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Is Sour Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

Sour Cabbage on a kitchen counter

Is Sour Cabbage Keto-Friendly? Anyone who's embarked on a ketogenic diet has likely asked similar questions about various foods.

In this detailed exploration, we've affirmed that sour cabbage, also known as sauerkraut, is indeed a welcome addition to a keto meal plan.

This tangy, vibrant food not only fits comfortably within the macronutrient ratios of a ketogenic diet, but also comes packed with a wealth of nutritional benefits.

Alongside its keto compatibility, we've also discussed the intriguing health implications of including sour cabbage in your diet, its versatility in a range of delicious recipes, and a few keto-friendly alternatives for when you want to mix things up.

We also revealed the unique idea of fermenting your own vegetables at home for ultimate control over your food.


  • Yes, sour cabbage is keto-friendly and can be a flavorful, nutritious part of a ketogenic diet.
  • In addition to being low in carbs, sour cabbage offers probiotics, fiber, and vitamins that contribute to overall health.
  • Discover versatile ways to incorporate sour cabbage into your keto meals in the rest of this article.

Is Sour Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

Let's address the question at hand: Is sour cabbage keto-friendly?

The short, simple answer is—yes! Sour cabbage, or sauerkraut, can indeed be a part of your ketogenic lifestyle. Now, let’s delve into the why and how that makes it so.

In a ketogenic diet, the primary aim is to limit carbohydrate intake to usher the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose. The standard ketogenic diet typically allows for 20-50g of net carbs per day.

So, how does sour cabbage fare in this context? Quite excellently, as it turns out. According to nutritional data, sour cabbage contains approximately 1.36g of net carbs per 100g serving. This means that even if you consume a reasonable amount of this tangy, fermented dish, you'll barely make a dent in your daily carb limit.

The low carbohydrate content of sour cabbage, combined with its nutritional benefits, makes it a fantastic choice for those following a keto diet. Remember, not all carbs are created equal, and the net carbs in sour cabbage are accompanied by a wealth of beneficial nutrients.

However, this doesn't mean you should start piling your plate high with sour cabbage just yet. As with all things, moderation is key. While being keto-compatible, sour cabbage also contains sodium, which, if consumed excessively, can lead to other health concerns.

Can Sour Cabbage be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

So, we've confirmed that sour cabbage is keto-friendly due to its low carbohydrate content. But what about those of us following a strict keto diet? Can sour cabbage still make the cut? Absolutely!

A strict ketogenic diet, often referred to as a standard ketogenic diet (SKD), typically involves consuming around 70-75% of calories from fats, 20% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates.

Given that sour cabbage contains just 1.36g of net carbs per 100g, you could comfortably incorporate it into a strict keto diet without upsetting these proportions. In fact, its low carb content makes it a staple food for many people following a strict keto diet.

However, it's important to remember that the ketogenic diet isn't just about keeping the carbohydrate intake low. It's a balanced dietary approach that focuses on consuming the right kinds of fats and proteins too. So while you can enjoy sour cabbage on your keto journey, it should be part of a varied diet that includes a range of other nutrient-rich, keto-friendly foods.

Now, how can you ensure that sour cabbage fits into your strict keto regimen without affecting your state of ketosis? It's all about tracking. Using a carb tracking tool or app can help you keep a close eye on your daily carb intake. This way, you can enjoy your serving of sour cabbage, knowing exactly how it contributes to your daily carb limit.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Sour Cabbage

Let's dive deeper into the carbohydrate content of sour cabbage, also known as sauerkraut, to understand why it's a great addition to a ketogenic diet.

The principle of the ketogenic diet revolves around net carbs, which is the total amount of carbs minus the fiber. This is because fiber isn't absorbed or metabolized by the body in the same way other carbs are—instead, it passes through the digestive system without impacting blood sugar levels. Therefore, when we talk about limiting carbs on a ketogenic diet, we're referring specifically to net carbs.

Now, let's look at sour cabbage. In a 100g serving of sour cabbage, there are roughly 4.3g of total carbohydrates. However, a significant portion of this—2.9g—is fiber. So, when we calculate the net carbs, we subtract the fiber from the total carbs, which gives us 1.36g of net carbs per 100g serving.

To put it into perspective, if you enjoy a hearty 200g serving of sour cabbage as part of your meal, you're only consuming about 2.72g of net carbs. This is a minor fraction of the daily net carb limit of 20-50g on a typical ketogenic diet.

This low net carb content underscores why sour cabbage can be such a valuable food for those on a ketogenic diet. It allows you to enjoy a satisfying serving without making a significant dent in your daily carb allowance.

Nutritional Snapshot of Sour Cabbage

Sour cabbage, also known as sauerkraut, is a fermented food that offers a variety of nutritional benefits. Each 100g serving of sour cabbage contains 40.0kcal and is chock-full of macro and micronutrients.

Delving into the macronutrients, sour cabbage is low in carbohydrates with only 4.16g per 100g, of which 1.36g are net carbs. It also contains a reasonable amount of fiber, total dietary, at 2.8g. The relatively low carbohydrate content and the presence of fiber make this a potentially good pick for those aiming to increase their fiber intake.

On the protein and fat front, sour cabbage has 0.9g of protein and 2.53g of total fats per 100g. These fats are further broken down into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, at 1.07g, 0.64g, and 0.44g respectively.

The micronutrient profile of sour cabbage is also rather impressive. It provides a good source of vitamins and minerals. The standout mineral in sour cabbage is Sodium, with 659.0mg per 100g, followed by Potassium at 165.0mg, and smaller amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Selenium, and Zinc. It's important to note that Sodium is essential in maintaining fluid balance in the body while Potassium aids in nerve function and muscle control.

Taking a look at the vitamin content, sour cabbage is particularly rich in Vitamin C (12.8mg), Vitamin K1 (14.0ug), and modest amounts of Vitamin A, B-6, E (alpha-tocopherol), and a range of B vitamins including Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and Folate. Vitamin K1 is key in blood clotting and bone health, while Vitamin C is well known for its immune-boosting properties.

The sour cabbage also contains a variety of carotenes like Beta-carotene and the combination of Lutein + zeaxanthin, which are known for their antioxidant properties. Further, nutrients like Choline, found in sour cabbage, play significant roles in maintaining cellular and metabolic health.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 1.36g
Carbohydrate, by difference 4.16g
Fiber, total dietary 2.8g
Total fats 2.53g
Protein 0.9g
Sodium, Na 659.0mg
Potassium, K 165.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 13.0mg
Calcium, Ca 30.0mg
Vitamin A 26.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.16mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 12.8mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.37mg
Vitamin K1 14.0ug
Copper, Cu 0.09mg
Iron, Fe 1.42mg
Phosphorus, P 20.0mg
Selenium, Se 0.6ug
Zinc, Zn 0.18mg
Cholesterol 4.0mg
Beta-carotene 19.0ug
Lutein + zeaxanthin 286.0ug
Thiamin 0.02mg
Riboflavin 0.02mg
Niacin 0.14mg
Folate, total 22.0ug
Choline, total 10.6mg
Retinol 24.0ug
Calories 40.0kcal
Water 90.29g
Fatty acids, total saturated 1.07g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.64g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.44g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Sour Cabbage' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Sauerkraut' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Sour Cabbage on a Keto Diet

In addition to being a flavorful addition to your meals and a perfect ally in your keto journey, sour cabbage also brings some great health benefits to the table. Here's a rundown of what this tangy, fermented dish can contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.

First off, sour cabbage is packed with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that play a critical role in our gut health. A healthy gut microbiome can influence many aspects of our health, from digestion to immunity, and even mental health. In fact, the fermentation process that turns cabbage into sour cabbage ramps up its beneficial bacteria content, making it a probiotic powerhouse.

Sauerkraut also happens to be a good source of various vitamins, notably vitamin C and K, as well as fiber. The presence of these vitamins makes sour cabbage beneficial for our immune system, bone health, and overall vitality.

Moreover, the fiber in sour cabbage can assist in keeping you feeling satiated, which is an important aspect, especially when you're on a diet that restricts certain food items.

The fermentation process also has another interesting benefit—it can make the nutrients in sour cabbage more bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb them more easily.

Now, how do these health benefits tie in with a ketogenic diet?

A keto diet, by its nature, is focused on consuming nutrient-rich, low-carb foods. The diet's goal is to improve health and wellbeing by shifting the body's metabolism to burning fat for fuel. The inclusion of sour cabbage, with its low carbohydrate content and high nutritional value, perfectly aligns with this goal.

Furthermore, the probiotics found in sour cabbage can also assist with gut health, which is often a focus for those following a ketogenic diet.

Incorporating Sour Cabbage into Your Keto Meal Plan

Now that we've established the keto-friendliness and health benefits of sour cabbage, the question arises: how can you incorporate it into your keto meal plan? Let's explore some practical and delicious ways to include this nutrient-rich food in your daily diet.

Sour cabbage is amazingly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keto Sauerkraut Salad: For a quick and easy lunch, toss some sour cabbage with olive oil, diced avocado, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and some grilled chicken or tofu for a protein boost. This salad is a powerhouse of nutrients and fits perfectly into your keto diet.
  2. Sauerkraut Stir-Fry: Add a new twist to your dinner with a sour cabbage stir-fry. Saute some garlic and onions in olive oil, add in sour cabbage, and cook until it's heated through. You can throw in some shrimp or diced chicken for added protein.
  3. Keto Sauerkraut Soup: Nothing beats a warm, comforting soup on a chilly day. Simmer some sour cabbage with bone broth, diced bacon, and a variety of your favorite low-carb veggies. Season to taste and enjoy a hearty bowl of keto-friendly soup!
  4. Keto Sandwich Wraps: Who said you need bread for a sandwich? Use large lettuce leaves to wrap up some sour cabbage, deli meats, cheese, and a dollop of your favorite sugar-free sauce for a quick keto-friendly lunch.

These are just a few ideas to make sour cabbage a regular part of your keto meal plan. Remember, the key to a successful and enjoyable keto diet is variety. Experimenting with different recipes and incorporating a range of keto-friendly foods can make the journey much more pleasant.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Sour Cabbage

Even though sour cabbage fits well into a ketogenic diet, variety is the spice of life. It's always good to have a range of options to keep your meals interesting. Let's consider some keto-friendly alternatives to sour cabbage that you can incorporate into your diet without straying from your keto goals.

  1. Kimchi: This Korean staple is a fermented blend of cabbage, radishes, and spices. Like sour cabbage, it's a rich source of probiotics due to the fermentation process. In terms of net carbs, kimchi contains approximately 2g per 100g serving, making it a viable alternative to sour cabbage. You can serve it as a side dish or mix it into scrambled eggs or stir-fries for a spicy kick.
  2. Pickles: Pickles, specifically those made from cucumbers, are another low-carb option. They contain around 1.5g of net carbs per 100g. Be sure to go for pickles without added sugars to stay within your keto guidelines. Pickles can be eaten on their own, added to salads, or used as a tangy complement to keto sandwiches.
  3. Olives: Olives, both green and black varieties, are a high-fat, low-carb snack that pair well with many dishes. With just 0.1g of net carbs per 10 olives, they're an excellent low-carb option. Try them in salads, or use them as a topping for keto pizzas.

These alternatives, like sour cabbage, all fit comfortably within a ketogenic diet due to their low carb content. Remember, however, that each has a unique nutritional profile and offers a different array of nutrients. For example, while sour cabbage provides a good dose of vitamin C and K, olives are known for their heart-healthy fats.

Concluding Thoughts on Sour Cabbage and Keto

We've taken an extensive look at how sour cabbage, or sauerkraut, fits into a ketogenic diet, and there's little doubt that this tangy, nutritious food has a lot to offer to those following a keto lifestyle.

Its low net carbohydrate content makes it a natural fit within the macro-nutrient ratios of a standard ketogenic diet. Not just that, but its high fiber content and wealth of probiotics and vitamins ramp up its nutritional appeal significantly.

Furthermore, the versatility of sour cabbage allows it to blend into a broad range of culinary possibilities. Whether you're tossing it into a salad, adding it to a stir-fry, or using it to jazz up a soup, there are many ways to reap the benefits of this vibrant, keto-friendly food.

We also explored some alternatives to sour cabbage, like kimchi, pickles, and olives, which can provide variety and added nutrients to a ketogenic diet. Remember, the key is to experiment and find what suits your palate best.

One unique idea that we haven't covered yet is fermentation. Why not try fermenting your own vegetables at home? It's a rewarding process that allows you full control over what goes into your food. Plus, it's a great way to experiment with different food combinations and flavors.

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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

Yes, sour cabbage is another name for sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish that originated in Central Europe.

A 100g serving of sour cabbage typically contains about 4g of net carbs, making it a suitable addition to a ketogenic diet.

While sour cabbage is keto-friendly, it's important to maintain a balance in your diet. All foods should be consumed in moderation.