In this article we will explore the food we call almonds, their origin, nutrition profile and whether they can be incorporated into a keto-compliant lifestyle. We will then analyze what varieties that are to be favored on such a diet as well as looking at specific branded products.
Alternatives will also be considered and their compatibility to the keto diet will be determined. We will then have a final section with FAQ’s to shed some more light on this topic as well as answer some questions you may have.
Almonds, or Prunus dulcis, are a popular variety of the nut category and are part of the Rosaceae family of trees. Originally native to Southeast Asia, currently over 80% of production comes from California in the USA. While they are known to most as nuts, in fact they are seeds encased by both a hard shell and an outer hard-fruit covering.
There are two main varieties, sweet and bitter, with each having distinct uses. The sweet varieties are commonly eaten as harvested, either raw or roasted, or ground to make almond meal, or processed into almond oil. They are also used to create dairy-free milk alternatives as well as nut butters. The bitter varieties are usually used to make flavoring extracts for foods and liqueurs.
These crunchy nuts are a nutrient-dense food, boasting an impressive nutritional profile that includes fiber, calcium, Vitamin E, magnesium and iron. They are also high in fat and protein. In terms of taste and texture, they are crunchy and most enjoyable to eat, but one thing to bear in mind is that they are calorie-dense. This is important to know if you are looking to lose weight as excess calories can result in weight gain.
Serving size: 1 cup (135 g) of dry roasted almonds with added salt.
They are low-carb, but whether or not to include these in your diet and how much of them to consume really depends on what plan you are adhering to.
If a max of 25-50 g of net carbs a day is your goal, then a couple of handfuls daily can definitely be incorporated into your diet. Just make sure you are keeping track of your carb intake.
100 g of these nuts contain 5.2 g of carbs. With this knowledge it is easy for you to calculate how many carbs you are consuming per snack.
All you need is a kitchen scale and this very simple formula; total g (of almonds) x 5.2/100. Say for example you eat 12 g of product, then you input 12 x 5.2/100=0.62g of carbohydrates, it’s as simple as that.
On average, each nut weighs 1.1 g, so if you ate, say, 30 a day, that would amount to approximately 33 g. In terms of net carbs, it would amount to 1.7 g, so very low-carb.
However, if you choose a salted variety, be aware the US guidelines limit salt intake at 2,300 mg. A serving of 30 nuts already costs you 264 mg, over 10% of the maximum daily intake.
The best almonds for a ketogenic diet would be dry roasted, unsalted varieties as well as raw.
If they are not dry roasted, then they will have some form of vegetable oil added in the processing. Processed vegetable oils are not the healthiest oils, so limiting them is wise.
Salted varieties are also not recommended due to the detrimental effects excess salt can have on cardiovascular health.
Additionally, candied almonds such as caramelized or chocolate covered almonds are not allowed, as these have a high sugar content and therefore are incompatible.
Here are a few examples of processed brands that are not keto-friendly:
Some enjoy them just as they are. Others use the nut butter as a spread on bread or crackers. The flaked variety works great in green salads or with sauteed green beans.
While we have determined that almonds are keto-friendly, let’s explore other similar foods that can be used as substitutes.
Since these are classified as nuts, how about other nuts? Are they also allowed on a keto diet? Let’s explore peanuts and pistachios.
All in all, from the nuts we have explored here in this article, it does seem that almonds are the best for a keto-friendly diet. So, let’s put those alternatives back on the shelf and stick with our almonds.
We will now review some frequently asked questions surrounding almond consumption on a keto diet including the amount of carbs in flavored varieties and various recipes.
Yes they are. However, as with any snack food, some varieties are clearly not keto-friendly, so be mindful about which ones you choose.
Technically they are low-carb (giving 3 g net carbs per ounce) and therefore acceptable as part of a keto diet, but this is a highly processed product with a small amount of nuts, not to be equated to the original natural product.
The net carbohydrate content of this product is 6 g per serving; bearing in mind a serving is just 28 g. That is significantly higher than the net carbs in dry-roasted unflavored almonds. For an occasional treat, these are great, but not as a regular part of your diet.
Here is one really good recipe for candied almonds that are keto-friendly.
There is another recipe I recently came across, and that is a keto-friendly almond cake recipe.
In terms of net carbs, pecans are less “costly,” at 4.3 g less of carbs per 100 g of product (that’s 0.9 g less than almonds). They also contain more fat, more consistent with the 70-80% fat that is desirable for a keto diet. So pecans would be slightly more suitable as a snack for those adhering to a ketogenic diet.