Ketogenic diets are becoming popular considering how effective they are in terms of reducing weight and improving the overall quality of life. Keto diets focus on a low carb intake while consuming a greater fat content.
Doing this not only helps in reducing weight but also reduces the amount of sugar in your blood due to the reduced carb intake. As a result of this low carb intake, it puts your body in ketosis which basically means that your body uses the fat content as a source of energy.
However, for following a keto diet, you have to decide what foods to consume and what foods to stay away from to ensure your body stays in ketosis. Now, considering low carb foods, you may think of adding nuts to the mix as they are an excellent snack.
Nut are not only rich in dietary fat but also an excellent source of fat and protein as well. There are multiple forms of nuts available, including walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios and so many more.
But unfortunately, there are only some types of nuts that can be safely incorporated in keto diets. So, what about pistachios? Are pistachios keto friendly? Can they be added to keto diets? Let’s find out.
Are Pistachios Keto?
The answer to this is both yes and no, because it comes down to the serving size of Pistachios.
Compared to other nuts, pistachios have a slightly higher composition of carbohydrates. However, to offset the high amount of carbs in pistachios all you need to do is lower your portion size.
To help you understand this better, let’s consider the carb content in Pistachios. They contain over 28 grams of carbohydrates per a 100 gram serving size. However, you need to know that most of these carbs comprise of dietary fibers.
If we take away the dietary fiber based carb content, the net carbs in pistachios comes down to only 18 grams of net carbs. Considering keto diets, 18 grams may still be a little high. But this is the breaking point that determines whether or not pistachios are safe on a keto diet.
If you are able to manage your serving size so that it fits your total per day carb requirements and does not exceed it, you can add pistachios to your keto diets.
On a controlled serving size, pistachios are absolutely best for your keto diets. This is because a 100 gram serving of pistachios contains 45 g of fat, 20 g of protein, 10 g of dietary fiber and many more minerals and vitamins.
As you can see, pistachios offer you a good amount of fat, protein, and dietary fiber which perfectly fits with ketogenic diets that involve increasing the fat content and cutting down on carbs.
So, all in all, pistachios are keto friendly as long as you manage your serving sizes and keep them small. When consumed in small serving sizes, pistachios can help you boost your cardiovascular health and also aid in significant weight loss.
While this may not imply to everyone and it depends on the other foods in your diets, but generally speaking if the serving size were to be increased to more than 2 – 3 handfuls it will kick you out of ketosis (depending on how much carbs are you getting from other foods).
When consuming pistachios, make sure to take into account all of the carb content you’re getting from your foods because you need the carb content to be less than 50 grams a day.
Quick Facts About Pistachios:
Pistachios are the favorite nuts of many people throughout the world. They are native to the western parts of Asia. However, other countries including China, United States are also growing pistachios currently.
The reason why pistachios cannot be grown everywhere is the fact that it is a desert plant. Due to this, these plants thrive in dry environments.
Another interesting thing about desert plants is that they can live for more than 300 years! Talking of years, pistachios have been known for thousands of years. Researchers are claiming that the first pistachios were discovered and consumed over 300,000 years ago.
Pistachios are determined by the vibrant red color of their hard shell (when ripened). Interestingly, when pistachios are ripened, their shells split open. This can be a great way of finding out if the pistachios you’re considering buying are ripened or not.
Once ripened, they are dried and roasted to further give them a luscious taste that people absolutely love!
Pistachios: Nutritional Profile
Pistachios have a good nutrient profile and are a rich source of multiple nutrients. Here is an insight into the nutritional profile of pistachios (per 1 oz or 28.5 gram serving).
|Total lipid (fat)||12.8 g (90% unsaturated)|
|Total dietary fiber||3 g|
|Vitamin C||1.59 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.482 mg|
|Vitamin A||7.37 µg|
|Vitamin E||0.811 mg|
Health Benefits Of Eating Pistachios:
Pistachios are rich in nutrients, and they can lead to a wide number of benefits -thus improving your overall health! Here is an insight into what benefits you can receive from eating pistachios.
1. Rich In Antioxidants:
Pistachios have a significantly high number of antioxidants compared to other nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews.
Antioxidants are a crucial requirement of our bodies due to their role in fighting off free radicals from our body. Antioxidants help in preventing cell damage and lowering the risks of suffering from diseases and severe health complications like cancer.
Consuming pistachios within the limits of your ketogenic diets will allow you to benefit from the lutein and zeaxanthin content. These are 2 antioxidants that greatly help in improving your eye health by protecting them from the harmful effects of blue light.
Moreover, the antioxidants in pistachios are also beneficial in terms of age-related eye conditions which often end up in impaired and lost vision otherwise.
Other antioxidants including polyphenols and tocopherols in pistachios are also beneficial in terms of improving cardiovascular health lowering the risk of certain cancers.
2. Rich In Proteins:
20% of the total weight of pistachios comes from proteins, which can give you an idea of the protein composition in pistachios. Apart from proteins, pistachios are also rich in amino acids which are essentially the building blocks for proteins.
Since our bodies cannot produce amino acids, the only way to meet the amino acid requirements of our body is to consume foods like pistachios. The amino acid content (L—arginine) in pistachios are converted to nitric oxide in the blood.
As a result of this nitric oxide in the blood, it helps in dilating the blood vessels -thus ultimately leading to an improved flow of blood in the body.
3. Helps In Weight Loss
Pistachios are an excellent source of fibers and proteins. Since proteins and fibers both lead to feeling of fullness, it helps you manage your food intake better since you will not be craving food after consuming fibers and proteins from pistachios.
Another interesting thing about pistachios is the fact that the fat in pistachios is not easily digested by the gut. This is because the fat content in pistachios is within the cell walls.
