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Are Plantains Keto-Friendly?

Plantains on a kitchen counter

Plantains are a great ingredient for easy snacks. But wait a second – are they keto-friendly? The verdict's in: not even slightly.

Plantains, with their irresistible flavor and loads of nutrients, might look like the perfect munch. However, they're a no-go for keto enthusiasts because they pack a punch with carbs.

Join us as we shed light on the exact carbohydrate content of plantains and unveil a plethora of keto-friendly options to keep your cravings satisfied.

TL;DR

  • Are Plantains Keto-Friendly? No, they're not.
  • Consuming plantains can disrupt the state of ketosis, making it challenging to sustain a keto diet.

Are Plantains Keto-Friendly?

Plantains contain 34.46g net carbs per 100g, exceeding the typical daily carb limit for a keto diet, which usually ranges between 20 and 50 grams.

The high carbohydrate content in plantains mainly comes from starch, a complex carbohydrate type. When consumed, starches are broken down by the body into simple sugars, leading to a spike in blood glucose levels, which could disrupt the state of ketosis.

Furthermore, a typical serving size of plantains is often more than 100g, which means most people could be consuming even more than 34.46g net carbs in one sitting, further pushing them away from the desired ketogenic balance.

Can You Have Plantains On a Strict Keto Diet?

Plantains may not be feasible when considering a strict ketogenic diet, where daily carb intake is limited to less than 20g. Their high net carb content, at 34.46g per 100g, surpasses this limit by a significant amount, even in a small serving.

Even for those who follow a more lenient version of the keto diet, where net carbs are restricted to around 30-50g per day, incorporating plantains could still pose a challenge. A single serving could take up the entire daily carb allowance, leaving little room for other nutritious, low-carb foods throughout the day.

Carbs In Plantains

Plantains are high in carbohydrates, with a net carb value of 34.46g per 100g serving size. This quantity of carbohydrates is substantial, particularly when following a ketogenic or low-carb diet that requires limiting daily carbohydrate intake.

In addition to the net carbs, it's also essential to consider the glycemic index (GI) of foods. The glycemic index measures how quickly a food can raise blood sugar levels. 

Plantains have a medium glycemic index of 44-55 [source]. This means consumption of plantains can result in a moderate rise in blood sugar levels. Foods with a lower GI digest slowly, leading to a steady increase in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a high GI are quickly digested, causing a rapid spike. 

Plantains Nutrition Facts

Plantains are a significant source of multiple nutrients, each offering a distinct set of health benefits. In a 100-g serving, plantains provide 34.46g of net carbs, the majority of which come from starch (32.0g).

Besides carbohydrates, they contain a modest 2.2g of dietary fiber and 1.25g of protein per 100g. They have a tiny amount of total lipid (fat), only 0.07g. You'll also find a small amount of Ash, essentially the mineral content left behind when food is completely burned, at 0.92g for the 100g serving.

Minerals are another strong suit for plantains. They offer a notably high amount of potassium (431.0mg), an essential nutrient for maintaining proper heart and muscle function. You'll also find other minerals like calcium (2.0mg), iron (0.75mg), magnesium (41.0mg), phosphorus (31.0mg), sodium (2.0mg), and zinc (0.18mg). Trace minerals like copper (0.116mg) and manganese (0.109mg) are also present.

Plantains are a source of Vitamin C (20.2mg), a powerful antioxidant, along with a series of B vitamins, like thiamin (0.1mg), riboflavin (0.1mg), niacin (0.55mg), pantothenic acid (0.53mg), and vitamin B-6 (0.07mg). Folate, a B vitamin vital for red blood cell formation, is also present (28.0µg).

Regarding lipids, plantains contain small amounts of fatty acids, including saturated (0.121g), monounsaturated (0.019g), polyunsaturated (0.031g), and even trans fatty acids (0.002g). Various specific types within these categories are also found in minor amounts.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100 g
Net Carbs34.46g
Water61.1g
Energy635.0kJ
Protein1.25g
Total lipid (fat)0.07g
Ash0.92g
Carbohydrate, by difference36.66g
Fiber, total dietary2.2g
Total Sugars2.29g
Sucrose0.18g
Glucose1.09g
Fructose1.02g
Starch32.0g
Calcium, Ca2.0mg
Iron, Fe0.75mg
Magnesium, Mg41.0mg
Phosphorus, P31.0mg
Potassium, K431.0mg
Sodium, Na2.0mg
Zinc, Zn0.18mg
Copper, Cu0.116mg
Manganese, Mn0.109mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid20.2mg
Thiamin0.1mg
Riboflavin0.1mg
Niacin0.55mg
Pantothenic acid0.53mg
Vitamin B-60.07mg
Folate, total28.0µg
Folate, food28.0µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.121g
SFA 4:00.008g
SFA 8:00.002g
SFA 10:00.002g
SFA 12:00.002g
SFA 14:00.004g
SFA 15:00.001g
SFA 16:00.058g
SFA 17:00.001g
SFA 18:00.039g
SFA 20:00.002g
SFA 22:00.001g
SFA 24:00.001g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.019g
MUFA 16:10.003g
MUFA 16:1 c0.003g
MUFA 18:10.016g
MUFA 18:1 c0.014g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.031g
PUFA 18:20.025g
PUFA 18:2 n-6 c,c0.025g
PUFA 18:30.006g
PUFA 18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA)0.006g
Fatty acids, total trans0.002g
Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic0.002g
TFA 18:1 t0.002g

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 Plantains on a Keto Diet

The high carbohydrate content in plantains can pose challenges for those on a keto diet, making maintaining a state of ketosis difficult. When the body is in ketosis, it burns fat as a primary energy source, but consuming high-carb foods such as plantains can disrupt this process and revert the body to burning glucose instead.

Despite this, plantains do offer a variety of nutritional benefits. They are a notable source of vitamins C and A, both of which play vital roles in immune function and eye health, respectively. Plantains also offer an array of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Plantains

  • Zucchini: This versatile vegetable can be an excellent plantain substitute in various recipes. It's much more keto-friendly, with only about 3g carbs per 100g. Zucchini can be used in baking, grilling, and even replacing noodles in certain dishes.
  • Avocados: While they don't have the same starchy texture as plantains, avocados bring a unique creaminess to dishes. They are rich in healthy fats, beneficial for keto dieters, and contain around 2g net carbs per 100g.
  • Kale chips: For a crispy, crunchy alternative to plantain chips, consider making kale chips. They are easy to make, full of nutrients, and contain only about 8g of carbs per 100g.

Concluding Thoughts on Plantains and Keto

While plantains offer a range of nutritional benefits, their high carbohydrate content—34.46g net carbs per 100g—makes them incompatible with a ketogenic diet. The high carb content could easily disrupt the state of ketosis.

Regarding nutrition, plantains contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Despite these benefits, their high carb content poses a significant drawback for keto dieters.

Adapting a keto diet doesn't mean you must sacrifice flavor and versatility. Several alternatives to plantains, such as zucchini, cauliflower, avocados, and kale chips, can offer exciting textures and flavors while aligning better with the ketogenic dietary guidelines.

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.

Disclaimer:

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

No, plantains are unsuitable for a keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content.

Consuming plantains can disrupt the state of ketosis because of their high carb content, making it harder to maintain a keto diet.

Yes, both ripe and unripe plantains are high in carbohydrates and should be avoided on a keto diet.

Yes, there are numerous keto-friendly plantain alternatives, such as zucchini, avocados, and kale chips.