Can You Eat Nuts on the Keto Diet? Why They’re Good for Weight Loss

As with most diets, whether or not the keto diet is good or bad for your heart or effective for weight loss depends on what you’re eating while following a specific plan. Knowing which foods are actually healthy — and which ones aren’t — can turn a potentially dangerous diet into an effective tool for weight loss (if done right).

Are nuts just another thing you can’t have while on keto? Or have you been misinformed about a high-fat, low-carb snack that could change your life?

What is the point of the keto diet?

ketogenic diet

ketogenic diet | ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock/Gety Images

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. People who follow keto eat high-fat foods to trigger ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body burns fat as its main fuel source instead of glucose.

Many believe this process promotes fat-burning and triggers fast, significant weight loss. And for many, it does — at least in the beginning. People are attracted to the diet because it appears to have almost miraculous effects almost immediately.

But the keto diet is like most other diets — it doesn’t work if you don’t make a long-term commitment to slow, gradual weight loss and lifetime weight management. That’s why it’s important to develop healthy eating habits that will stick with you for years, instead of just weeks.

This, of course, requires knowing the facts about “keto-approved” foods. Nuts actually make the OK-to-eat list. Well, some of them do, anyway.

Are nuts healthy or unhealthy?

You may have heard that nuts are high in calories and fat, and should therefore be avoided if you’re trying to eat healthy. This isn’t necessarily true — if you pick the right nuts.

Eating nuts regularly has actually been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Despite their calorie, carb, and fat content, they’re actually the perfect weight loss snack.

We’ll use almonds as an example for the remainder of this section.

One ounce of almonds contains approximately 163 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of protein. You can have a handful on its own as a snack or add it to a salad, bowl of oatmeal, or other quick meal.

Some nuts, such as cashews, are higher in carbs and should be avoided. If you’re going to follow a strict diet such as keto, it’s probably a good idea to get into the habit of reading food labels carefully to keep track of the quality of what you’re actually eating from day to day.

So yes — technically, you can have nuts if you’re on keto. You just can’t have an entire container of nuts in a single sitting. And you shouldn’t. Everything in moderation, right?

Best foods to eat on the keto diet

Assorted nuts

Assorted nuts | Margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Keto-friendly foods tend to be low in carbs while containing reasonable amounts of fat and protein. They include foods from each major food group excluding grains, which tend to be higher in carbs.

On the keto diet, you can eat dairy, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and legumes (e.g., nuts). You just have to mind your portions and remember that just because something is technically “healthy” doesn’t mean more is always better.

Some of the best foods to eat on the keto diet (including nuts) are:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Certain types of cheese
  • Low-carb veggies
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Berries
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt (plain).

Nuts are a low-carb option for anyone looking for a healthy, keto-friendly snack. If you’re going to eat carbs while on the keto diet, it’s important to choose food sources that also either contain moderate amounts of protein, healthy fats, or both.

High-fiber foods and those containing protein (like nuts!) also help fill you up so you can avoid over-indulging while snacking.