Since the gut cannot process or digest the fat within the walls of the cells, it helps in lowering the absorbed fat content in the body.
On a side note, pistachios are an excellent means of mindful eating (shelled pistachios only). Thus, eating shelled pistachios gives you with an idea of how many pistachios you have consumed -thus lowering the total amount of pistachios you consume.
4. Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria
Pistachios are highly rich in fiber content. A single serving of pistachio contains 3 grams. Consuming pistachios in a balanced amount allows you to receive a decent amount of fibers from them.
When fiber enters your body, some of it gets digested by the stomach, whereas some moves towards the gut which is then consumed by the good bacteria. This yields in prebiotics which are essential for gut health.
When gut bacteria process the fiber content it is then transformed into short-chain fatty acid. Due to the presence of this short chain fatty acid, it boosts the digestive health and lowers the risk of digestive complications along with cardiovascular and cancer as well.
5. Improves Blood Vessel Health
Pistachios are a rich source of amino acids which are then converted nitric oxide in the body. It is a crucial compound and plays a very important role in blood vessel health. Nitric oxides essentially dilate the blood vessels and thus relaxing the endothelium (the inner lining of vessels).
So, as a result of relaxed endothelium in the vessels, it essentially improves blood flow throughout the body.
How Can You Eat Pistachios On Keto?
It is widely assumed that pistachios are not safe for keto due to their carb content. However, as mentioned earlier, Pistachios are keto as long as you ensure your intake is moderate and not in large serving sizes.
Since you are only allowed to consume up to 50 grams of carbs a day, you will have to restrict your pistachio intake accordingly. For instance, if your diet is already fulfilling the criteria of 50 g carbs a day limit, it would be wise to limit your pistachio intake to 2 oz per day.
2 oz per day only yields in 10 grams of net carbs, which can be perfectly adjusted in ketogenic diets. Now, the best way to do this would be to only use pistachio as a flavoring or seasoning on sweets and desserts.
This way, you will get to enjoy the earthy and luscious flavor of pistachios without compromising your keto diet. For starters, you can add a handful of pistachios to the following food items:
- Breakfast bowls
The list goes on and this is only to give you an idea of how you can consume pistachios.
Keto Friendly Pistachio Recipes:
Looking for some keto friendly pistachio recipes? Here are some of our picks:
1. Keto Pistachio Ice Cream
- Pistachios (Chopped and toasted) – 1/2 cup
- Egg yolks – 2
- Half whole milk and half cream (half and half) – ½ cup
- Coconut milk – 1/2 cup
- Heavy cream – 1 cup
- Stevia or any sugar-free sweetener – 1/2 cup
- Glycerin – 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla – 1/2 teaspoon
- Grab a small saucepan. Add pistachios and toast them on medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes. If you’re not sure when to stop toasting them, wait until you smell a nutty fragrance. Once toasted, reduce the heat and set it on low. Add the half and half and let it heat further. After bubbles form, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour vanilla in it. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- After the wait time, whisk 2 egg yolks and add to the pistachios covered in half and half. Let it temper and then reheat over low – medium heat till the mixture becomes thick.
- Next, grab a blender and add the pistachios, egg yolks, coconut milk, heavy cream, and half and half along with a slight amount of sweetener. Let it blend and then refrigerate it.
- If you have an ice cream machine, you need to follow the instructions specified on the machine. But, if you do not have an ice cream machine, you need to put the mixture in the freezer. Churn it periodically till it becomes solid.
- Sprinkle some pistachios on top and enjoy your pistachio ice cream!
2. Keto Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Super fine almond flour – ¾ cup
- Oat fiber – ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons
- Swerve or equivalent granulated sweetener – 5 tablespoons
- Baking powder – ½ teaspoon
- Xanthan gum – ¼ teaspoon
- Butter – ¼ cup (melted)
- Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
- Egg – 1 large
- Roasted salted pistachios, chopped – 5 tablespoons
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and split them in two parts.
- Grab a large bowl and mix the ingredients including melted butter and vanilla. Add 1 part of the dry ingredients in the bowl and let them mix using an electric mixer. After mixing, you need to add the egg.
- Once the mixture is prepared, grab the 2nd part of the dry ingredients and add it to the mixture.
- Fold in some pistachios and prepare tube that are 5” x 2” (L x W).
- Roll in the mixture in the tubes and ensure there are no cracks in it since the surface needs to be smooth.
- Get a long enough piece of parchment paper. Ideally it should be long enough to cover the entire cookie sheet.
- Now, grab the parchment paper and roll the dough in it. Afterwards, let it freeze for over 30 minutes.
- The next step is to bake them. For this, you need to pre-heat your oven by setting the temperature to 350 degrees 5.
- Grab the dough that you wrapped in the parchment paper earlier. Place it on a cutting board and ensure that you flip it so that the clean side is facing upwards. Grab a cookie sheet and cover it.
- Next you need to cut the dough into cookies (1/3” round size or however you prefer).
- Once you have cut them according to your specified size, bake them for 8 – 12 minutes. A good way to determine if they are done is to check the color of the edges. You should have a golden brown color on the edge of the baked cookies.
- When done, leave the cookies out for 15 – 20 minutes to cool off. Initially they will appear smooth but when you let them sit for a couple minutes, the cookies will harden up.
Are pistachios keto friendly? Well, yes and no. The reason why the answer to this is yes and no is that it depends on you and how much pistachios you’re intending to consume. In small servings, pistachios are keto friendly and perfectly fine to be added to your snacks.
Generally, you can enjoy 1 – 2 servings of pistachios per day either by consuming them directly or by sprinkling them on your favorite foods. 1 – 2 servings per day will allow you to stay in ketosis and at the same time enjoy eating pistachios. Anything more than this will put you out of ketosis and is strictly not recommended.
If you want to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below: