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Are Pecans Keto-Friendly? (& Alternatives)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about pecans, are they keto-friendly?

Pecans are a dark brown, elongated nut with a relatively hard shell. They are very popular both on their own as a snack and as an ingredient in recipes like for example pie.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in pecans is around 4.4 grams per 100 grams. This comes down to about 67 pecan halves.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people pecans are very keto-friendly.

You may however want to exercise some portion control with pecans anyway for reasons like fiber intake, calorie intake, and protein intake. Being in ketosis is no guarantee for goals like losing weight.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in pecans

100 grams of pecans contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 14 grams
  • Of which fiber: 9.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.4 grams

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 4.4 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of pecans are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of pecans is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 1.2 grams

In short, pecans can be a great option if you’re looking for keto-friendly foods. Whether or not pecans are keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in pecans

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of pecans contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 691
  • Protein: 9.2 grams
  • Carbs: 14 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 9.6 grams
  • Fat: 72 grams
  • Manganese: 225% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Copper: 60% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 44% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 30% of the DV
  • Zinc: 30% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Besides being low in net carbs, pecans can also provide you with great amounts of valuable nutrients. A great combination for a ketogenic diet.

Alternatives for pecans on keto

Pecans are not the only option when you want to eat nuts on the ketogenic diet. While pecans are number one on our list of low-carb nuts, there are other nuts that are also keto-friendly.

Some of the following nuts may be good alternatives to pecans on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7):

  • Macadamia nuts: 5.6 grams of net carbs
  • Walnuts: 7 grams of net carbs
  • Hazelnuts: 7 grams of net carbs
  • Peanuts: 7.6 grams of net carbs
  • Almonds: 9.5 grams of net carbs

If you don’t like pecans for whatever reason but still want to eat nuts on a ketogenic diet, you can choose some of these alternatives to pecans.

How to avoid eating too many pecans

While in reasonable portions pecans can fit in your keto diet, some people may have to exercise some portion control for calorie, protein, or fiber intake anyway. Having a big bowl of pecans near you and hoping that you don’t eat too many is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too many pecans with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how many pecans will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the pecans out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying them if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you are not losing or gaining weight even if you are in ketosis it is possible that you need to reduce the number of pecans you eat.

What is your goal with keto?

Even in some cases, a small number of pecans added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake. Even though they are low in carbs, nuts can still kick you out of ketosis.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, pecans can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level. That being said, if losing weight is your goal, keep in mind that pecans contain a relatively high amount of calories.