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Are Beets Keto-Friendly?

Beets on a kitchen counter

Are Beets Keto-Friendly? The answer isn't as simple as it might seem.

While beets are packed with essential nutrients and offer numerous health benefits, they are only keto-friendly in moderation due to their carbohydrate content.

In this article, we delve into the specifics of beet's carb count, how these vibrant root vegetables can be moderately consumed within a ketogenic lifestyle, and their overall nutritional value.

Please note that although beets can be part of a keto diet, they must be strictly limited to avoid disrupting ketosis.

Let's dive in and explore all things beets and keto.

TL;DR

  • Beets can be keto-friendly, but only in moderation due to their high carbohydrate content.
  • While beets are nutritious, their carb count may present a challenge for maintaining ketosis on a keto diet.
  • There are keto-friendly alternatives to beets like radishes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and celery root.

Are Beets Keto-Friendly?

The compatibility of beets with a ketogenic diet often raises questions, primarily due to their carbohydrate content. To answer succinctly: Beets can be included in a ketogenic diet, but only in moderation and under strict portion controls.

The reason behind this moderation lies in the nutritional profile of beets. Specifically, beets contain approximately 6.76g of carbs per 100g. For those adhering to a keto diet, this amount is noteworthy as it represents the net carbs, that is, total carbs minus fiber. In the context of a standard serving size of 100g, this equates to a net carb intake of 6.76g from beets alone.

Can You Have Beets on a Strict Keto Diet?

Incorporating beets into a strict ketogenic diet requires careful attention due to its carbohydrate content. When following a strict ketogenic diet, the daily net carb allowance is typically less than 20g. Given that beets contain 6.76g of net carbs per 100g serving, their inclusion needs to be meticulously portioned to ensure it doesn't interfere with maintaining a state of ketosis.

While it's possible to include beets in a strict ketogenic diet, it's important to remember that the quantity must be significantly limited. Alternatively, a slightly more lenient approach to the ketogenic diet allows for a higher daily limit of net carbs, between 30 to 50g. This flexibility can make it easier to accommodate foods like beets, but again, portion control remains crucial.

Carbs In Beets

Beets contain a significant amount of carbohydrates, specifically 6.76g of net carbs per 100g serving. Net carbs are computed by subtracting the dietary fiber content from the total carbohydrates, providing a more accurate measure of the carbs that directly impact blood sugar levels.

Beets Nutrition Facts

Beets are packed with a variety of nutrients in every 100g serving. They contain 9.56g carbohydrates, from which 6.76g are net carbs, and 2.8g is dietary fiber. Despite being low in protein with 1.61g, beets offer a notable range of essential amino acids, including 0.07g leucine and 0.06g lysine.

The vegetable is virtually fat-free, with just 0.17g total fats, including 0.03g each of saturated and monounsaturated fats, and 0.06g polyunsaturated fats. Energy provision comes in at a minimalist 43kcal.

Beets do not lag in micronutrients either. For instance, they provide 78.0mg of sodium and a remarkable 325.0mg of potassium, instrumental for maintaining fluid balance. You can also find essential minerals like iron (0.8mg), zinc (0.35mg), and calcium (16.0mg), not forgetting magnesium (23.0mg) and phosphorous (40.0mg).

A unique element in beets is betaine, with 128.7mg present per 100g serving. Betaine contributes to liver function and detoxification. Beets also contain a wide range of vitamins, including modest amounts of vitamin A, B-6, C, E, and K1, and a striking level of folate (109.0ug). They are also a natural source of beta-carotene and contain a plethora of B-vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which are beneficial for energy production and brain health.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs6.76g
Carbohydrate, by difference9.56g
Fiber, total dietary2.8g
Total fats0.17g
Protein1.61g
Sodium, Na78.0mg
Potassium, K325.0mg
Magnesium, Mg23.0mg
Calcium, Ca16.0mg
Vitamin A2.0ug
Vitamin B-60.07mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid4.9mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.04mg
Vitamin K10.2ug
Copper, Cu0.08mg
Iron, Fe0.8mg
Phosphorus, P40.0mg
Selenium, Se0.7ug
Zinc, Zn0.35mg
Beta-carotene20.0ug
Betaine128.7mg
Manganese, Mn0.33mg
Thiamin0.03mg
Riboflavin0.04mg
Niacin0.33mg
Pantothenic acid0.16mg
Folate, total109.0ug
Choline, total6.0mg
Calories43.0kcal
Water87.58g
Tryptophan0.02g
Threonine0.05g
Isoleucine0.05g
Leucine0.07g
Lysine0.06g
Methionine0.02g
Cystine0.02g
Phenylalanine0.05g
Tyrosine0.04g
Valine0.06g
Arginine0.04g
Histidine0.02g
Alanine0.06g
Aspartic acid0.12g
Glutamic acid0.43g
Glycine0.03g
Proline0.04g
Serine0.06g
Fatty acids, total saturated0.03g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.03g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.06g
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 Beets on a Keto Diet

While beets can offer numerous health benefits, their inclusion in a ketogenic diet comes with potential challenges. The primary concern is their carbohydrate content, which, if not properly managed, could complicate the maintenance of ketosis. Consuming beets without keeping a strict eye on portion size may result in exceeding the daily carb limit of a ketogenic diet, disrupting the metabolic state of ketosis critical for the diet's effectiveness.

Incorporating Beets Into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. Portion control is key when incorporating beets into a ketogenic meal plan. Consider using beets as a garnish or a minor ingredient in salads or stir-fries, rather than as a main component of a meal. This way, you can enjoy their distinct flavor without consuming too many carbs.
  2. Pair beets with other keto-friendly foods to balance out the carb count. For instance, beets can be paired with high-protein and high-fat foods like avocados, eggs, or fatty cuts of meat. This can help ensure you stay within your daily carb limit.
  3. Experiment with keto-friendly beet recipes. For example, a beet 'hummus' made with steamed beets, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic can be a great low-carb dip for veggies. Or, thinly sliced roasted beets can add a burst of color and flavor to a keto-friendly salad with mixed greens, goat cheese, and pecans.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Beets

  1. Radishes: Radishes are a low-carb root vegetable that can be a great alternative to beets. They can be roasted, grilled, or eaten raw, just like beets, but with a fraction of the carbs.
  2. Zucchini: This versatile vegetable can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to salads. They offer a similar texture to cooked beets but with significantly fewer carbs.
  3. Cucumbers: Cucumbers are another low-carb alternative to beets. They can add a pleasant crunch to any salad or can be pickled for a tangy treat.

Concluding Thoughts on Beets and Keto

The keto-compatibility of beets is a nuanced topic. While they are not inherently incompatible with a ketogenic diet, their relatively high carbohydrate content makes them a challenging food to incorporate. It's important to remember that the strict daily carb limit of a keto diet means that even small amounts of high-carb foods like beets can potentially disrupt ketosis.

However, it's not all doom and gloom for beet lovers. With careful portion control and diligent carb tracking, it's possible to include beets in a keto diet in moderation. Pairing beets with high-fat, low-carb foods can also help offset their carb content.

For those who find the carb count of beets too challenging to manage, there are plenty of keto-friendly alternatives to consider. Radishes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and even celery root can offer similar culinary experiences with far fewer carbs.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can eat beets on a keto diet, but in strict moderation due to their higher carb content.