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Is Rutabaga Keto-Friendly?

Rutabaga on a kitchen counter

The short answer is, yes, but only in moderation.

Given its net carb content, Rutabaga must be strictly limited on the keto diet to prevent disrupting ketosis.

In this article, we will delve into a full breakdown of Rutabaga's carbs, explore how to moderately incorporate it into your keto eating plan, and highlight its benefits and nutritional value.


  • Is Rutabaga keto-friendly? Yes, but only when consumed in moderation due to its higher net carb content.
  • While Rutabaga provides nutritional benefits, its consumption must be carefully tracked to avoid disrupting ketosis.
  • Overindulging in Rutabaga could potentially lead to experiencing symptoms of "keto flu" as your body shifts out of ketosis.

Is Rutabaga Keto-Friendly?

Rutabaga, a root vegetable known for its mildly sweet and earthy flavor, is regarded as keto-friendly, but only when consumed in moderation. This is primarily due to its net carbohydrate content, a fundamental factor to consider when following a ketogenic diet.

Per 100 grams serving, Rutabaga contains 6.32 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber from the total carbs, which yields the remaining carbohydrates that impact blood sugar levels and, thus, ketosis. As the ketogenic diet is a low-carb eating plan, the goal is to minimize carb intake, usually to a daily total of 20 to 50 grams, depending on individual tolerance.

Can You Have Rutabaga on a Strict Keto Diet?

Including Rutabaga in a strict keto diet, which typically limits daily carb intake to less than 20 grams, requires careful portion control. As mentioned earlier, a 100-gram serving of Rutabaga contains 6.32 grams of net carbs, which translates to nearly a third of the daily carb limit on a strict keto regimen. This means that, while it's possible to include Rutabaga in a strict keto diet, the portion must be significantly reduced to avoid exceeding the daily carb limit.

On the other hand, for people following a less stringent low-carb diet, where daily net carb intake is limited to around 30-50 grams, Rutabaga can be more comfortably included. Still, the key is to keep track of carb intake throughout the day to ensure staying within the limit.

Carbs In Rutabaga

Rutabaga contains 6.32 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Net carbs are the carbs that are absorbed by the body, which are calculated by subtracting the fiber content from the total carbohydrates. In assessing the impact of Rutabaga on blood sugar levels, it's essential to note that it has a high glycemic index of 72 [source]. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food can raise blood sugar levels, with rankings of low (55 or less), medium (56 to 69), and high (70 to 100). 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.

Rutabaga Nutrition Facts

Rutabaga is a nutrient-dense food that comes packed with a myriad of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. When we look at a 100-gram serving of Rutabaga, it provides 157.0kJ of energy mainly sourced from its 8.62 grams of carbohydrates. Of these carbohydrates, 6.32 grams are net carbs, with the remaining being dietary fiber - a crucial element for gut health.

This versatile root vegetable is also relatively low in total sugars at 4.46 grams, making it a good option for those looking to moderate their sugar intake. This includes a mix of different types of sugars such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Also, it contains a minimal amount of starch.

Rutabaga is an excellent source of water, with a whopping 89.43 grams in a 100-gram serving. This makes it a hydrating option, especially when consumed fresh. Moreover, it's low in total fat, with only 0.16 grams, which is a combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

On the protein front, Rutabaga provides 1.08 grams per 100 grams. Although it's not a substantial source of protein, it still contributes to the overall protein intake when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

In terms of micronutrients, Rutabaga shines in its mineral content. It’s a good source of potassium, with 305.0mg per 100g, a nutrient that supports heart health and blood pressure regulation. It also provides calcium, iron, and magnesium, essential for bone health, oxygen transport, and enzyme function, respectively. Trace elements like zinc, copper, and manganese are also present in small amounts.

