Can I eat pistachios on keto?
In this article, we are going to discuss and answer the question “Can I eat pistachios on keto?”. The article includes relevant information like the nutritional information of pistachios and the difference between raw and roasted pistachios. Can I eat pistachios on keto?
Yes, you can eat pistachios on keto, but only in moderation. Eating nuts, in general, is controversial since they contain carbs in them. This green nut is rich in fibers, and antioxidants, but unfortunately, it is high in carbs.
An ounce of raw pistachios contains net carbs of 4.71 g while roasted pistachios contain 5.1 g. This is between 10 and 25 % of your daily carbs limit (1,2). Why are carbohydrates not allowed in a Keto Diet?
Carbohydrates are not allowed in a keto diet because it will interrupt the ketosis state. The keto diet works in the following mechanism: reducing your carbohydrate intake below 50 g a day will deplete your glycogen stores, and will force your body to burn fat for energy (3,4,5).
The transition from using carbohydrates to fat as an energy source is known as ketosis, and this metabolic shift is the responsible for the effects of keto diet, for example (3,4,5):
- Reduction of body weight and body fat mass.
- Regulation of glucose, insulin, and blood lipids.
Therefore, a keto diet restricts your carbohydrates intake to the minimum. If you want to learn more about the keto diet, please visit our article on this topic right here.
What is the nutritional composition of pistachios?
According to the USDA the nutritional information of one ounce of raw, and roasted pistachios (which is about 49 kernels) is the following (1,2):
|Raw pistachios||Roasted pistachios|
|Carbohydrates||7.71 g||8.02 g|
|Fiber||3 g||2.92 g|
|Protein||5.73 g||5.95 g|
|Fats||12.8 g||13 g|
|Monounsaturated fats||6.61 g||6.95 g|
|Polyunsaturated fats||4.08 g||3.77 g|
|Saturated fats||1.68 g||1.6 g|
As you can see, both raw and roasted pistachios contain high concentrations of carbohydrates; therefore, eating a lot of pistachios can interrupt your keto diet.
Why roast pistachios?
Companies roast pistachios for some reason. Raw pistachios carry out bacteria like salmonella and aflatoxin because they are high in moisture (approximately 50 %) (6,7).
Salmonella infection can cause a range of intestinal symptoms from diarrhea to fever to abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and headaches (6,7).
Aflatoxins are a group of toxins produced by fungi, these toxins can cause some symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, convulsions, and other signs of acute liver injury (6,7).
Roasting pistachios give them a crunchy taste as well. They add spices and salt to pistachios before roasting them and roasting makes the spices stick to it (6,7).
Roasting pistachios makes them easier to digest and easier to eat when they lose their shells. Furthermore, roasting is a good technique to extend the shelf-life of pistachios (6,7).
What are the two kinds of roasting?
Roasting pistachios has two kinds. One kind is to roast them with only heat, similar to dehydration.. The other type is oil roasting which is very similar to frying cooking (6).
Dry roasting, it needs no oil or water to roast them. You just need a pan and a source of heat, like an oven for about a quarter-hour (6).
Oil roasting is done when pistachios are sprayed with a thin layer of oil as they move on a conveyor belt; however, take into account that frying will add oil to pistachios, adding an extra fat content and calories (6).
How are raw and roasted pistachios different?
Raw pistachios and roasted ones are different in some ways. Raw pistachios have slightly more fiber content than roasted pistachios. With oil-roasted pistachios their caloric intake and fat content increase as a result of the oil addition (6).
Roasting does not alter the fatty acid profile, but It is necessary to kill bacteria like salmonella. Even though high heat does not destroy Aflatoxin, high temperatures can inhibit the fungi responsible for producing Aflatoxins (6,7).
Can I roast pistachios at home?
Yes, you can totally roast pistachios at home. In fact, it is a very simple process. You need a pan and some pistachios and you are good to go (6).
Choosing to roast on medium heat about 140 °C for 15 minutes would reduce the loss of vitamins and nutrients in these pistachios (6).
What are some health benefits of pistachios?
Pistachios are highly nutritious and provide vitamins and minerals for the normal functioning of your body. Some of the benefits of the pistachios are the following (8,9):
- High in dietary fiber which makes it very healthy for the gut. Humans need appropriate fiber in order to prevent constipation and straining.
- Fiber also helps to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal health because when it is fermented in your gut, it produces short chain fatty acids; the short chain fatty acids prevent colon cancer and prevent infections with pathogenic bacteria.
- Pistachios are rich in protein.Proteins are essential for good health, they are building blocks for muscle, organs, immune cells, and even enzymes.
- Pistachios are rich in healthy fat. Monounsaturated fats like the pistachio’s fat are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive deterioration, mainly because these fats are anti-inflammatory.
- Pistachios are rich in antioxidants that are protective against free radicals. These free radicals are harmful to the body and the organs because they can alter your cellular function, increasing the risk of cancer.
What about pistachio oil?
Pistachio oil contains zero grams of carbs and proteins, and contains 14 g of fats. Pistachio oil is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, squalene, and sterols (10). Vitamin E is essential for a strong immune system, and it is linked to a lower risk of skin cancer. Vitamin E acts as a photo protector for skin, reducing the damage caused by UV light (11).
Squalene and sterols have anti-inflammatory properties specifically in the cardiovascular system, therefore, they are cardioprotective (10).
Pistachio oil can be used for your dishes by adding the flavor of pistachios without the carbs, or you can prepare some salad dressings with this oil. You can find one here.
In this article, we are going to discuss and answer the question “Can I eat pistachios on keto?”. The article also included relevant information like the nutritional information of pistachios and the difference between raw and roasted pistachios.
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 27 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170184/nutrients
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 27 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170185/nutrients
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- Esmaeilpour A, Shakerardekani A. Effect of harvesting time and delay in the hulling process on the aflatoxin content of pistachio nuts. J Food Qual, 2022;2022:1–4.
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- Bulló M, Juanola-Falgarona M, Hernández-Alonso P, Salas-Salvadó J. Nutrition attributes and health effects of pistachio nuts. Br J Nutr, 2015;113 Suppl 2(S2):S79-93.
- Ryan E, Galvin K, O’Connor TP, Maguire AR, O’Brien NM. Fatty acid profile, tocopherol, squalene and phytosterol content of brazil, pecan, pine, pistachio and cashew nuts. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2006;57(3–4):219–28.
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