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Are Pumpkin Seeds Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about pumpkin seeds, are they keto-friendly or not?

Pumpkins are a well-known orange plant. Usually, people consume its flesh but you can also eat the pumpkin seeds inside. These can be consumed on their own or as an ingredient in other dishes.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in roasted pumpkin seeds is around 9.5 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet and the quantity, for most people pumpkin seeds are not very keto-friendly. They are not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some portion control.

In any case, there are many substitutes for pumpkin seeds 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 pumpkin seeds

100 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 13.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 3.9 grams
  • Net carbs: 9.5 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 9.5 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds can be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

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

  • Total carbs: 3.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.7 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds, 2.7 grams, is a bit easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not pumpkin seeds are keto for you ultimately depends on how many grams of pumpkin seeds you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in pumpkin seeds

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

100 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 522
  • Protein: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 13.4 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 3.9 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Manganese: 151% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Magnesium: 134% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 117% of the DV
  • Iron: 83% of the DV
  • Copper: 69% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Pumpkin seeds are slightly higher in net carbs but they do contain amazing amounts of valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.

How to avoid eating too many pumpkin seeds

By now it is clear that to be able to fit pumpkin seeds in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Grabbing a big bag of pumpkin seeds and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

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

  • Plan ahead, how many grams of pumpkin seeds will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a separate bowl and leave the rest out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying pumpkin seeds if you crave them too much

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of pumpkin seeds you eat.

Substitutes for pumpkin seeds on keto

Pumpkin seeds are not the only option when you want to eat nuts and seeds on the ketogenic diet. Pumpkin seeds are not the highest in net carbs but there are a good amount of nuts and seeds that are more keto-friendly.

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):

  • Flaxseeds: 1.6 grams of net carbs
  • Pecans: 4.4 grams of net carbs
  • Brazil nuts: 4.8 grams of net carbs
  • Macadamia nuts: 5.6 grams of net carbs
  • Dried chia seeds: 6.1 grams of net carbs
  • Hazelnuts: 7 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for nuts and seeds it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over pumpkin seeds. However, even with these examples you will have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small amount of pumpkin seeds 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.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, pumpkin seeds can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.