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Is Choy Sum Keto-Friendly?

Choy Sum on a kitchen counter

Is Choy Sum Keto-Friendly?" A question that might be floating around in the minds of those embarking on a ketogenic lifestyle.

As we navigate through the world of low-carb vegetables, today we spotlight Choy Sum, a leafy green vegetable known for its mild flavor and nutritional bounty.

This article dives into the carbohydrate content of Choy Sum, its health implications on a keto diet, ways to incorporate it into your keto meal plan, potential alternatives, and wraps up with some concluding thoughts.

Spoiler alert - Choy Sum is indeed a keto-friendly vegetable.

Let's delve deeper into this versatile ingredient, its benefits, and discover why it's worth introducing into your keto diet.


  • Yes, Choy Sum is keto-friendly thanks to its low net carb content. But that's just the beginning!
  • Beyond being low-carb, Choy Sum is rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, and antioxidants, which contribute to overall health and wellness.
  • There's an exciting range of ways to incorporate Choy Sum into a keto meal plan, from soups and stir-fries to salads and even smoothies.

Is Choy Sum Keto-Friendly?

Ah, the burning question: Is Choy Sum keto-friendly? The short and sweet answer is, yes! The basis of a keto diet is to limit your carbohydrate intake, and Choy Sum excels in this context. Let’s explore why.

100 grams of Choy Sum contains only 1.18 grams of net carbs. To put this into perspective, the daily limit for net carbs on a strict ketogenic diet typically ranges between 20 to 50 grams. This makes Choy Sum an ideal vegetable for those trying to keep their carb consumption low.

Now, what are net carbs, you ask? They're the total carbohydrates minus the fiber content. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes through your system without being converted into glucose. This is why we focus on net carbs when we talk about the keto diet.

Can Choy Sum be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Absolutely! Given its low carb content, Choy Sum can indeed be incorporated into even a strict keto diet. But remember, while it's a low-carb vegetable, like all foods, it's not zero-carb. With its 1.18g of net carbs per 100g, Choy Sum still contributes to your daily carb limit, and this is something to be mindful of when planning your meals.

Maintaining a ketogenic diet, especially a strict one, requires careful tracking of your carbohydrate intake. This is where tools like food trackers and meal planning apps can be your best friends. They allow you to keep a tally on your daily carb count and ensure that you stay within your limit.

When incorporating Choy Sum into your keto diet, consider its carb content in relation to the other foods you plan to consume during the day. The goal is to maintain a balance, ensuring that you get a variety of nutrients from different food sources, while still staying within your carb limit.

So, let's say you plan to have a Choy Sum stir-fry for dinner. You know that 100g of Choy Sum has 1.18g of net carbs. If you add in other ingredients like meat, spices, and perhaps a dash of soy sauce, you would tally up the total net carbs for that meal. Then, you'd subtract that from your daily carb limit to see what's left for your other meals and snacks.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Choy Sum

When it comes to understanding the carbohydrate content of Choy Sum, we need to dig a little deeper and look at what we call 'net carbs'. For individuals following a ketogenic diet, net carbs are really what matters. Let's explore why that is.

Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the fiber content from the total carbs in a food item. Why do we subtract the fiber, you may ask? Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber isn't easily digested by your body. Instead, it passes through your system without being broken down into glucose, meaning it does not impact your blood sugar levels and hence doesn't interfere with ketosis.

Now, when we look at Choy Sum, for every 100g serving, you're consuming only 1.18g of net carbs. This low figure is what makes Choy Sum a keto-friendly vegetable.

To give you a better understanding, let's consider a real-world example. If you were to have a generous serving of Choy Sum, say 200g, in a stir-fry or a salad, the total net carbs would amount to just 2.36g. This is a relatively small amount, especially considering that the daily net carb limit for a typical keto diet is between 20 to 50 grams.

Nutritional Snapshot of Choy Sum

Choy Sum, a leafy green vegetable often used in Asian cuisine, is loaded with various essential nutrients, making it a valuable addition to any balanced diet. Its nutritional profile is impressively diverse, covering both macro and micronutrients.

Starting with the macronutrients, a 100g serving of Choy Sum contains 2.18g of carbohydrates, 1.5g of proteins, and a minimal fat content of 0.2g. This veggie is predominantly water, containing 95.32g per 100g serving, making it a hydrating choice for meals. It is also low in net carbs, totaling 1.18g, and provides 1g of dietary fiber, which can contribute to gut health.

Choy Sum is also brimming with vitamins. It is particularly rich in Vitamin A, offering 223.0ug per 100g, a nutrient known for supporting eye health. Remarkably, it also contains 45.5ug of Vitamin K1, which is vital for blood clotting processes. Additionally, the vitamin content extends to Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, and Folate. These vitamins cover a wide range of bodily functions, from supporting the immune system to aiding energy production.

Minerals are not lacking in Choy Sum either. For instance, it supplies 252.0mg of Potassium per 100g, which can help maintain fluid balance in the body. Other minerals present include Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc, and Manganese. These minerals have roles in various physiological processes such as bone health, red blood cell production, and antioxidant activity.

Adding further to its nutritional bragging rights, this vegetable also contains a variety of amino acids like Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, and others. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are crucial for growth and repair in the body.

Choy Sum also offers three types of fatty acids - total saturated, total monounsaturated, and total polyunsaturated, although in minute quantities. While fats are often seen negatively, they are essential for numerous bodily processes including hormone production and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Lastly, Choy Sum shines in its content of Beta-carotene, Lutein + zeaxanthin, and Betaine. Beta-carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and contributes to the vegetable's bright color, while Lutein and Zeaxanthin are known for their potential role in eye health. Betaine is an interesting component that is involved in liver function and cellular reproduction.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 1.18g
Carbohydrate, by difference 2.18g
Fiber, total dietary 1.0g
Total fats 0.2g
Protein 1.5g
Sodium, Na 65.0mg
Potassium, K 252.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 19.0mg
Calcium, Ca 105.0mg
Vitamin A 223.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.19mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 45.0mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.09mg
Vitamin K1 45.5ug
Copper, Cu 0.02mg
Iron, Fe 0.8mg
Phosphorus, P 37.0mg
Selenium, Se 0.5ug
Zinc, Zn 0.19mg
Beta-carotene 2681.0ug
Lutein + zeaxanthin 40.0ug
Betaine 0.3mg
Manganese, Mn 0.16mg
Thiamin 0.04mg
Riboflavin 0.07mg
Niacin 0.5mg
Pantothenic acid 0.09mg
Folate, total 66.0ug
Choline, total 6.4mg
Calories 13.0kcal
Water 95.32g
Tryptophan 0.02g
Threonine 0.05g
Isoleucine 0.08g
Leucine 0.09g
Lysine 0.09g
Methionine 0.01g
Cystine 0.02g
Phenylalanine 0.04g
Tyrosine 0.03g
Valine 0.07g
Arginine 0.08g
Histidine 0.03g
Alanine 0.09g
Aspartic acid 0.11g
Glutamic acid 0.36g
Glycine 0.04g
Proline 0.03g
Serine 0.05g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.03g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.02g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.1g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Choy Sum' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Cabbage, chinese (pak-choi), raw' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Choy Sum on a Keto Diet

Beyond its low carbohydrate content, Choy Sum comes with a host of health benefits, making it an excellent addition to a ketogenic diet.

Choy Sum is a storehouse of multiple essential nutrients. It's rich in vitamins A, C, and K, which are known for their immunity-boosting properties, support for eye health, and promotion of bone strength, respectively.

Furthermore, it's packed with dietary fiber, which, while not directly contributing to your net carb count, plays a crucial role in digestive health. It helps maintain a healthy gut and aids in regular bowel movements, which are often concerns for those transitioning to a keto diet.

This leafy green also provides a substantial amount of calcium, potassium, and iron. Calcium is essential for bone health, potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance and heart health, and iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells.

Interestingly, the high fiber and water content of Choy Sum, coupled with its low calorie count, makes it quite filling, which can be beneficial in managing hunger pangs between meals. This aligns well with the satiating nature of a high-fat, low-carb keto diet.

Moreover, Choy Sum is high in antioxidants, substances that help protect your cells against damage by free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants has been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Incorporating Choy Sum into Your Keto Meal Plan

Now that we've established the keto-friendliness of Choy Sum, you might be wondering, "How can I incorporate it into my keto meals?" Well, the beauty of Choy Sum lies not just in its low carb content and nutritional profile, but also in its versatility.

Choy Sum can be eaten both raw and cooked, making it a great addition to various dishes. For a simple, refreshing salad, you can toss raw, finely chopped Choy Sum with some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and a tart, lemony keto-friendly vinaigrette.

If you prefer your veggies cooked, Choy Sum works wonderfully in stir-fries. Sauté it with garlic, ginger, tofu, or a lean protein like chicken or shrimp, and a splash of soy sauce for a quick, low-carb meal. Remember to be mindful of the carb content of any sauces or marinades you use - while a little can add a lot of flavor, they can also add unexpected carbs!

For those who appreciate a warm, comforting soup, Choy Sum makes a wonderful addition to a slow-cooked bone broth or a spicy keto-friendly tom yum soup. Its tender leaves and crisp stalks add a nice contrast of textures.

And let's not forget about smoothies! A handful of Choy Sum can be blended into your morning keto smoothie for an added nutrient boost. Its mild flavor pairs well with unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of your favorite low-carb protein powder, and a few ice cubes.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Choy Sum

Even though Choy Sum is a great fit for a keto diet, it's always good to have some alternatives in hand, whether for variety or due to availability issues. There are several other leafy greens that are also low in carbs and can be swapped in for Choy Sum in your keto meals.

For example, spinach is an excellent option. Like Choy Sum, it's low in net carbs, with only about 1.4g per 100g. It's also a rich source of vitamins A and K, similar to Choy Sum. Spinach can be used in salads, stir-fries, or even added to your morning smoothie for a nutrient boost.

Another alternative is bok choy, often referred to as Chinese cabbage. With 1.2g of net carbs per 100g serving, it's very similar to Choy Sum in terms of carb content. Bok choy can be used in stir-fries, soups, or even grilled as a side dish.

Kale, with its slightly higher carb count of about 3.6g per 100g, is also an option. Though it has more carbs than Choy Sum, kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and is particularly high in antioxidants. You can make a quick kale salad, or bake it into chips for a crispy, low-carb snack.

And let's not forget about Swiss chard, with about 2.1g of net carbs per 100g. Swiss chard can be sautéed with garlic for a simple side dish, or stuffed with a mixture of ground meat and spices for a low-carb main dish.

Concluding Thoughts on Choy Sum and Keto

In the journey through understanding the keto-friendliness of Choy Sum, we've uncovered its impressively low net carb content, as well as its rich profile of essential nutrients. It's not just the carb count that makes Choy Sum a great addition to a ketogenic diet, but also its versatility in culinary applications and its potential health benefits.

Choy Sum is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, and antioxidants - all vital for overall health and well-being. Its low-carb nature, coupled with its high nutrient density, makes it a wonderful choice for those on a keto diet, helping not only maintain ketosis but also support overall health.

We've also delved into numerous ways to incorporate Choy Sum into your keto meal plan, from stir-fries and salads to soups and even smoothies! The possibilities are virtually endless, and the opportunity to experiment with this vegetable in your kitchen is exciting.

In addition to the known benefits and uses, one fun idea to try could be Choy Sum chips. Just like kale chips, you could toss Choy Sum leaves in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and maybe some crushed red pepper for a bit of a kick, and then bake until crispy. It's a unique, low-carb snack to satisfy any crunchy cravings while sticking with your keto plan.

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Choy Sum is very low in net carbs, making it a great choice for a keto diet. 100g of Choy Sum contains approximately 0.9g of net carbs.

Yes, Choy Sum can be eaten both raw and cooked. When eating it raw, it can be added to salads or smoothies.

Choy Sum is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential for overall health and well-being.