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Is Water Lily Keto-Friendly?

Water Lily on a kitchen counter

Embarking on a ketogenic diet presents its own unique set of dietary restrictions and allowances.

In this quest for low-carb, high-fat foods, you might find yourself questioning where certain foods fit in your meal plan.

One such food is the Water Lily, an aquatic plant often used in various cuisines.

But Is Water Lily Keto-Friendly? Spoiler alert: not quite.

In this article, we dive deep into the carbohydrate content of Water Lily, its health implications on a keto diet, and explore some exciting, keto-compatible alternatives.

Remember, while navigating the keto journey can seem tricky at times, it's also an opportunity to discover new foods and flavors.

As always, consult a healthcare professional or dietitian when making significant changes to your diet.


  • Spoiler alert: Water Lily is not keto-friendly due to its high net carb content.
  • While it offers health benefits like dietary fiber and essential vitamins, Water Lily can potentially disrupt ketosis.
  • Curious? Dive deeper into why maintaining ketosis with Water Lily in your diet is challenging.

Is Water Lily Keto-Friendly?

Let's cut straight to the chase, shall we? Is Water Lily keto-friendly? In a word, no. But let's break it down to understand why.

Your typical ketogenic diet has a macronutrient breakdown that usually consists of around 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and only 5-10% carbohydrates. The goal is to primarily consume fats and protein while keeping carb intake to a minimum, which helps your body enter and stay in ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs.

Now let's talk about our main subject - the Water Lily. This aquatic plant, while it offers an array of nutritional benefits, unfortunately, doesn't quite make the cut for a keto-friendly food due to its carbohydrate content. Based on nutritional data, Water Lily contains around 12.33g of net carbs per 100g. This might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that the maximum daily intake for those following a strict keto diet is typically between 20g to 50g of net carbs, it becomes clear that Water Lily takes up a significant portion of that daily allowance.

To put it into perspective, if you were to consume 100g of Water Lily, you'd already be consuming around 25-60% of your daily net carb allowance, depending on your personalized keto diet plan. This leaves very little room for the inclusion of other necessary foods in your diet.

Can Water Lily be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Given what we've discussed about the high net carb content in Water Lily, you may be wondering, "Can it be incorporated into a strict keto diet?" The simple answer is—it's rather tricky.

When following a strict keto diet, every gram of carbohydrate counts, and it's crucial to make wise choices about where those carbs are coming from. Consuming even slightly too many carbs can risk knocking you out of ketosis, which could disrupt the potential benefits of the diet.

As we've discovered, Water Lily has about 12.33g of net carbs per 100g. Introducing it into a strict keto diet where the net carb limit is between 20g-50g per day could consume a large chunk of your daily carb allowance, leaving little room for other vital foods.

To successfully maintain a keto diet, it's essential to be diligent about tracking your daily carb intake. There are several methods and tools to do this. For example, there are numerous mobile apps and online platforms that can help you log and track your dietary intake, including carbs. These tools can assist you in making informed decisions about your food choices and ensure you are staying within your daily carb limits.

However, it's important to keep in mind that a ketogenic diet is not just about reducing carbs—it's also about overall health and wellness. While Water Lily may have a high net carb content, its nutritional profile offers many positives that might benefit people on other dietary plans.

To keep your keto diet varied, balanced, and enjoyable, you could consider exploring other nutrient-dense, low-carb alternatives (which we'll discuss in detail later). Remember, each person's dietary needs and responses are unique. While I share these insights to help you make informed dietary decisions, always consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian when making significant changes to your diet.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Water Lily

Understanding the carbohydrate content of our food is crucial when following a keto diet. So, let's delve deeper into the carb content in Water Lily and try to understand its potential impact on your keto journey.

Once again, it's important to note that Water Lily packs 12.33g of net carbs per 100g. But what does that mean in real-world terms? Well, if you were to sit down to a meal and consume, say, a 200g serving of Water Lily, you'd be taking in approximately 24.66g of net carbs. That's nearly, if not entirely, your entire carb allowance for the day if you're on a strict keto plan.

Now, you might be wondering, "What are net carbs?" Great question! Net carbs are simply the total carbs in a food minus the dietary fiber. Fiber is a type of carb that our bodies can't digest, so it doesn't contribute to the carbs that raise our blood sugar levels or affect ketosis. On a keto diet, it's the net carbs you need to pay attention to.

