Reducing carbs, increasing fats, and ensuring proper protein levels is the basis of the Keto diet. Aside from the other two components, maintaining healthy protein levels can be tricky, and that’s where nuts come in. Nuts are known as protein sources, but do all nuts fit the bill for a Keto diet?
What is Keto Diet?
Originally developed to control epilepsy in children, The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet includes reducing carbohydrates, increasing fats and maintaining adequate protein levels in your body. It is similar to other low carb diets, but is designed to increase the production of ketones, which are then used as a source of energy to power the brain and therefore the rest of the body.
The cornerstone of the Keto diet is the reduction in carbohydrates. Many diets recommend this, mainly due to the body’s processing of carbs into sugar and fat, but these elements are critical to the body’s function. The Keto diet, however, balances the reduction of the glucose levels, which is the default driver of the brain and body function, by creating what is called Ketones. This is done by replacing the carbs you’d normally eat with fats. Not something you would normally think of for a diet. But this change causes the liver to change how it works, and convert the fat into ketones, which then power the brain. It also dramatically increases the metabolism. (Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101)
Nuts and a Keto Diet
Since the basis of the keto diet is to lower the blood sugar (insulin) levels, it’s important to ensure that you have the right balance of fat and protein to stay healthy and alert, regardless of which variation of the diet you are choosing to follow. That’s where nuts come in. As a known source of protein, several nuts also offer good fat levels. But be picky, because some nuts are also high in carbohydrates! So choose wisely.
Best Nuts for Keto
Nuts for Keto is a solid choice to ensure your protein, carb, and fat ratios are maintained throughout your regimen. But as with anything, stick to moderation. These nuts are good choices to include in or supplement your menu and meals.
- Pine Nuts - while they have a moderate level of carbs, they are small, and the card to sugar ration (4:1) isn't ideal, they can be included in moderation.
- Peanuts - They are good sources of protein with a moderate to low carb level.
- Walnuts - These have lower carbs that other nuts but are also great for crushing up and adding to other dishes and recipes.
- Macadamia nuts - these have some of the lowest carbs of nuts, so they're a good choice for flavor, texture, and your health.
- Brazil Nuts - these have a high fat to carb ratio, as if they were designed for the Keto Diet.
- Pecans - These are the best Nuts for Keto Dieters, offering a high fat, low carb balance.
What Nuts Are Good for Keto?
The nuts included here can of course be taken in very limited amounts but tend to have high or very high levels of carbohydrates. So it's best to limit or exclude them entirely from your Keto menu.
- Cashews - they are high on carbs, and lower on fat, so they should be treated carefully and only eat a few, as a treat.
- Pistachios - Extremely high in carbs.
- Almonds - high carb, low fat. Fine for a regular diet, in moderation, but not appropriate for a keto diet.
- Hazelnuts - best to steer clear of these except for special occasions or treats.
Seeds for Keto
In addition to nuts, seeds are also a good option to include in your keto diet to help balance the protein and fat levels, while reducing carbs. Here are some that are good choices:
Choosing to drastically change your body chemistry is a risky step and should be done under the guidance of a doctor and or a nutritionist. A keto diet is a significant change, one that can affect other conditions, disorders, and medications. But done properly, it can also dramatically improve your health and your habits. Be careful, be happy, and do it in a fun, healthy way that is enjoyable. Go nuts for keto!