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Is Liquorice Keto-Friendly?

Liquorice on a kitchen counter

The question 'Is Liquorice Keto-Friendly?' may seem straightforward, but the answer is more nuanced.

On a Keto diet, maintaining the state of ketosis is paramount.

This requires limiting carb intake, and unfortunately, liquorice, with its deceptively high carb content, can quickly tip the scales.

While it is technically possible to include liquorice on a keto diet, it is typically best savored in strictly controlled, moderate amounts.

This article delves into the interplay between liquorice and the Keto diet, exploring the challenges, potential health implications, practical tips for moderation, suitable alternatives, and concluding thoughts on navigating this sweet challenge.

Let's explore the complexities of incorporating liquorice into a Keto diet, and unveil some practical solutions along the way.


  • Liquorice is not typically recommended for the Keto diet due to its high carb content. However, it's not entirely off-limits, but portion control is crucial.
  • Consuming liquorice while on a Keto diet may lead to issues like the dreaded 'Keto flu', especially if it pushes your daily carb limit.
  • Indulging in liquorice without strict portion control could disrupt ketosis, setting back your Keto progress.

Is Liquorice Keto-Friendly?

Alright, let's dive right in. Is liquorice Keto-friendly? Well, the answer to that is both yes and no. It's not a straightforward 'yes' because the carbohydrate content in liquorice is not insignificant, and it's not a 'no' because it can still be consumed if managed properly.

Let's talk about macro-nutrients. The key to the Keto diet is maintaining a low-carb, high-fat dietary intake, which lets your body switch into a metabolic state known as ketosis. In this state, your body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Therefore, any food that you consume, including liquorice, needs to fit within this macro-nutrient framework.

Now, let's look at liquorice. A small 2g serving of liquorice contains 0.33g of net carbs. This may not seem like much, but remember, on a strict Keto diet, your daily net carb intake generally ranges between 20-50g. So, if you're not careful, these small portions can add up quickly and potentially push you over your daily carb limit.

So, while liquorice is not inherently incompatible with a Keto diet, it does require careful portion control if you wish to include it in your meal plan. It's worthy to note that the Keto diet is not just about cutting carbs, but about making healthy and informed food choices.

Can Liquorice be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Incorporating liquorice into a strict Keto diet may seem like a tightrope walk, doesn't it? As previously mentioned, liquorice has a relatively high carb content that needs to be accounted for. A small 2g piece of liquorice contains 0.33g of net carbs. While this might not seem like much, those tiny portions can add up quickly.

It goes without saying, implementing liquorice into a strict Keto diet requires rigorous discipline and meticulous portion control. This is because maintaining a state of ketosis depends largely on your daily intake of carbs, which, on a Keto diet, is generally between 20-50g. Even a small amount of additional carbs from the liquorice can potentially push you over your daily limit, disrupting your ketosis.

While it is technically possible to include liquorice in your Keto diet, it's certainly not recommended as a regular feature due to its high carb content. That being said, if you're really craving that unique liquorice taste, you'll need to make sure you carefully manage your carb intake for the rest of the day to accommodate it.

One of the best ways to do this is by using macro-tracking tools. There are numerous apps and websites available that can help you accurately track your daily carb, fat, and protein intake. This can be extremely helpful in ensuring that you stay within your daily limits while allowing for a small indulgence in liquorice.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Liquorice

Understood. Let's dive deeper into understanding the carbohydrate content of liquorice.

When it comes to a Keto diet, the concept of 'net carbs' is crucial. Net carbs refer to the total carbohydrates in a food minus the fiber. This is because fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest, so it doesn't impact your blood sugar levels and can be subtracted from the total carbs to give you the 'net carbs'.

Now, let's get specific with liquorice. It contains about 0.33g net carbs per 2g serving. This means that if you were to enjoy a larger serving, say 10g, you would be consuming around 1.65g of net carbs. To put that in perspective, if your daily net carb limit was 20g (a common limit for a strict Keto diet), that single 10g serving of liquorice would account for over 8% of your daily carb allowance!

It's also important to note that this doesn't take into account any other foods you might be eating throughout the day. Hence, it becomes evident that while liquorice is not a complete 'no-no' on a Keto diet, its consumption does need to be carefully monitored and limited due to its carb content.

Nutritional Snapshot of Liquorice

Liquorice, particularly its dried, sliced variant, has a unique nutritional profile that renders it a sweet treat worth considering for its health benefits. This 100g sample of Liquorice provides a notable amount of three primary nutrients: Carbohydrates, Sodium, and Calories.

The carbohydrate content of Liquorice stands at 16.67g per 100g serving. Carbohydrates are a crucial energy source for the body and play a significant role in fueling our daily activities. It's worth noting that moderation is key here, as excessive intake could potentially imbalance a low-carb or Keto diet.

Sodium, though often associated with negative health impacts, is actually essential when consumed in appropriate quantities. At 833.0mg per 100g, Liquorice provides Sodium which aids in maintaining fluid balance, supporting nerve transmission, and promoting muscle function.

Lastly, the calorie count of Liquorice sits at a modest 83.0kcal per 100g. These calories are a fundamental source of energy and support various bodily functions.

