When you’re on the keto diet, it’s easy to spend a lot of time obsessing about the things you can’t have, like OG-style ice cream and bagels. But nuts are kind of in a grey zone.
Some nuts are heavy on carbs, which makes them not so great for keto; others pack plenty of fat with fewer carbs, making them a good choice. “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,” says Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
Unfortunately, the right nuts don’t always come with a keto-friendly label. That’s why we consulted nutrition experts to get the rundown on the best (and worst) nuts for people on the keto diet. Here are the ones you should stock up on—and which you should definitely avoid.
Take a pass on these C-shaped nuts when you’re on the keto diet. “Just 60 cashews are equal to the daily carb limit of 20 grams per day on keto,” says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl. Even if you have a fraction of that, you’re still investing a hefty amount of your allotted daily carbs in a few nuts. “Cashews are heavier on the carbs and lighter on the fats,” which isn’t so great for the keto diet, Keatley points out.
Warren recommends skipping pistachios, too. One cup of these little green nuts contains 33.4 grams of carbs, which is way over your daily carb limit.
Womp womp. These nuts may be everywhere, but their carb to fat ratio isn’t ideal for keto, Keatley says. One cup of almonds also puts you at about 31 grams of carbs, so…
7. Pine nuts
You don’t need to totally avoid pine nuts when you’re on the keto diet, but you should eat them sparingly. One ounce of pine nuts contains four grams of carbs and one gram of sugar. “They can be enjoyed moderately,” Warren says.
You can have a decent amount of peanuts without torpedoing your ketosis, Keatley says. You can expect to have about six grams of carbs when you eat 33 peanuts. Again, moderation is key here, says Warren.
Oh hey—walnuts are good for your heart and your ketosis. You can expect to have four grams of carbs when you eat a little less than ¼ cup of walnuts. That’s not perfect, but Warren says you can get a lot more out of your nut when you crush them up and use them to add crunch to a dish.
Roasted hazelnuts make for a nice little holiday treat on the keto diet. One ounce (which is about 12 hazelnuts) contains about 6.5 grams of carbs.
3. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts have some of the fewest carbs in the nut category, making them a solid choice for keto fans, Warren says. Having ¼ cup of these nuts is about four grams of carbs.
2. Brazil nuts
These hearty nuts have a fat to carb ratio that’s right for keto dieters, Keatley says. Plan on having ¼ cup of them—it’s less than four grams of carbs.
If you’re looking for a nut to stock up on, this is it. Pecans, like Brazil nuts, “pack the most fat with the fewest carbs,” Keatley says. One ounce (which is about 19 halves) is less than four grams of carbs.
If you want to have a little bit of a nut that’s not ideal for keto here and there, don’t stress it—you won’t automatically lose keto cred. But, if you want to do your best to be on your keto A-game, you know what to do.