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Is Picarones Keto-Friendly?

Picarones on a kitchen counter

Is Picarones Keto-Friendly?" might seem like a simple question, but the answer takes us on a fascinating journey.

As we delve deep into the world of this traditional Peruvian treat, we discover the unique balance of nutrition, taste, and keto-compatibility.

While Picarones are undoubtedly delicious and have their nutritional merits, their high net carb content makes them a less-than-ideal choice for those adhering to a strict ketogenic diet.

But don't despair! This exploration takes us further into the realm of keto-friendly alternatives, offering a delightfully sweet way to adhere to your dietary goals.

From understanding net carbs to overcoming cravings and exploring tasty alternatives, we invite you on this enlightening journey.


  • Is Picarones Keto-Friendly? No, but there's more to the story.
  • Picarones are high in net carbs, making it challenging to maintain ketosis.
  • They do have nutritional merits due to ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes.
  • Why is it hard to maintain ketosis with Picarones? Scroll down to find out!

Is Picarones Keto-Friendly?

Alright, let's get straight to the point: Are Picarones keto-friendly? The simple answer is no. Now, let's delve into why this is the case.

Picarones, while delicious, are heavy on carbohydrates, a macro-nutrient that we on the keto diet aim to limit. This Peruvian sweet treat, often compared to doughnuts, is crafted from a mixture of squash and sweet potatoes, then liberally drizzled with a sugary syrup. It's this delightful combination that gives Picarones their signature taste but also spikes their carbohydrate content.

To give you a clear picture, let's break down the numbers. A 100-gram serving of Picarones contains an astounding 43.44 grams of net carbs. For us on a standard ketogenic diet, our daily carb intake is usually restricted to a range between 20 to 50 grams. In other words, munching on just 100 grams of Picarones could potentially max out or even exceed our daily carb limit.

Can Picarones be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Incorporating Picarones into a strict ketogenic diet, unfortunately, is akin to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; it simply isn't a good match. As we've previously discussed, the carbohydrate content in Picarones is significantly high, making it challenging to incorporate into a strict keto diet without overshooting your daily carb limit.

Maintaining ketosis, the metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs, is the primary goal of a ketogenic diet. Achieving this requires diligent tracking and control of your daily carb intake. Eating just 100 grams of Picarones, with its 43.44 grams of net carbs, could disrupt this delicate balance, potentially knocking you out of ketosis.

So, how do you tackle this? One efficient way is by using a nutritional tracking app. These tools can help you keep a close eye on your macro-nutrients, ensuring you're staying within your daily limits. You can enter each food you consume throughout the day, and the app will calculate the total carbs, fats, and proteins for you.

However, even with such tools, it's important to understand that the high carb content of Picarones makes it a food item to be avoided or at least heavily moderated on a strict keto diet.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Picarones

When we talk about the carbohydrate content of Picarones, we are not just speaking in abstract terms. These numbers have real implications for those on a ketogenic diet, and understanding them can help guide your dietary choices effectively.

Picarones, made from a dough of sweet potatoes and squash, fried and then sweetened with a sugar syrup, are a carbohydrate-rich food. Each 100g serving contains 43.44g of net carbs. To put this into perspective, a typical Picarone is about 50 grams, which means just two Picarones could provide you with nearly 44g of net carbs.

But what exactly are net carbs? In simple terms, net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates in a food, minus the fiber content. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body doesn't digest, so it doesn't count towards the total amount of carbs that can impact your blood sugar levels. For people on a ketogenic diet, net carbs are the primary concern because it's these carbs that your body will use for energy, instead of burning fat.

Unfortunately, the fiber content in Picarones is minimal, and therefore, the net carbs remain high. This is why they're not considered keto-friendly.

To give a real-world example, let's say you're planning to indulge in Picarones at a Peruvian festival. One Picarone would provide you with about 22g of net carbs (half of the 100g serving). If you're following a strict keto diet with a daily limit of 20-50g of carbs, this single treat could take up a large portion or even all of your allowable carb intake for the day.

Nutritional Snapshot of Picarones

Picarones, often compared to pumpkin fritters, offer an intriguing mix of nutritional components. A 100g serving delivers 43.44g of net carbs, reflecting the high carbohydrate content usually associated with such dishes. From this, a small portion, 1.0g, comes from dietary fiber, which aids digestion.

The profile also reveals a significant fat content, with total fats amounting to 21.21g. Out of this, 10.1g are saturated fats. Despite the stigma often attached to fats, they are indeed an essential part of any diet, facilitating absorption of certain vitamins and providing a source of long-lasting energy.

Furthermore, Picarones offer a moderate amount of protein, 5.05g per 100g serving. Protein is a crucial building block for muscles, skin, and various enzymes in the body.

The sodium level is 364.0mg, which may be a consideration for those monitoring sodium intake. However, potassium is also present at 30.0mg, which works in conjunction with sodium to regulate fluid balance and nerve signals.

Calcium is also found in Picarones, at 61.0mg per 100g serving. This mineral is crucial for bone health and muscle function. Iron, another important micronutrient that aids in oxygen transport and energy production, is present at 1.72mg.

