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Is Chicken Keto-Friendly?

Chicken on a kitchen counter

Is Chicken Keto-Friendly? The short answer is a resounding yes! And this is fantastic news for those following a ketogenic diet, as chicken is not only a versatile and delicious protein source, but it's also packed with a variety of essential nutrients.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the specifics of chicken's carb content, how to incorporate it effectively into your keto diet, and explore its overall nutritional value.

From its protein benefits to its low glycemic index, we'll break down everything you need to know about enjoying chicken on a keto diet.

So, let's get started, shall we?


  • Yes, chicken is keto-friendly due to its low carb content.
  • Chicken is not only a versatile protein, but it also provides essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to overall health.
  • However, it does contain some sodium, so intake should be monitored by those on a sodium-restricted diet.

Is Chicken Keto-Friendly?

Absolutely, chicken is indeed keto-friendly. It contains 0.0 g net carbs per 100 g, making it a suitable choice for those following a ketogenic diet.

This low carb profile is one of the primary reasons why chicken is considered a keto-friendly food. In the context of a ketogenic diet, which primarily aims to minimize carbohydrate intake, chicken's zero carb content perfectly fits the bill. A typical serving size of chicken is around 100g, and the net carb content remains at 0.0g. Therefore, whether you're consuming a small portion or having a full chicken meal, it does not contribute any additional carbs to your diet.

While keeping your carb intake low, it's also important to look at other nutritional factors. Alongside its minimal carb content, chicken is also a good source of protein, providing 30.54g per 100g. Hence, it's not just a carb-friendly option, but also a protein-rich food that can help in maintaining muscle mass in the ketogenic diet. Remember, however, that individual dietary needs may vary, and it's always best to consult with a healthcare provider when in doubt.

Can You Have Chicken on a Strict Keto Diet?

Yes, you can definitely include chicken in a strict keto diet. Given its 0.0g net carbs per 100g, chicken aligns perfectly with the stringent requirements of a strict keto diet, which typically restricts carb consumption to less than 20g per day.

Some individuals may choose to follow a more flexible approach to keto, often referred to as a low-carb diet, where they limit their daily net carb intake to between 30-50g. Chicken fits comfortably into this dietary regimen as well, due to its low net carb content.

In order to incorporate chicken into your diet without disrupting ketosis, it's helpful to keep track of your daily carb intake. There are many tools available, such as carb tracking apps, that can assist in monitoring your consumption of net carbs. Remember, it's important to account for all sources of carbs in your meals, not just the chicken, to ensure you stay within your daily limit.

While chicken fits into a strict keto diet, it's essential to remember that everyone's dietary needs and responses to food can vary. Therefore, it's always best to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian when making significant changes to your diet.

Carbs In Chicken

Chicken is notably low in carbs, with 0.0g net carbs per 100g. This makes it a favorable option for those aiming to maintain a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Moreover, chicken has a glycemic index of 0, classifying it as a low GI food [source]. This means that it's unlikely to cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels, an added benefit for those seeking to manage their carb intake. Foods with a lower GI digest slowly, leading to a steady rise in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a high GI are quickly digested, causing a rapid spike.

Chicken Nutrition Facts

Let's discuss the nutritional profile of a 100 g portion of chicken. The macronutrients highlighted are protein (27 g), fat (3.6 g), and carbohydrates (0 g), making it an exceptional source of protein and a low-fat option.
Delving into micronutrients, chicken is rich in multiple vitamins and minerals. It's a source of Vitamin B6 and B12, pivotal for optimal metabolic function. Niacin, another B-vitamin, is also present, supporting overall cellular health.
Chicken stands out for its impressive mineral profile, boasting a considerable presence of Selenium and Zinc. Selenium supports thyroid health, while zinc is essential for immune function.
Next, we note Phosphorus and Potassium, which play a role in bone health and heart function respectively. Lastly, Iron content in chicken aids in oxygen transport in the body.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100 g
Net Carbs0.0g
Total lipid (fat)3.17g
Calcium, Ca5.0mg
Iron, Fe0.45mg
Magnesium, Mg34.0mg
Phosphorus, P258.0mg
Potassium, K391.0mg
Sodium, Na52.0mg
Zinc, Zn0.9mg
Copper, Cu0.042mg
Manganese, Mn0.012mg
Selenium, Se28.4µg
Pantothenic acid1.71mg
Vitamin B-61.157mg
Choline, total111.4mg
Vitamin B-120.21µg
Vitamin A, RAE10.0µg
Vitamin A, IU32.0IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.54mg
Tocopherol, gamma0.09mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units1.0IU
Vitamin K (Menaquinone-4)11.1µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.992g
SFA 10:00.014g
SFA 12:00.005g
SFA 14:00.019g
SFA 15:00.005g
SFA 16:00.704g
SFA 17:00.004g
SFA 18:00.236g
SFA 20:00.002g
SFA 22:00.004g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated1.212g
MUFA 14:10.005g
MUFA 16:10.147g
MUFA 16:1 c0.147g
MUFA 17:10.002g
MUFA 18:11.041g
MUFA 18:1 c1.031g
MUFA 20:10.017g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.764g
PUFA 18:20.581g
PUFA 18:2 n-6 c,c0.579g
PUFA 18:2 CLAs0.001g
PUFA 18:30.024g
PUFA 18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA)0.024g
PUFA 20:2 n-6 c,c0.011g
PUFA 20:30.02g
PUFA 20:3 n-60.02g
PUFA 20:40.085g
PUFA 20:5 n-3 (EPA)0.004g
PUFA 22:40.022g
PUFA 22:5 n-3 (DPA)0.01g
PUFA 22:6 n-3 (DHA)0.007g
Fatty acids, total trans0.01g
Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic0.009g
TFA 18:1 t0.009g
TFA 18:2 t not further defined0.001g
Fatty acids, total trans-polyenoic0.001g
Aspartic acid2.872g
Glutamic acid4.524g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Chicken on a Keto Diet

