The pecan is a gourmet nut with a mild, buttery flavor produced by the hickory tree. They are similar in taste to the walnut and are a popular ingredient in many dessert recipes, especially pecan pie, butter tarts, and butter pecan ice cream.
These nuts aren’t just good for desserts, they’re also good for your health. Not only do pecans offer a number of nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs, but they also promote heart health and lower cholesterol. Keep reading to find out why you should incorporate more pecans into your meal plan to support your health and vitality.
Included in this article is a delectable recipe for Keto Butter Pecan Toffee Bars. These bars are sugar-free and low in carbs. When you bite into one of them, you’ll be surprised how much they taste like pecan pie! Enjoy one of these along with your mid-morning cup of coffee or in the evening when you’re craving a sweet treat because dieting doesn’t have to mean skipping dessert!
Are Pecans Keto Friendly?
Pecans are one of the lowest carb nuts on the market, with Brazil nuts and macadamias not far behind. These nuts make a great choice when following the Keto diet as they are low in carbs and high in satiating fat – which is perfect for Keto. As with most foods, be sure to eat them in moderation.
The worst options for Keto include pistachio and cashew nuts, which are much higher in carbs than pecans.
How Many Carbs are in Pecans?
One ounce of pecans (28.4 grams) contains 3.9 grams of total carbs. After accounting for 2.7 grams of fiber, net digestible carbs drop to only 1.2 grams. It is better to snack on pecans on their own rather than adding them to baked goods, which boosts the carb count.
How Many Calories are in Pecans?
One ounce of pecans (28.4 grams) contains 196 calories. Ten nuts provide just 98 calories. Like most nuts, most of the calories in pecans come from fat, as they contain 20 of fat grams per serving.
|Amount: 1 ounce (28.4 grams) of pecans (about 19 halves)|
|Total Fat 20 grams||30%|
|Saturated fat 1.8 grams||9%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 6 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 12 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 0 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 116.2 milligrams||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 3.9 grams||1%|
|Dietary fiber 2.7 grams||10%|
|Sugar 1.1 grams|
|Protein 2.6 grams||5%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||0%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%|
Pecans are rich in manganese, a mineral that helps your metabolism to function properly. They are also a good source of thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.
Promotes Heart Health
Pecans contain a decent amount of vitamin E, a nutrient that helps prevent heart disease.
These nuts also provide a little polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, which are considered healthy fats. These fats are derived from plant sources and can help lower levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
High in Antioxidants
Pecans high antioxidant activity can reduce the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. These antioxidants also help prevent neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. In fact, pecans contain the most antioxidants than any other nut, according to the USDA.
Assists the Nervous System
Incorporating pecans into your meal plan can help protect your nervous system and delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration. According to the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, pecans can help prevent the onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Tree nut allergies are common. If you have an allergy to nuts, you should avoid pecans or foods containing pecans.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that it is possible to have an allergy to one type of tree nut and not have a reaction to others.
In those who are allergic, reactions to pecans or other tree nuts can be mild to severe, and may even cause life-threatening anaphylaxis. See a qualified healthcare provider for an allergy screening before consuming pecans if you suspect that you may be allergic.
Top 7 Low Carb Nuts
- Pecan nuts – 50 grams (a large handful) contains 2 grams of net carbs.
- Brazil nuts – 50 grams contains 2 grams of net carbs.
- Macadamia – 50 grams contains 2.5 grams of net carbs.
- Hazelnuts – 50 grams contains 3.5 grams of net carbs.
- Walnuts – 50 grams contains 3.5 grams of net carbs.
- Peanuts – 50 grams contains 4 grams of net carbs.
- Almonds – 50 grams contains 4.5 grams of net carbs.
Keto Butter Pecan Toffee Bars
Ingredients for Shortbread Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup powdered Swerve or Stevia (or sugar-free sweetener of choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
Instructions for Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a mixer, combine almond flour, powdered sweetener, and salt. Pulse to mix well. Sprinkle with butter pieces and continue mixing until it is well incorporated forming a crumbly crust. If you are mixing the ingredients by hand, you can cut in the butter using a pastry cutter.
- Press crust mixture into the bottom of baking pan and bake about 13 minutes, until crust begins to brown slightly at the edges. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Ingredients for Topping:
- 3/4 cup granulated Swerve Sweetener
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tablespoons powdered Swerve or (sweetener of choice)
- 3 cups pecans, whole or halves
Instructions for Topping:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sweetener and butter and stir until it dissolves. Bring to a boil and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the buttery mixture darkens.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and sea salt. Add in the powdered sweetener at this point to avoid the mixture separating.
- Arrange pecans evenly onto the crust and then pour toffee mixture over top. Bake for about 15 more minutes, until the color darkens and the topping begins to bubble. Remove from oven and refrigerate before cutting into bars.
Makes 16 bars. Each serving contains only 1.83 grams of net carbs.
Are Pecans High in LDL “Bad” Cholesterol?
Pecans are completely cholesterol-free.
Recent research shows that consuming a serving of pecans daily can help lower levels of LDL, or the unhealthy type of cholesterol that is linked with heart disease.
Are Pecans Good for Weight Loss?
Nuts can make a healthy snack if you are trying to slim down, however, it is important to eat them in moderation as they do contain a lot of fat and calories. With that being said, they also contain protein and fiber to curb hunger and keep you satisfied.
Weight loss experts suggest that dieters consume high-protein, fiber-rich foods to help them eat fewer calories throughout the day, in order to create the calorie deficit that is needed for weight loss.
Salted nuts taste better and can signal you to eat more of them, resulting in overeating. Consuming too many nuts can lead to weight gain. So stick to the proper serving size of pecans, which is about a handful.
Are Pecans Safe for Diabetics?
Polyunsaturated fat, like the type of fat in tree nuts, is especially beneficial to people with diabetes as these plant-based healthy fats can improve lipid levels.
Consuming foods that contain polyunsaturated fats can help control elevated blood glucose if eaten in moderation.
Consume whole nuts instead of candied pecans or sugary desserts containing pecans which can spike blood sugar.