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Are Yams Keto-Friendly?

Yams on a kitchen counter

If you're wondering whether yams are keto-friendly, the simple answer is no, primarily due to their high carb content.

But there's more to the story than just that.

While this nutrient-rich food provides many health benefits, it poses a significant challenge for those adhering to a ketogenic diet, which emphasizes low carb intake.

In this article, we've broken down the carb content of yams, the challenges it presents for keto diet followers, and offered a range of keto-friendly alternatives.

So, even if you can't have yams on your keto meal plan, there's no need to miss out on hearty, satisfying dishes.

Read on to discover how you can maintain a diverse and enjoyable diet while staying within your keto guidelines.


  • Yams are not keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content.
  • Despite their nutritional benefits, yams pose a challenge for maintaining ketosis.
  • High carbs and low fat content make yams a difficult choice for keto diets.

Are Yams Keto-Friendly?

In the realm of keto dieting, one question often emerges: Are yams keto-friendly? Based on the nutritional data, the answer is no, yams are not keto-friendly.

Why is this so? The primary reason lies in the carbohydrate content. Yams contain a considerable amount of carbs - 23.78g per 100g serving. In the context of a ketogenic diet that typically limits daily carb intake to under 20-50g, this quantity in just 100g of yams can easily tip the scale.

Moreover, yams also have 23.78g of net carbs per 100g. Net carbs are total carbs minus the fiber, and these are the carbs that are absorbed by the body and can affect blood sugar levels. Hence, despite their nutritional benefits, yams can potentially disrupt ketosis, the metabolic state that the keto diet aims to achieve.

Can You Have Yams On a Strict Keto Diet?

When you're following a strict keto diet, which limits daily carb intake to under 20g, incorporating yams into your meals becomes particularly challenging. Given that a 100g serving of yams provides 23.78g of carbs, this would exceed your entire daily carb allowance in one serving.

For those who are following a slightly more lenient low-carb diet, where daily carb intake is capped at 30-50g, yams might appear to be a feasible option. However, when you consider that a single serving of yams could potentially take up half or more of your daily carb limit, incorporating other nutrient-rich foods becomes difficult.

It's essential to remember that the goal of a keto diet is not just to limit carbs, but also to maintain a varied and balanced diet. This means that your carb allowance should ideally be spread out among various foods to ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients. Given the high carb content of yams, including them might compromise the diversity of your diet.

Carbs In Yams

Taking a closer look at the carbohydrate content of yams, one finds that this root vegetable is indeed rich in carbs. A 100g serving of yams contains 23.78g carbs, which is significant, especially for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Interestingly, the net carb content of yams is also 23.78g per 100g. Net carbs are the form of carbs that get absorbed by the body, impacting your blood sugar levels and potentially disrupting ketosis. These numbers indicate that yams, while beneficial in many other diets, pose a considerable challenge for those seeking to maintain a state of ketosis.

Yams Nutrition Facts

Yams, a robust root vegetable, offer an array of nutrients in a 100g serving. The core macronutrients include 23.78g of net carbs, minuscule 0.17g of total fats, and a modest 1.53g of protein. They also contain dietary fiber, amounting to 4.1g, assisting in digestion.

Yams are a moderate source of calories, providing 118.0kcal per 100g. They also have a substantial water content, ensuring hydration at 69.6g. However, their carb content, particularly the net carbs, can pose a challenge to those following a low carb or keto diet.

Beyond these basics, yams are rich in several vitamins and minerals. They contain notable amounts of Potassium (816.0mg) and Vitamin C (17.1mg), both crucial for numerous bodily functions including maintaining heart health and boosting the immune system. Other vitamins found in yams include Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin E, Vitamin K1, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Pantothenic acid, together contributing to overall wellness.

Yams also have a variety of minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese, which help in bone health, energy production, and various other physiological functions.

Interestingly, yams come with a broad spectrum of amino acids, including Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Cystine, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Alanine, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Proline, and Serine. These are essential building blocks of proteins.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 23.78g
Carbohydrate, by difference 27.88g
Fiber, total dietary 4.1g
Total fats 0.17g
Protein 1.53g
Sodium, Na 9.0mg
Potassium, K 816.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 21.0mg
Calcium, Ca 17.0mg
Vitamin A 7.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.29mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 17.1mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.35mg
Vitamin K1 2.3ug
Copper, Cu 0.18mg
Iron, Fe 0.54mg
Phosphorus, P 55.0mg
Selenium, Se 0.7ug
Zinc, Zn 0.24mg
Beta-carotene 83.0ug
Manganese, Mn 0.4mg
Thiamin 0.11mg
Riboflavin 0.03mg
Niacin 0.55mg
Pantothenic acid 0.31mg
Folate, total 23.0ug
Choline, total 16.5mg
Calories 118.0kcal
Water 69.6g
Tryptophan 0.01g
Threonine 0.05g
Isoleucine 0.05g
Leucine 0.1g
Lysine 0.06g
Methionine 0.02g
Cystine 0.02g
Phenylalanine 0.07g
Tyrosine 0.04g
Valine 0.06g
Arginine 0.13g
Histidine 0.03g
Alanine 0.06g
Aspartic acid 0.16g
Glutamic acid 0.18g
Glycine 0.05g
Proline 0.05g
Serine 0.08g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.04g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.01g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.08g
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 Yams on a Keto Diet

Including yams in a keto diet presents a significant challenge when it comes to maintaining ketosis due to their high carb content. However, it's important to note that yams are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. They offer a good source of vitamin C, contributing to immune function and skin health, and are also notable for their potassium content, which supports heart health.

Yams also provide a decent amount of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. They contain smaller amounts of other nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B-6, making them a diverse source of essential nutrients in a regular diet.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Yams

  1. Cauliflower: This versatile vegetable is a popular low-carb alternative to many high-carb foods, yams included. Cauliflower can be prepared in various ways to mimic the texture of yams, such as roasting or mashing. Additionally, cauliflower has significantly fewer carbs, with only 5g per 100g serving.
  2. Turnips: Another great low-carb alternative to yams are turnips. Although they have a slightly more peppery flavor, they can be used in similar dishes as yams, such as stews or roasts. Turnips contain only 6g of carbs per 100g serving, making them a more keto-friendly choice.
  3. Rutabagas: Although they're slightly higher in carbs than cauliflower and turnips, rutabagas are still a viable low-carb substitute for yams. They have a sweet, nutty flavor similar to yams and can be prepared in many of the same ways. Rutabagas contain around 9g of carbs per 100g serving.
  4. Zucchini: With its mild flavor and versatile texture, zucchini can serve as a keto-friendly replacement for yams in many dishes. It can be spiralized into noodles, sliced into chips, or roasted as a side dish. Zucchini boasts a low carb content of about 3.1g per 100g serving.

Concluding Thoughts on Yams and Keto

When it comes to following a ketogenic diet, the carb content of the foods you consume is of paramount importance. While yams are nutrient-rich, providing a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber, their high carb content can easily disrupt ketosis, making them a less-than-ideal choice for those adhering to a ketogenic diet.

However, this doesn't mean that you have to forgo the hearty and satisfying texture that yams offer. As discussed earlier, there are several keto-friendly alternatives like cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, and zucchini, that can be used to mimic the texture and role of yams in various dishes while keeping your carb intake in check.

While Yams offer many health benefits, their high carb and low fat content make them a challenging food to incorporate into a ketogenic diet. However, exploring keto-friendly alternatives can lead to new and delightful culinary experiences. Remember that a successful diet is not about deprivation, but about finding balance and enjoyment in the foods that support your health goals.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No, yams are not keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content.