However, when it comes to Water Lily, even when we subtract the fiber, it still remains high in net carbs, making it less suitable for a strict ketogenic diet. For instance, even if the Water Lily contains 2g of fiber per 100g, it would still have 10.33g of net carbs per 100g—still a significant amount for those adhering to a ketogenic diet.

That's why it's essential to examine the nutritional profile of the foods we consume carefully, especially when adhering to a strict diet plan like keto. Even seemingly healthy and natural foods like Water Lily can sometimes lead us astray due to their macronutrient composition.

Nutritional Snapshot of Water Lily

The Water Lily, used as a substitute for Lotus root, raw, in this analysis, is a nutritionally dense food with a wide variety of macro and micronutrients. For every 100g, it contains 12.33g of net carbs, 17.23g of total carbohydrates, with a dietary fiber content of 4.9g, contributing to the body's fiber needs beneficial for digestion. It also contains 2.6g of protein, essential for muscle growth and recovery.

While its total fat content is relatively low at 0.1g, it includes traces of various fatty acids, including saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Each plays a different role in maintaining heart health and regulating inflammation in the body.

The Water Lily is also loaded with several minerals. It has 40.0mg of Sodium and 556.0mg of Potassium, which help maintain electrolyte balance. It also contains essential minerals like Iron (1.16mg), vital for the production of red blood cells; Calcium (45.0mg), important for bone health; and Magnesium (23.0mg), which aids in nerve and muscle function.

Notably, it's packed with Vitamin C (44.0mg), a powerful antioxidant, and a variety of B-vitamins such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin B-6, which help the body convert food into energy.

It also contains 0.26mg of Copper and 0.26mg of Manganese, trace minerals that support various bodily functions, including metabolism and bone health, respectively.

Finally, Water Lily offers a range of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It includes Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, and several others that contribute to overall health and well-being.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 12.33g
Carbohydrate, by difference 17.23g
Fiber, total dietary 4.9g
Total fats 0.1g
Protein 2.6g
Sodium, Na 40.0mg
Potassium, K 556.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 23.0mg
Calcium, Ca 45.0mg
Vitamin B-6 0.26mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 44.0mg
Copper, Cu 0.26mg
Iron, Fe 1.16mg
Phosphorus, P 100.0mg
Selenium, Se 0.7ug
Zinc, Zn 0.39mg
Manganese, Mn 0.26mg
Thiamin 0.16mg
Riboflavin 0.22mg
Niacin 0.4mg
Pantothenic acid 0.38mg
Folate, total 13.0ug
Calories 74.0kcal
Water 79.1g
Tryptophan 0.02g
Threonine 0.05g
Isoleucine 0.05g
Leucine 0.07g
Lysine 0.09g
Methionine 0.02g
Cystine 0.02g
Phenylalanine 0.05g
Tyrosine 0.03g
Valine 0.06g
Arginine 0.09g
Histidine 0.04g
Alanine 0.05g
Aspartic acid 0.37g
Glutamic acid 0.14g
Glycine 0.16g
Proline 0.14g
Serine 0.06g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.03g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.02g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.02g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Water Lily' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Lotus root, raw ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Water Lily on a Keto Diet

Maintaining a state of ketosis is one of the key aspects of a ketogenic diet. So, what happens when you introduce a food like Water Lily into this delicate balance? Let's explore the health implications.

As we've discussed, Water Lily has a high net carb content – 12.33g per 100g – making it a challenge for keto dieters. Consuming Water Lily could potentially tip the scale in favor of carbohydrates, possibly knocking you out of ketosis. As ketosis is the metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs, disrupting this state could affect the potential benefits of the keto diet.

However, it's also important to note that while Water Lily's high net carb content might make it less compatible with a strict keto diet, it does offer several health benefits. The plant is rich in dietary fiber, which aids digestion and can contribute to overall gut health. It also contains various vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, which plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your skin and immune system, and potassium, essential for heart health and regulating blood pressure.

Despite these health benefits, the key takeaway for those on a strict keto diet is that due to its high net carb content, Water Lily might not be the best choice for maintaining ketosis. However, for those not following a keto diet or following a more lenient low-carb diet, Water Lily could certainly add nutritional value to your meals.

Avoiding Water Lily in Your Keto Meal Plan

Navigating a keto diet successfully often means making mindful choices about which foods to include and which to avoid. Given Water Lily's high net carb content, it falls into the latter category for those on a strict keto diet. But how do you avoid Water Lily in your keto meal plan effectively? Let's explore some strategies.

Firstly, it's essential to be aware of where Water Lily might show up in your food. Water Lily is an aquatic plant often used in Asian cuisine, especially in soups, salads, and stir-fries. It's also popular as a snack when dried and seasoned. So, if you're dining out or trying new recipes at home, be sure to check the ingredients list for Water Lily and consider alternatives if it's included.

Secondly, you could work on finding keto-friendly alternatives that satisfy your cravings for Water Lily. For instance, if you enjoy the texture and taste of Water Lily in your salads or soups, you might try replacing it with low-carb vegetables like zucchini or cucumber, which can provide a similar crunch without the high net carbs.

Tracking your food intake diligently is also a great strategy to ensure you're staying within your daily carb limits. As we discussed earlier, there are plenty of apps and online tools that can help you log your meals and snacks, making it easier to avoid high-carb foods like Water Lily.

Lastly, overcoming cravings for Water Lily or any high-carb food can be challenging. It can be helpful to focus on the wide variety of delicious foods you can eat on a keto diet, not just what you need to avoid. Incorporating a range of flavors and textures in your meals can help satisfy your palate and make your diet feel more enjoyable, reducing the likelihood of cravings.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Water Lily

While we've determined that Water Lily might not be the best choice for those on a strict keto diet due to its high net carb content, fear not! There are plenty of delicious, keto-compatible alternatives out there. Let's explore some of these.

  1. Zucchini: With only 2.11g of net carbs per 100g, zucchini makes an excellent substitute for Water Lily. Its mild flavor and satisfying crunch make it a versatile addition to many dishes. You could slice it up for a refreshing salad, steam it for a low-carb side dish, or spiralize it into 'zoodles' for a keto-friendly pasta dish.
  2. Cucumber: Another low-carb alternative, cucumber, contains about 1.5g of net carbs per 100g. Its crisp texture can mimic the crunch of Water Lily in salads and stir-fries, and it can be used in a variety of keto-friendly dishes.
  3. Bell Peppers: Bell peppers, particularly the red, yellow, and orange varieties, offer a sweet flavor similar to Water Lily but with significantly fewer carbs—around 2.9g of net carbs per 100g. They are ideal for stir-fries, stuffed pepper recipes, or raw in salads.

Comparatively, these alternatives have significantly lower net carb contents than Water Lily, making them more suitable for a keto diet. But they also bring their own unique flavors and textures to the table, adding variety to your meals and helping to satisfy any cravings you might have for Water Lily.

Concluding Thoughts on Water Lily and Keto

We've embarked on quite a journey exploring the ins and outs of Water Lily in the context of a ketogenic diet. To recap, the high net carb content of Water Lily makes it a challenging inclusion for those following a strict keto diet. Consuming Water Lily, with its 12.33g of net carbs per 100g, can potentially disrupt the state of ketosis, which is the driving force behind the keto diet's potential benefits.

Despite this, it's important to remember that while Water Lily might not fit into a keto diet, it does still boast a range of health benefits. Its dietary fiber content is beneficial for digestion and gut health, and it also provides essential vitamins and minerals.

However, the keto world is vast and full of delicious, low-carb alternatives to Water Lily. Zucchini, cucumber, and bell peppers are just a few examples of other nutrient-dense foods that can offer similar textures and flavors without the high net carbs.

While it's advisable to avoid Water Lily on a strict keto diet, it doesn't mean you have to compromise taste or variety in your meals. In fact, one final thought to consider is the opportunity this presents for culinary creativity. This could be the perfect time to experiment with new recipes and discover new favorite foods you might not have tried otherwise.

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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

Unfortunately, all variants of Water Lily, including the European White Water Lily and the American White Water Lily, have a high net carb content and are not keto-friendly.

It depends on your daily carb limit. While not suitable for a strict keto diet, Water Lily might fit within the parameters of a less restrictive low-carb diet. Always track your carb intake to ensure you're not exceeding your daily limit.