just say my entire kitchen was covered in exploding chestnuts.
I learnt my lesson and will never ever buy these little suckers again.
Low carb nuts and seed – which are the best?
So which nut or seed was most surprising? Which one will you never buy again? For me, I went to town when I first went low carb, thinking it was OK to snack on nuts again. And it is but to a point. I snack on them occasionally, I don’t buy roasted or oiled nuts and I put a few in my hand then put the packet back in my pantry.
Nuts and seeds are lovely to snack on, full of trace elements and minerals, but it is helpful to know how many carbs are in each to make an informed choice.
Spend your carbs wisely.