What are the lowest carb nuts

What are the Lowest Carb Nuts?

Pecan Nutrition

By: Madeline Berndt, MS, RD, LD

While nuts are widely praised and utilized in a variety of diets, some nuts may yield more benefits than others. For some diets and lifestyles, this greatly relates to the carb content of each nut. What are the best nuts to eat on a low-carb diet? Let’s break it down.

What are the Lowest Carb Nuts?

When we talk about nuts in relation to carb content and overall health, we want to focus on two things: total carbohydrate content and fiber content. On the nutrition label, total carbohydrate content refers to how many grams of carbohydrates are in 1 serving. This “total carb” group can actually be broken down into three sub-categories: simple carbohydrates, fiber, and added sugar. Plain nuts typically contain no added sugar so we will eliminate that sub-group from this particular conversation. That leaves us with simple carbohydrates and fiber.

Simple carbohydrates are what we typically think of when we think of grains (bread, pasta, rice). Chemically-speaking, when we consume simple carbohydrates, they are later broken down into sugar molecules during digestion. While these sugar molecules provide our bodies with a crucial source of energy, when eaten in excess, they can produce some negative consequences. Excessive carbohydrate intake can lead to increased fatty tissue in the body, weight gain, and blood sugar spikes. Fiber, on the other hand, is what is called a “complex carbohydrate”. Complex carbohydrates break down much more slowly in the body—helping to regulate digestion, stabilize blood sugar, and curb hunger. These qualities make adequate fiber intake essential in controlling conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

A Breakdown of Each Nut

Now that we understand the difference between total carbohydrate content and fiber content, it is (hopefully) a little easier to identify which nut is best for a low-carb diet. We want nuts that have the lowest total carbohydrate content while still holding the maximum amount of fiber possible. To that end, we would ideally want to eat the most nuts possible for the lowest amount of calories, right?

Thus, our ranking is based on the following tiered classifications: minimal amount of total carbohydrate content, maximum amount of fiber (i.e. best fiber to total carbohydrate ratio), and maximum amount of nuts for lowest amount of calories. Based on these categories and the USDA’s FoodData Central database, these nuts reign supreme:

1. Pecans

  • 1 oz serving = about 20 nuts
  • 190 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 4 grams
  • Fiber content: 3 grams

2. Hazelnuts

  • 1 oz serving = about 21 nuts
  • 180 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 5 grams
  • Fiber content: 4 grams

3. Brazil nuts

  • 1 oz serving = about 6 nuts
  • 210 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 3 grams
  • Fiber content: 2 grams

4. Macadamia Nuts

  • 1 oz serving = about 11 nuts
  • 220 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 4 grams
  • Fiber content: 3 grams

5. Walnuts

  • 1 oz serving = about 15 nuts
  • 200 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 4 grams
  • Fiber content: 2 grams

6. Almonds

  • 1 oz serving = about 23 almonds
  • 181 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 6 grams
  • Fiber content: 4 grams

7. Peanuts

  • 1 oz serving= about 30 peanuts
  • 177 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 6 grams
  • Fiber content: 2 grams

8. Pistachios

  • 1 oz = about 42 nuts [shelled]
  • 160 calories
  • Total carbohydrate content: 8 grams
  • Fiber content: 3 grams

9. Cashews

  1. 1 oz = about 19 cashews
  2. 170 calories
  3. Total carbohydrate content: 9 grams
  4. Fiber content: 1 gram

There you have it, folks! If you want a good, fulfilling snack and are on a low-carb diet, opt for a handful of pecans!

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