Beyond its low carb content, chicken also boasts a range of other beneficial nutrients that can support overall health. For instance, it provides a significant amount of protein (30.54g per 100g), which is crucial for muscle maintenance and repair. It's also a source of essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which play key roles in various bodily functions. In terms of vitamins, chicken offers a good amount of niacin and Vitamin B-6, contributing to energy production and brain health respectively.

Incorporating Chicken into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. Chicken is a versatile protein that can be prepared in countless ways. For a simple, keto-friendly meal, try roasting or grilling chicken with a blend of herbs and spices. Remember to avoid breading or sauces that might add extra carbs.
  2. Chicken can be the star of many keto recipes. For instance, chicken can be used in a salad with leafy greens, avocado, and a low-carb dressing. Alternatively, consider a chicken stir-fry with a variety of non-starchy vegetables and a low-carb sauce.
  3. Portion control is vital, even with low-carb foods. While chicken is keto-friendly, it's important to consider the overall nutritional profile of your meals, ensuring they also contain adequate amounts of fats and fiber.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Chicken

  1. Turkey: Similar to chicken, turkey is a lean protein that is low in carbs, making it a great alternative. It can be used in many of the same recipes as chicken, such as salads, stir-fries, and stews. Plus, it provides a similar nutritional profile to chicken but has a slightly different flavor for those seeking variety in their diet.
  2. Salmon: This fatty fish is not just low in carbs but also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Salmon can be grilled, baked, or used in a keto-friendly fish salad. It has a higher fat content compared to chicken, which can be advantageous for those on a keto diet aiming for higher fat intake.
  3. Tofu: For those following a vegetarian or vegan keto diet, tofu can be a great alternative. It's low in carbs and offers a decent amount of protein. Tofu can be pan-fried with low-carb vegetables, incorporated into a keto stir-fry, or used in a salad. Bear in mind that while tofu is a good protein source, it doesn't provide as much protein as chicken.

Concluding Thoughts on Chicken and Keto

Chicken, with its 0.0g net carbs and a range of beneficial nutrients, is an excellent choice for those following a keto diet. It fits seamlessly into the strict carb limit that such a diet requires, and offers nutritional benefits including a high protein content and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

The versatility of chicken makes it easy to incorporate into various keto-friendly meals. Whether it's used in salads, stir-fries, or simply grilled with herbs and spices, it's a protein source that can be enjoyed in numerous ways while adhering to a keto diet.

On the other hand, while chicken is generally a healthy choice, it's important to note that it does contain some sodium. Those on a sodium-restricted diet due to specific health conditions might need to monitor their intake.

Explore our Is It Keto Knowledge Hub.

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

The views expressed at, or through, Cast Iron Keto are for informational purposes only. Cast Iron Keto cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. While we use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of the content and assume no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, chicken is low in carbs making it a perfect fit for a keto diet.

All parts of the chicken can be consumed on a keto diet. However, skin-on and dark meat portions like the thighs and drums have a higher fat content which can be beneficial on a keto diet.

No, the cooking method does not change the carb content, but be careful with sauces or marinades as they can add extra carbs.

Traditional fried chicken is not keto-friendly due to the high-carb breaded coating. However, there are keto-friendly variations using almond flour or other low-carb alternatives for the coating.