Are Walnuts Keto?

Introduction:

The Keto diet is high in healthy fats while being low in carbohydrates.  One of the hardest things to figure out on Keto is where to find enough healthy fats.  Walnuts are a great Keto-friendly option because they’re low in carbs and high in the healthy fats that your body needs.  The following article will explain why walnuts are a great option for your Keto as well as the benefits that this nutritious nut provides.

What is the Keto diet?

Before you can fully understand why walnuts are a good food to add to your Keto meal plan, you first have to have a basic understanding of what the Keto diet is.  The Keto diet isn’t just low carb in order to prevent you from enjoying bread.  There’s scientific reasoning behind this that stems from how your body metabolizes the food you eat in order to turn it into energy.

High carb meals are metabolized by your body into a form of energy known as glucose.  While some glucose is essential to your survival, the glucose that comes from high carbs meals is not.  When you eat a meal loaded with carbohydrates you get a rush of energy.  Glucose is an easy form of energy for your body to make so very shortly after your meal your blood sugar levels spike.  This is followed by a drop in both energy levels and your blood sugar when your body runs out of glucose a few short hours later.  

This fluctuating energy isn’t an ideal way for your body to function.  The main purpose of Keto is to put your body in a metabolic state known as ketosis.  When in ketosis your body turns stored fat cells into a fuel known as ketones.  Ketones are longer lasting than glucose, so you feel energized for longer.  There’s a steady supply of fat for most people to create ketones from so you don’t feel hungry as often which can be great for weight loss. 

Ketosis is the ideal metabolic state for your brain since it’s one of the largest consumers of energy in your body.  When you have a steady source of energy such as ketones it allows your brain to function at optimal levels without having to shut parts of it down so that other important organs have enough energy.  This causes a lot of people on Keto to feel increased mental clarity as well as increased energy levels.

In order to keep your body in a state of ketosis you need to trick it into thinking that there isn’t enough carbohydrates to go around.  You do this by limiting the amount of carbs that you eat.  The Keto diet recommends that you consume between 20-25g of net carbs or less a day.  Everyone has their own individual carbohydrate levels but that’s a good start if you don’t have a way of testing your own limits. 

Net carbs are the carbohydrates that your body can actually digest and turn into glucose.  This means that any fibre or sugar alcohols in your food can be subtracted from the overall carb amounts.  This allows a lot of high carb foods with high levels of fibre to be low enough in net carbs that you can eat them safely while on Keto.

The other focus on Keto is healthy fats.  These are the unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are found in fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Saturated fats that are found in animal products are alright in moderation as well, but you should steer clear of trans fats found in fried and processed foods whenever you can. 

Are Walnuts Keto friendly?

Yes, walnuts are a Keto-friendly option!  When it comes to health benefits, the benefits of walnuts are undeniable.  When it comes to macronutrients, walnuts are very high in the healthy fats that Keto requires.  They also have a moderate amount of protein which is great for Keto as well.  In terms of carbohydrates, a single ounce serving of walnuts contains a little under 4g of carbs.  That being said, that same serving also contains 2g of fibre.  If you recall the formula for net carbs from above, you’ll remember that it’s the digestible carbs that matter in Keto.  This means that despite having 4g of carbs, walnuts only have 2g of net carbs because the other 2g are made up of fibre which your body cannot turn into glucose.

Best ways to incorporate walnuts into your Keto:

Walnuts are a versatile nut.  There are many ways that you can include them in your Keto meal plan but if you’re looking for inspiration try one of the following ideas.

  • As a snack:  The simplest way to enjoy walnuts is as a quick and easy heart healthy snack.  A ¼ cup serving is easy to take with you on the go and the healthy fats in the nuts will fill you up and keep you feeling satiated while you’re waiting for your next meal
  • On top of yogurt: Sprinkle some walnut halves or walnut crumbs on top of a small bowl of Greek yogurt for an easy snack, desert or breakfast
  • In your baking:  Adding nuts to your Keto baking can add flavor and healthy fats to your cookies, muffins, breads and cakes (all using Keto-friendly ingredients of course!)
  • Sprinkle on your salads: Leafy greens such as Kale, spinach and lettuce are important on Keto for the vitamins and minerals that they provide.  However, they can sometimes be lacking in flavor and fats.  Sprinkling on a handful of walnuts can add a satisfying crunch as well as some much needed healthy fats

Conclusion:

Walnuts are a great addition to your Keto diet.  They offer a healthy mix of fats and protein with very few carbs.  They also provide your body with a host of health benefits.  Since they’re easy to find and simple to incorporate into a variety of meals it makes sense to try to add a serving or two of walnuts into your daily Keto meals.  You should see success with your Keto as well as improved gut, brain and heart health. 

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