WTH is the Straight Dope in regards to pistachios and the Keto diet?

Info on the web is all over the place. One site says "These nuts are a must-have on a ketogenic diet". while another site says "Sorry to break the news… pistachios aren’t keto"


I bought a 1 ounce bag of shelled pistachios out of a vending machine (the only thing in that machine that wasn’t loaded with carbs) and using a keto calculator the net carbs were only 2 for the bag. Yet the same web page that calculator is on says to avoid pistachios.

I packed on a little weight over the winter/pandemic and have already lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks on Keto (only 15 more to go. ) But I don’t want to sabotage myself eating something that I think is alright when it is not.

I dunno the answer, but I’m watching this thread to find out too!

I’m sick and tired of walnuts and pecans all the time.

Pistachios are fine. At the end of the day (literally and metaphorically) It’s not so much what you eat, it’s all about keeping the total net carbs below whatever daily level you set for yourself. When I did keto a couple years ago I think the ideal ratio was something like 60% fat, 20% protein, 20% net carbs, and I tried to keep total calories down to net 1600 per day (net calories being ‘total food calories minus calories expended from exercise’, which made me a big fan of daily exercise!)

When I was on keto and I needed a snack at work often the only vending machine item that was vaguely keto was a little pack of Planter’s Peanuts, which are actually a type of bean, and not considered keto, or borderline at best. And sometimes when I’d make some type of soup or stew for dinner I’d sneak a little non-keto veggies into the meal, like tomatoes, because I knew I’d kept the net carbs very low all day and I could take the hit.

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I just reread your post. 20 pounds in 3 weeks? That’s a lot to lose that fast-- over 6 lbs. a week. A healthy rate of weight loss is supposed to be no more than 2 lbs. a week. I ultimately lost 30 lbs. on keto, but that was over 3 or 4 months. It may be, like most diets, you’re getting that initial quick weight loss that’s mostly shedding retained water weight, and then the plateau sets in as you start burning actual fat. In any case, pace yourself and don’t try to go too crazy too fast with the weight loss.

You act like this is my first rodeo, Junior. The last time I did Keto was 2 years ago and I lost 31 pounds in 31 days just like the diet plan promised. And I did it under the guidance of a nutritionist and a cardiologist, unlike now which is I’m on my own. Like now I also went into an intense body building regime. Surprisingly after eating eggs and steak and few carbs for a month my cholesterol and triglycerides went down significantly. But when I went on my maintenance diet after keto I got sloppy and gained some weight back and lost some muscle mass.

But sometimes at work I crave a snack and can’t get to my locker. Nuts are usually the only thing in a machine that are even remotely Keto. But why so many different opinions on them?

The advice from a Weight Watchers (WW International - Wikipedia) group I attended was:

  • eat better (i.e. less fatty stuff + more fibre), but do give yourself occasional treats
  • exercise more (but don’t suddenly try to be an athlete)
  • aim for the long run (gradual continual weight loss over years is the aim)
  • get encouragement from friends and fellow dieters

Within that sound advice, we all need to find a way of dieting that suits us … and that lasts!

OK then, I bow to the master! Maybe you can be my remote diet and fitness coach then— I kinda gained back most of those 30 lbs. during the pandemic that I had lost a couple years ago… :angry:

Part of it depends on your starting point. When I weighed 290 pounds losing 30 wasn’t that hard. Now that I weigh 202 pounds losing 30 in a month would devastate me. Still I could stand to lose 30 pounds, just not that fast. I’d think 12 pounds off in a month is doable.

Yup, that’s what happened to me. I didn’t exactly get fat but I lost muscle mass when I went off it. And at almost 61 it’s hard to gain back.

Keto freaking works. But it’s a miserable diet. You get sick the second week on it for a few days (Keto flu). No bread, no popcorn, no baked potatoes, no Doritos, no cheating, no fucking beer! But if you stay in Ketosis it works and works quickly. The problem is it’s almost impossible to stay on past 3 months. You’ll go insane. (Did I mention no popcorn or beer?) And if you don’t stick to a decent maintenance diet after you go off Keto you’ll balloon up fast.