The vitamin content is also not to be overlooked. Notably, Rutabaga provides 25.0mg of Vitamin C, which is known for its antioxidant properties and role in immune function. It also contains several B-vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B-6, all of which play vital roles in energy metabolism. Furthermore, it has a minimal amount of Vitamin A, E, and K, and other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Lastly, it's worth noting that Rutabaga contains selenium and folate. While these are present in small amounts, they contribute to the overall dietary intake of these essential nutrients.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100 g
Net Carbs6.32g
Total lipid (fat)0.16g
Carbohydrate, by difference8.62g
Fiber, total dietary2.3g
Total Sugars4.46g
Calcium, Ca43.0mg
Iron, Fe0.44mg
Magnesium, Mg20.0mg
Phosphorus, P53.0mg
Potassium, K305.0mg
Sodium, Na12.0mg
Zinc, Zn0.24mg
Copper, Cu0.032mg
Manganese, Mn0.131mg
Selenium, Se0.7µg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid25.0mg
Pantothenic acid0.16mg
Vitamin B-60.1mg
Folate, total21.0µg
Folate, food21.0µg
Folate, DFE21.0µg
Choline, total14.1mg
Carotene, beta1.0µg
Cryptoxanthin, beta1.0µg
Vitamin A, IU2.0IU
Lutein + zeaxanthin19.0µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.3mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)0.3µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.027g
SFA 16:00.024g
SFA 18:00.003g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.025g
MUFA 18:10.025g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.088g
PUFA 18:20.035g
PUFA 18:30.053g
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 Rutabaga on a Keto Diet

While Rutabaga can be included in a keto diet, its higher net carb content presents a challenge for maintaining ketosis, especially if consumed in large amounts or frequently. Overshooting the daily net carb limit can potentially disrupt ketosis, the metabolic state central to the ketogenic diet, causing the body to shift back to using glucose as its primary energy source instead of fats.

Incorporating Rutabaga Into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. Enjoy Rutabaga in Small Portions: Due to its relatively high net carb content, it's recommended to enjoy Rutabaga in smaller portions. For example, a small side dish of roasted Rutabaga can add a pop of flavor without significantly impacting your daily carb limit.
  2. Pair with Low-Carb Foods: To balance out the net carbs in Rutabaga, pair it with foods that have low or no carbs. For instance, combining Rutabaga with lean proteins like chicken or fish and leafy green vegetables can help maintain a balanced keto meal.
  3. Creative Recipe Ideas: Rutabaga can be incorporated into a variety of keto recipes. For example, try using diced Rutabaga as a low-carb alternative in a keto-friendly stir fry, or mash it with some butter and herbs for a comforting side dish.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Rutabaga

  1. Cauliflower: A versatile vegetable that is low in carbs and can be used in a variety of dishes as a substitute for Rutabaga. Whether it's mashed, roasted, or used in a low-carb stir fry, cauliflower can be a tasty alternative.
  2. Zucchini: With a much lower net carb content, zucchini can be a great alternative to Rutabaga. It can be spiralized into noodles, diced into salads, or roasted for a side dish.
  3. Broccoli: Another low-carb option, broccoli, can be used in place of Rutabaga in many recipes. Its unique flavor and high fiber content make it a healthy and keto-friendly choice.

Concluding Thoughts on Rutabaga and Keto

While Rutabaga can bring a unique flavor and nutritional benefits to a meal, its higher net carb content can make it challenging to incorporate into a keto diet without careful planning and portion control. Eating Rutabaga in larger amounts could potentially disrupt ketosis, which is critical to the success of a keto diet.

To enjoy Rutabaga on a keto diet, moderation is key. Pairing Rutabaga with lean proteins and low-carb vegetables can help balance out your meal. Alternatively, consider substituting Rutabaga with lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, or radishes.

As a unique idea not mentioned before, consider using Rutabaga sparingly as a flavor enhancer in soups or stews. This way, you can enjoy its distinct taste without consuming a large quantity that may impact your carb limit.

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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can, but it should be consumed in moderation due to its higher net carb content.

The exact amount depends on your personal daily carb limit, but it's recommended to keep the portion smaller to prevent disrupting ketosis.

Rutabaga is a root vegetable, similar to turnips. The two may vary slightly in nutrient content, but both have higher net carbs and should be consumed in moderation on a keto diet.