We’ve always been told that low-carb nuts are a great snack for a high-protein low-carb diet, low-carb diet, or ketogenic diet. However, some nuts tend to have more carbs than others!

Use the carbs charts to choose the best nuts to snack on that have the least carbs.

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.

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Are nuts and seeds keto?

Nuts and seeds are keto, especially if you snack on high-protein 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.

Health benefits of nuts and seeds

When you eat this way, you enjoy numerous health benefits such as stable blood sugar levels, improved cholesterol profile, lowered rates of heart disease, and a reduction in weight gain.

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?

How many nuts can you eat on keto?

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

Values are net g carbs per 100g.

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!

Which are the best high-protein low-carb nuts and seeds?

Nuts provide a wonderful plant-based protein, but you have to know which are the highest protein nuts, and which are the lowest carb nuts.

Protein in nuts will never compare favorably to protein in meat, but for vegetarians, these nut protein charts are handy tools to plan your protein goals.

This protein in nuts and seeds chart shows you exactly how many grams of protein, how many grams of fat, how many grams of net carbs, and how many calories are in nuts and seeds.

Plus there are 15 delicious recipes that use high-protein seeds and high-protein nuts for your low-carb diet, keto diet, or high-protein low-carb diet.

Low-carb nuts and seed guide

Brazil nuts

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.

Pecans

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.

Pumpkin Seeds

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 great recipes to use pumpkin seeds are grain-free granola bars or chocolate grain-free granola.

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.

Macadamias

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.

Walnuts

Net carbs 7g per 100g  Protein 15g per 100g

Walnuts also contain vitamin B1, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

Walnuts are beautiful to decorate chocolate fat bombs, they are my secret ingredient in sugar-free nutella and are amazing when dipped in dark chocolate for a little occasional treat.

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.

Peanuts

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!

I like to make peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cheesecake and of course, peanut butter fudge.

Hazelnuts

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).

Pine nuts

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.

Chia Seeds

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.

Almonds

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.

Sunflower Seeds

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.

If you can’t find sunflower meal (flour) near you, you can make your own by grinding them in a coffee grinder or food processor.

I have successfully made Fat Head pizza using sunflower meal when I ran out of almond meal.

Pistachios

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.

Cashews

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.

Chestnuts

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 learned 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.

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26 Comments

  1. We eat 1-2 Brazil nuts a day for selenium. I don’t really like their taste a whole lot. Love walnuts and pecans. They make salads absolutely pop! Yum!—Terri

    1. An “Ultimate Guide” to carbs in nuts and seeds, and you forget flax seeds… 😀 How hilarious is that?!?

  2. Do any of these numbers take into account soaking and sprouting the nuts/seeds. That reduces the carb count but the amount varies.
    Thanks.

    1. Can I use flax seeds instead of another?

  3. Jodie Willsea says:

    I would very much appreciate you recommendation if i were to make a daily snack bag for the kids lunch boxes what would be a great amount of and best nuts/seeds to put in e.g how many grams of almonds pumpkin seeds walnuts pecan etc. Thanks in advance

    1. I don’t like to give quantities as everyone will be different but I like to vary everything I pop in my lunch boxes, so nothing is more dominant than another. For me, it’s all about variety. So a little pot might be good, see how much comes home uneaten and be guided by that.

  4. Hi Libby,
    Apart from considering carb values, just wondering if we should be concerned about eating too much polyunsaturated fat from eating nuts/seeds? I haven’t been able to find any clear info about how much omega 3/6 we should be getting? Would love any advice!
    Thank you,
    Anne

      1. Thanks, Libby. I have read that post and feel the same way about flour choices. In David Gillespie’s books he warns about eating nuts and seeds liberally but i haven’t heard many of the other nutrition gurus say too much on the topic. If you find any more emerging research I would LOVE to see it on blog. I always feel like I’m in limbo land when shopping wondering whether to put nuts and seeds in my trolley or not!
        Thank you for all your work. I am always recommending your blog to others 🙂
        Anne

    1. For a good explanation of fats, see ch. 8 in Jeff Volek’s The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.

    2. Omega imbalance is definitely an issue to consider; chiefly, being high in Omega 6’s. A health guru of mine says peanut butter should have a skull & cross bones on it because it’s so high in Omega 6. You can google info about the omega balance or ratios of nuts & seeds or which ones are specifically high in Omega 6. It’s fascinating stuff!

  5. Pumpkin seeds macros are reported as 100g = 14g net carbs. Where did you get 5g?

    1. Nikram, can you tell me where you got your carb data from for pumkins seeds? As I mentioned in another comment, the net carbs on the green pumpkin kernels I get here is 0 . . . according to the manufacturer. The fact that they are pumpkin seed kernels must be the reason for the discrepancy. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

      1. I bought Trader Hoe’s green raw pumpkin seeds and for 1 oz it’s total carbs is 2.3g carbs, Net carb =1.1g carbs…… on USDA web site, pumpkin seeds for 1of Total carb =15g, Net Carb=10g…..that’s a huge difference! Now on this article it states all the nutrition values are from USDA but for pumpkin seeds it is clearly not the case. So far I ate a lot of pumpkin seeds based on infographics like this and on manufacturer’s label-I am beginning to see there could be errors on blogger’s infographics. At the end, check everything yourself. I doubt the government got their measurements wrong. How is is possible from one pumpkin seeds to another will there be such huge difference in carb count 2.3g versus 15g!

  6. On the roasted green pumpkin kernels package I get here in Thailand, it says 2 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber per 25 gram package, which comes out to 0 net carbs. Why is there such a huge discrepancy compared to the values mentioned in the article above?

    1. Your nutrition label is stating net carbs and the fibre separately. Some countries nutrition labels differentiate, others don’t. This article will help you with food labels and nutrition panels.

  7. Oh my goodness, all these infographics are great! I am printing them all out for easy reference. Thank you so much for doing all the legwork for us!!

      1. Chinwuba Paul m says:

        I appreciate your informations a lot.thanks so much.

  8. Chia seeds have 10g carbs and 10g fiber. That’s is net carbs of 0 per serving. I assume at 100 grams with is over 4 servings this would not be more than 2 net carbs.

    https://amzn.to/2WpzeUm

  9. spiro gyra says:

    You don’t seem to make a distinction between simple and complex carbs. The difference in how the two affect the body and metabolism is significant, especially when fat is present.

  10. Good Article Information .Thank You