I did Keto at the beginning of the pandemic, and within eight months lost 25 lbs. Couple that with religious CrossFit, I’m still down from 178 to 153, but my strength has skyrockted–going from zero pullups to sixteen inside of another eight months. It’s like Keto unlocked my superpower*. SInce then, I’d slowly reintroduced carbs (mostly in the form of berries and a little honey in my breakfast shakes) but stuck with “Keto adjacent.” and it’s been awesome. I found that starting Keto was rough, but once I got through ‘the flu’, it hasn’t been bad at all. . .

Your mileage may vary.

“Net carbs” is a bunch of hooey.

I’ve been doing various strictness level of keto since January 2020. When I loosened my restrictions, incorporating the net carb calculation, my weight went up. So I again became strict with my carb counting and it went back down.

Suspicious, I independently spoke with 2 Registered Dieticians whom I know well and respect. Both agreed with me that net carbs is a marketing gimmick and there is no science behind it.

Mule fritters is what it is.


Like @Tripler, I didn’t have a real hard time with the keto diet. Yeah, giving up beer was the hardest part, but I got used to having a couple rum and seltzer water drinks on the weekends instead.

My keto superpower was being able to go long periods without feeling hungry. I remember one all-day marathon meeting I was in at work where they were very late bringing lunch in and everybody else was starving, mowing through the little bags of chips they had out. I was just fine and dandy, feeling very smug watching everybody else shoving all that crap into their mouths.

And being able to eat high-fat food guilt free was nice. Bacon, butter, eggs, cheese! (I did try to eat healthy fats too, on occasion). I mean, I still eat that stuff now, but with carbs, so no longer guilt free,

Finding substitutes for a ‘base’ for meals was tricky. I do most of the cooking in the family, and I could make a pasta sauce that was keto, put it on actual pasta for the rest of the family, but what do I put it on for me? Zucchini noodles didn’t do it for me. I found this ‘Palmeri’ brand of pseudo noodles made out of hearts of palm that were pretty good, but pricey. And I like to make a lot of stuff you normally put over rice, like stir-fries and gumbos, and I got real sick of cauliflower rice. I did find a good bread substitute recipe using almond flour so I made my own bread for sandwiches and hamburger buns.

How is ‘net carbs’ hooey? Not trying to start an argument, I’d just like to know more. My understanding of net carbs is that it’s the total amount of grams of carbs listed in the nutrition facts minus the # of grams of fiber, which is counted as carbs but not digested by our bodies as calories. Seems pretty straightforward to me, but maybe I misunderstand how it works.

Problem with net carbs is that sometimes the artificial sweaters that they use kick you out of keto by raising your blood sugar. Russel Stover candies did this in the past for me, not sure if this is still true since the switched to Stevia. It could be an indivdual thing too, I don’t really know.

Your understanding of net carbs is correct. At least, that’s what the sales pitch says.

Problem is, it’s a lot more complex than fiber “cancelling out” carbohydrates. “Net carbs” is a term invented by food manufacturers to sell their low carb products.



The Mayo clinic says this phenomenon hasn’t been determined yet. But if it is happening it’s related to consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners. Having a diet soda once or twice a day or eating 1 serving of sugar free candy shouldn’t do it. But a lot of sugar free candy has sugar alcohol in it which is not the same as what goes into diet soda and can mess with blood sugar.

So if I understand correctly, the basic idea of “net carbs”, that fiber is counted as carbs but has no caloric value, so can be subtracted from the total carb count, is not necessarily wrong, but has not been definitively proven.

Also, the concept of “net carbs” is exploited by food manufacturers in order to doctor their processed food with sweeteners while still marketing their products as “low carb”.

Is that about right?

Yeah, that is my take on it. I am not an expert, but two experts I know agree with me.

Also, my study with a single data point (me), agrees. As does my skeptical brain.

I dunno, maybe it works for some folks. It does not work for me.

Try it for yourself, I’d be interested in hearing if your weight loss while strictly counting actual carbs = weight loss incorporating net carbs into the equation.


Bear in mind, the first couple weeks of ANY diet typically have a higher rate of weight loss… Your body stores a fair bit of water and a lower-carb diet encourages it to dump that.

from here: “The body stores carbs in the form of glycogen, which binds water in the muscles and liver. When carb intake goes down, glycogen levels in the body go down, and the water follows along.”