The caloric content stands at 384.0kcal per 100g, a reflection of the energy provided by this food's macronutrient composition.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 43.44g
Carbohydrate, by difference 44.44g
Fiber, total dietary 1.0g
Total fats 21.21g
Protein 5.05g
Sodium, Na 364.0mg
Potassium, K 30.0mg
Calcium, Ca 61.0mg
Iron, Fe 1.72mg
Calories 384.0kcal
Fatty acids, total saturated 10.1g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Picarones' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'PUMPKIN FRITTERS, PUMPKIN' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Picarones on a Keto Diet

While Picarones are not keto-friendly, it's essential to acknowledge that they do have some nutritional attributes that contribute to overall health, especially when consumed in a balanced diet.

Now, let's talk about the challenges of staying in ketosis when Picarones are part of your diet. As we've mentioned, the high net carb content of Picarones can make it difficult to stay within the carbohydrate limits set by a ketogenic diet. Consuming these treats could potentially knock your body out of the state of ketosis, which is the metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.

This doesn't mean Picarones are 'bad'. It simply means they aren't a good fit for a ketogenic diet. In fact, Picarones, made primarily from squash and sweet potatoes, do offer some health benefits. Squash and sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They also provide antioxidants, which can help protect your body against cellular damage.

However, these benefits are offset by the high sugar and net carb content when considering a keto diet. The sugar added to Picarones increases their carb content significantly, making them a treat to be enjoyed sparingly, if at all, when following such a diet.

Avoiding Picarones in Your Keto Meal Plan

Staying committed to a ketogenic diet means being mindful of the foods we consume, and as we've discovered, Picarones are one treat that poses a challenge. So, how can we navigate our food choices to avoid these tempting treats?

One practical way to avoid Picarones in your diet is being aware of where they are typically present. Picarones are a traditional Peruvian dessert, often found at festivals, family gatherings, and restaurants that feature Peruvian cuisine. Being aware of these scenarios can help you prepare and make alternate food choices, should you find yourself in situations where Picarones are served.

Overcoming cravings for Picarones can be another challenge. However, there are some strategies to help you manage these urges. One of the most effective ways is to ensure you're adequately nourished by eating regular, balanced meals packed with low-carb, high-quality foods. This can keep hunger at bay and reduce the likelihood of craving high-carb treats like Picarones.

Another method is to find keto-friendly recipes that can serve as substitutes for your favorite high-carb foods. Although it may be hard to find an exact replacement for Picarones, experimenting with low-carb, sweet alternatives can help satisfy your sweet tooth without kicking you out of ketosis.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Picarones

Even though Picarones aren't compatible with a ketogenic diet, there's no need to despair. You can still enjoy some delightful sweets that align with your dietary needs. Let's explore a few keto-friendly alternatives that can satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you in ketosis.

One such alternative is the well-loved almond flour donut. Almond flour is a fantastic low-carb alternative to traditional wheat flour. It's rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium, keeping you full and satisfied. A 100g serving of almond flour contains just 9.58g of net carbs, significantly lower than the 43.44g found in Picarones. You can use almond flour to make keto-friendly donuts and even add sugar-free syrup or a dusting of erythritol, a low-carb sweetener, for that extra touch of sweetness.

Another keto-friendly option is the coconut flour donut. Coconut flour is an excellent low-carb, high-fiber alternative that delivers a unique taste and texture to your sweets. A 100g serving of coconut flour contains only 8.9g of net carbs. With a hint of natural sweetness, coconut flour donuts can be a great way to curb your Picarones cravings without derailing your diet.

Lastly, consider chia seed pudding as a sweet, satisfying dessert. Chia seeds are packed with dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and high-quality proteins. A 100g serving contains just 7.72g of net carbs. You can flavor your chia seed pudding with low-carb fruits like berries, or sweeten it with a keto-friendly sweetener like Stevia.

Concluding Thoughts on Picarones and Keto

Looking back on our exploration of Picarones and their place within a ketogenic diet, we've discovered some important points. While these Peruvian treats are undoubtedly delicious, their high net carb content makes them a less than ideal choice for those adhering to a strict keto diet.

That's not to say Picarones are without nutritional merit. They are made from nutrient-rich ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes, which are high in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. However, when the goal is to achieve and maintain ketosis, the high net carb content simply outweighs these benefits.

Striking a balance between satisfying your cravings and maintaining your dietary goals can be a tricky act. But with the plethora of keto-friendly alternatives that we've discussed, you're armed with knowledge and options. Almond flour and coconut flour donuts, chia seed puddings - these are just a few examples of how you can still enjoy sweet treats on a ketogenic diet.

Finally, a key point to consider that hasn't been discussed thus far is the role of personal discipline and resilience. Embarking on a dietary change is a test of willpower, and part of that journey is learning to navigate around potential pitfalls, like high-carb foods. Instead of viewing such foods as obstacles, consider them opportunities to learn more about food, nutrition, and ultimately, your own resilience.

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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

No, due to their high net carb content, Picarones are not suited for a ketogenic diet.

The main ingredients in Picarones, such as wheat flour, sugar, and sweet potatoes, are high in carbohydrates. While these ingredients have nutritional benefits, their carb content can disrupt ketosis, a metabolic state crucial to the keto diet.