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Are Walnuts Keto-Friendly?

Are Walnuts Keto-Friendly? Well, yes and no.

Walnuts can be included in a ketogenic diet, but only in moderation.

Despite being packed with beneficial nutrients, walnuts do contain a notable amount of carbs, and these can add up if not carefully monitored.

In this article, we’ll explore the carb content of walnuts, provide tips on how to enjoy them in moderation on a keto diet, and discuss their overall nutritional value and health benefits.

We’ll also suggest some keto-friendly alternatives to walnuts, for those looking to keep their carb intake to a minimum.

So, if you're planning to incorporate walnuts into your ketogenic lifestyle, read on for a comprehensive insight.

TL;DR

  • Are walnuts keto-friendly? Yes, but only in moderation due to their carb content.
  • Walnuts have notable health benefits but require careful consumption on a keto diet.
  • Overconsumption of walnuts may lead to difficulty in maintaining ketosis.

Are Walnuts Keto-Friendly?

When it comes to the keto-friendliness of walnuts, the answer is a cautious yes. Walnuts can be included in a ketogenic diet, but moderation is essential due to their carbohydrate content.

Walnuts, as nutritious as they are, contain 7.01g of carbs per 100g. This number, while relatively low compared to other foods, can add up quickly depending on the portion size and frequency of consumption. It's essential to remember that the goal of a ketogenic diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, which requires limiting carbohydrate intake to a bare minimum.

Now, let's consider a typical serving size of walnuts, which is around 30g. In this amount, you're looking at approximately 2.1g of net carbs. While this isn't excessive, it's crucial to keep track of because these carbs contribute to your daily total. Overconsumption could potentially knock you out of ketosis, which is why portion control is crucial when including walnuts in a ketogenic meal plan.

Can You Have Walnuts on a Strict Keto Diet?

Incorporating walnuts into a strict keto diet, where daily carb intake is kept under 20g, requires careful consideration and precise portion control. As previously mentioned, a typical serving size of walnuts, around 30g, contains about 2.1g of net carbs. In a strict ketogenic diet, this would account for over 10% of the daily carb allowance. Therefore, while it's possible to include walnuts into a strict keto diet, it should be done sparingly and thoughtfully.

For those following a more lenient keto or low carb diet, where daily carb intake is limited to between 30-50g of net carbs, walnuts might fit a bit more comfortably. However, even in this scenario, it's critical to be mindful of portion sizes to ensure that carb intake doesn't exceed the daily limits.

Carbs In Walnuts

Walnuts contain approximately 2.1g of net carbs per 30g serving. This value is important to note for those following a ketogenic diet, as it contributes to the daily carb limit.

Walnuts Nutrition Facts

A 100g serving of walnuts offers a rich, detailed nutritional profile. They contain 65.21g total fats, comprising of 6.13g saturated, 8.93g monounsaturated, and a notable 47.17g polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats are crucial for maintaining heart health and boosting brain function.

The net carb content of walnuts is at 7.01g, with a total carbohydrate count of 13.71g. Additionally, they provide a dietary fiber content of 6.7g, aiding in digestion and keeping you satiated for longer periods.

Protein-wise, walnuts contain a substantial 15.23g per 100g serving, alongside an array of essential amino acids, including but not limited to tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, and arginine, each playing unique roles in our body's mechanisms.

Walnuts also deliver a multitude of vitamins and minerals. With 441.0mg of Potassium, 158.0mg of Magnesium, and 98.0mg of Calcium, they contribute to the maintenance of normal muscle function and bone health. They are also a good source of Vitamin B-6, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K1, supporting the body's metabolism, immune function, and blood clotting respectively.

The trace mineral content is equally impressive. Walnuts provide Copper, Iron, and Zinc, playing roles in the formation of red blood cells, immune function, and wound healing. Moreover, they boast a high content of Manganese and Selenium, essential for antioxidant processes and thyroid health.

