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Are Pistachios Keto-Friendly? (& Better Substitutes)

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

Pistachios are a popular green nut that often comes in a shell. They are very popular in many ways ranging from on their own as a snack to an ingredient in baked goods.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in pistachios is around 17.7 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people pistachios are not very keto-friendly. This nut is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some portion control.

In any case, there are many substitutes for pistacios that are better for staying in ketosis.

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 pistachios

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

  • Total carbs: 28 grams
  • Of which fiber: 10.3 grams
  • Net carbs: 17.7 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 17.7 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of pistachios is likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

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

  • Total carbs: 7.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.9 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.9 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of pistachios, 4.9 grams, is slightly easier to fit into a keto diet but this is still a relatively high amount compared to many other foods. Whether or not pistachios are keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in pistachios

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

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

  • Calories: 557
  • Protein: 20.6 grams
  • Carbs: 28 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 10.3 grams
  • Fat: 44.4 grams
  • Vitamin B6: 85% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Copper: 65% of the DV
  • Manganese: 60% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 58% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 49% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

While the number of net carbs in pistachios may be slightly higher they do contain a lot of important nutrients per 100 grams.

Alternatives for pistachios on keto

Pistachios are not the only option when you want to eat nuts on the ketogenic diet. In fact, pistachios are relatively high in net carbs compared to other nuts.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • Pecans: 4.4 grams of net carbs
  • 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 have trouble staying in ketosis it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over pistachios.

How to avoid eating too many pistachios

By now it is clear that to be able to fit pistachios in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a bag of peeled pistachios 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 pistachios with some of the following tips:

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

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the number of pistachios you eat.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small number of pistachios 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, pistachios 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 pistachios contain a relatively high amount of calories.