Unique to Liquorice is Glycyrrhizin, a compound that is said to have potential anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. While research is still ongoing, its presence makes Liquorice a fascinating subject in the world of nutrition.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Carbohydrate, by difference 16.67g
Sodium, Na 833.0mg
Calories 83.0kcal
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Liquorice' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'DRIED SLICED LICORICE' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Liquorice on a Keto Diet

Exploring the impact of liquorice on a Keto diet takes us into some important areas of health and wellness. While liquorice has some significant health benefits, it also presents a few challenges for those on a strict Keto diet.

One of the main challenges of consuming liquorice while on a Keto diet is its potential to disrupt ketosis. As we've mentioned before, a small 2g piece of liquorice contains 0.33g of net carbs. If not properly accounted for, these carbs could push you over your daily limit, causing your body to exit the state of ketosis and start burning glucose for energy again.

However, it's not all about the carbs. Liquorice also has certain properties that may affect your overall health. Fun fact - liquorice has been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to its potential anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Some research suggests that it may have benefits for digestive health and may help to alleviate symptoms of certain conditions like heartburn and indigestion.

But like anything, it's all about balance. While these health benefits of liquorice sound great, they don't necessarily make it a good fit for a Keto diet due to its high carb content.

Furthermore, it's also worth mentioning that high consumption of liquorice (like anything else) can lead to adverse health effects. For example, excessive liquorice intake can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body due to a compound called glycyrrhizin. But rest assured, these effects are usually linked to long-term, heavy consumption and are unlikely with the small, controlled portions that could be included in a Keto diet.

Importance of Limiting Liquorice in Your Keto Meal Plan

When it comes to incorporating liquorice into your Keto meal plan, the key word is 'limit'. While liquorice isn't totally off-limits on a Keto diet, its relative high carb content means it must be consumed in moderation.

One effective strategy is to think of liquorice as a 'treat'. Reserve it for those moments when you need a small sweet pick-me-up, instead of making it a regular part of your daily meal plan.

Another tip is to pair liquorice with lower-carb foods. For example, you could enjoy a small piece of liquorice after a meal that's particularly high in fats and low in carbs to balance out your macros for the day.

Now, if you're keen on getting creative in the kitchen, there are ways you can incorporate small amounts of liquorice into delicious and keto-friendly recipes. How about a liquorice-infused tea to enjoy as a sweet after-dinner treat? Or perhaps you could sprinkle some finely ground liquorice over a bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt for a unique and satisfying dessert.

Remember, maintaining a state of ketosis is crucial on a Keto diet, and eating too many carbs, even from something as innocent as liquorice, can disrupt this. Overdoing it on the carbs can potentially lead to what's known as the 'Keto flu', a series of unpleasant symptoms that can occur as your body adjusts to a new, lower-carb diet.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Liquorice

While liquorice may be a tough fit for a strict Keto diet due to its carb content, there are several Keto-compatible alternatives that you can turn to when you're craving a sweet treat.

One such alternative is stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It's virtually carb-free and much sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. You can use stevia in baking, add it to your coffee or tea, or mix it into sauces or dressings for a hint of sweetness.

For a liquorice-like flavor, fennel or anise can be an interesting substitute. While they don't exactly mimic the sweetness of liquorice, they do have a similar licorice-like taste. You can use fennel or anise in savory dishes, or even brew them into a herbal tea for a warm, comforting beverage.

As compared to liquorice, these alternatives have a much lower carb content. For instance, one teaspoon of stevia has less than 1g of carbs, while the same amount of fennel seeds contains around 0.9g of carbs.

Concluding Thoughts on Liquorice and Keto

Liquorice and the Keto diet have a complex relationship. This much-loved sweet treat certainly has its place in the world of culinary delights, but when it comes to a strict Keto diet, it tends to be more trouble than it's worth.

The high carb content of liquorice makes it a challenging indulgence for those endeavoring to maintain ketosis. Each small piece must be counted and accounted for in your daily carb load, and even then, the margin for error is slim. With the Keto diet's typical daily net carb limit ranging from 20-50g, even a 2g piece of liquorice (with 0.33g net carbs) begins to encroach upon this limit all too quickly.

While it's technically possible to include liquorice into your Keto diet, it is generally not recommended due to the difficulty of maintaining the required balance. If you decide to indulge, portion control is vital, and your consumption of other carbs throughout the day must be reduced accordingly.

There are, however, alternatives that offer a sweeter outlook. Natural sweeteners like stevia, and herbs with a similar flavor profile, such as fennel or anise, can be used to satisfy your sweet tooth or craving for that unique liquorice taste. They can be incorporated into a variety of dishes and beverages, offering a lower-carb yet satisfying substitute.

One unique idea that hasn't been covered is exploring the world of Keto-friendly candies. There are now several companies offering sweets specifically designed for low-carb diets. While these products may not perfectly replicate the taste of traditional liquorice, they can certainly provide a sweet, guilt-free treat to enjoy.

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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

Technically, yes you can, but due to its high carbohydrate content, it's best consumed in very limited, controlled amounts.

If eaten in excess, it certainly can. Because of its surprisingly high carb content, even a small piece of liquorice can quickly use up a significant portion of your daily carb limit on a Keto diet.

Yes, there are. Certain natural sweeteners like stevia, and herbs such as fennel or anise, can provide a similar taste to liquorice and are much lower in carbs.