Despite their small size, walnuts pack a potent concentration of other beneficial compounds like Beta-carotene and Lutein + zeaxanthin, known for their eye health benefits. They also contain a significant 0.3mg of Betaine, known for its role in promoting heart health.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 7.01g
Carbohydrate, by difference 13.71g
Fiber, total dietary 6.7g
Total fats 65.21g
Protein 15.23g
Sodium, Na 2.0mg
Potassium, K 441.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 158.0mg
Calcium, Ca 98.0mg
Vitamin A 1.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.54mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 1.3mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.7mg
Vitamin K1 2.7ug
Copper, Cu 1.59mg
Iron, Fe 2.91mg
Phosphorus, P 346.0mg
Selenium, Se 4.9ug
Zinc, Zn 3.09mg
Beta-carotene 12.0ug
Lutein + zeaxanthin 9.0ug
Betaine 0.3mg
Manganese, Mn 3.41mg
Thiamin 0.34mg
Riboflavin 0.15mg
Niacin 1.12mg
Pantothenic acid 0.57mg
Folate, total 98.0ug
Choline, total 39.2mg
Calories 654.0kcal
Water 4.07g
Tryptophan 0.17g
Threonine 0.6g
Isoleucine 0.62g
Leucine 1.17g
Lysine 0.42g
Methionine 0.24g
Cystine 0.21g
Phenylalanine 0.71g
Tyrosine 0.41g
Valine 0.75g
Arginine 2.28g
Histidine 0.39g
Alanine 0.7g
Aspartic acid 1.83g
Glutamic acid 2.82g
Glycine 0.82g
Proline 0.71g
Serine 0.93g
Fatty acids, total saturated 6.13g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 8.93g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 47.17g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Walnuts on a Keto Diet

Integrating walnuts into a ketogenic diet comes with certain implications. On one hand, walnuts carry a multitude of health benefits. They are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, all of which can contribute to feelings of fullness and potentially assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Moreover, they are packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium, copper, and manganese, among others, contributing to overall wellness.

However, the carb content in walnuts may present a challenge for maintaining ketosis, especially in a strict keto diet. Even though walnuts have a low glycemic index, their carb content, if not monitored and moderated, could potentially interrupt ketosis. This is particularly relevant if one regularly consumes large servings of walnuts, as the carbs could quickly add up and breach the daily carb limit set by a ketogenic diet.

Incorporating Walnuts Into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. Portion-Controlled Snacking: One of the simplest ways to include walnuts in your keto diet is to have them as a snack, but remember, portion control is key. A small handful (about 30g) can be a satisfying snack that fits within your daily carb limits.
  2. Add to Keto-Friendly Dishes: Walnuts can be a great addition to many keto-friendly meals. Consider adding a sprinkle of chopped walnuts to your favorite salad or on top of a serving of Greek yogurt for a crunch.
  3. Use in Keto Recipes: Walnuts can be incorporated into multiple keto recipes. They can be used in low-carb baking, like keto bread or muffins. Alternatively, they can be ground into a flour and used as a coating for proteins like chicken or fish.
  4. Count Your Carbs: Regardless of how you choose to incorporate walnuts into your meal plan, always be mindful of your total daily carb intake. Keeping track of your carbs helps ensure you stay within your limits and maintain ketosis.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Walnuts

  1. Almonds: Almonds have a slightly lower carb content than walnuts and are similarly versatile, making them a great alternative for a ketogenic diet. They can be eaten raw, roasted, or incorporated into keto-friendly recipes.
  2. Macadamia Nuts: Known for their high healthy fat content and lower carb content, macadamia nuts are an excellent keto-friendly alternative to walnuts. They're delicious on their own or as a crunchy addition to salads or keto-friendly desserts.
  3. Pecans: Pecans are not only low in carbs but also high in fiber making them another excellent substitute for walnuts. They can be used in much the same way as walnuts in a variety of dishes.

Concluding Thoughts on Walnuts and Keto

Including walnuts in a keto diet can be a balancing act. While they do provide essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, their carb content may pose a challenge for those aiming to maintain ketosis, especially when following a strict keto diet. Portion control becomes crucial to ensure that the carb limit is not exceeded. Incorporating walnuts into keto-friendly recipes or pairing them with low-carb foods can help manage their impact on daily carb intake.

While walnuts can be included in a keto diet, alternatives like almonds, macadamia nuts, or pecans may be easier to fit within the carb restrictions. They offer similar nutritional benefits but with a lower carb content, making them a great choice for those on a ketogenic diet.

Lastly, a unique idea could be to consider the time of consumption. Consuming walnuts after a workout, for instance, might have a lesser impact on ketosis due to the body's increased metabolic activity. However, this is just a theory and needs to be researched further.

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.

Disclaimer:

The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but they should be consumed in moderation due to their carbohydrate content.

Yes, consuming too many walnuts can potentially disrupt ketosis due to their carb content.