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Is Youtiao Keto-Friendly?

Youtiao on a kitchen counter

With the rising popularity of the ketogenic, or keto, diet, many individuals are scrutinizing their food choices more closely, particularly regarding the carbohydrate content.

One such food that has come under scrutiny is Youtiao, a traditional East Asian food that's a staple in many diets.

The key question we're addressing in this article is: 'Is Youtiao Keto-Friendly?' Spoiler alert: It's not.

But that doesn't mean it's not worth exploring! We dive into the carbohydrate content of Youtiao, its impact on a keto diet, and even provide some keto-friendly alternatives for those who still want to enjoy the gastronomic experience it offers.

Here's what we'll be covering in more detail.


  • Youtiao is not considered keto-friendly due to its high carbohydrate content.
  • While Youtiao offers some nutritional value, its high carb content can disrupt ketosis, a key state for the ketogenic diet.
  • Discover how to navigate a keto diet and find alternatives for Youtiao in our detailed guide below.

Is Youtiao Keto-Friendly?

Let's cut straight to the chase: Youtiao, as delightful as it is, is not keto-friendly. Why, you ask? It all comes down to the macronutrient composition of this Chinese fried dough.

Youtiao primarily consists of flour, which, as we know, is rich in carbohydrates. Specific data points show that Youtiao contains 43.47g of net carbs per 100g. Now, let's put this in perspective. The ketogenic diet typically limits your daily net carb intake to around 20-50 grams. Consuming just 100 grams of Youtiao almost meets or even surpasses this limit, leaving little to no room for additional carbs from other foods throughout the day.

In a ketogenic diet, our bodies switch from burning glucose (sourced from carbs) for fuel to burning fat, a state referred to as ketosis. Foods high in carbohydrates, like Youtiao, can disrupt this process, making it harder for our bodies to maintain the fat-burning state we aim for in a keto diet.

Can Youtiao be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Incorporating Youtiao into a strict keto diet is, unfortunately, a tall order. As we have discussed, the high net carb content of Youtiao – 43.47g per 100g – makes it a challenging addition to a diet where the daily carb limit typically ranges between 20 and 50 grams.

If you're on a strict ketogenic journey, it's crucial to keep track of your net carb intake effectively. This not only includes the obvious carb sources like breads and pastas, but also the less apparent ones, like Youtiao. Even though Youtiao is a traditional food item and not a dessert, it still packs a hefty carbohydrate punch.

There are several ways to monitor your carb intake. Smartphone apps are a convenient tool, with many offering easy-to-use food logging features and macro calculators. Some even have barcode scanners to give you quick nutritional information from packaged foods. Remember, it's not just about counting calories but specifically ensuring that you're not exceeding your daily carb limit.

For those who prefer a more analog approach, a simple food diary can also work. Write down everything you eat and drink, along with the carb content. This can help you see patterns and identify any hidden carbs that might be sneaking into your diet.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Youtiao

To fully understand the carb content of Youtiao, we need to dive into the numbers. As we noted earlier, Youtiao contains 43.47g of net carbs per 100 grams. But what does that mean in the real world? Let's break this down with some tangible examples.

A typical Youtiao stick weighs about 80-90 grams. That means one Youtiao stick alone contains roughly 35g to 39g of net carbs. If you're on a keto diet, that's a significant chunk of, if not the entirety of, your daily carb allowance.

But what are net carbs, and why are they so important in a keto diet? Net carbs are the total carbohydrates in food, minus the fiber. They're the carbs that your body can digest and turn into glucose (sugar), which can impact your blood sugar levels. In a ketogenic diet, keeping net carb intake low is critical because it encourages your body to shift from burning glucose for energy to burning fat - a metabolic state known as ketosis.

So, in the case of Youtiao, the high net carb content is significant because it can potentially disrupt the state of ketosis and prevent your body from burning fat for fuel. This is why it's important to be mindful of the carbohydrate content of the foods you consume, especially when following a strict keto diet.

Remember, while we're providing you with an understanding of the carb content in Youtiao, everyone's body is different. It's always a good idea to monitor your reactions to different foods and to consult with a healthcare professional when making significant changes to your diet.

Nutritional Snapshot of Youtiao

Youtiao, also known as Chinese fried dough, presents an interesting nutritional profile. For every 100g serving, it provides a significant amount of net carbs, around 43.47g, making it a considerable source of energy.

Alongside this, it contains a notable amount of total fats, specifically 18.84g per 100g, which are comprised of both saturated and unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats include monounsaturated fats (7.31g) and polyunsaturated fats (5.26g), both known for their heart-healthy benefits.

Youtiao also offers a decent amount of protein, with 9.36g per 100g serving. Protein is essential for body maintenance and repair, as well as muscle growth.

In terms of micronutrients, Youtiao contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. It provides a good source of calcium (54.0mg), magnesium (25.0mg), and phosphorus (109.0mg), minerals that are essential for bone health.

Moreover, it contains vitamins such as Vitamin A (19.0ug) and Vitamin B-complex like thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, all of which are essential for energy production and metabolic processes. It also provides a small amount of Vitamin E (1.29mg) and Vitamin K1 (9.4ug), which play key roles in supporting immune function and blood clotting respectively.

The sodium content is also worth noting, standing at 177.0mg per 100g serving, which is a moderate amount. Sodium is necessary for fluid balance and muscle function, though it should be consumed in moderation.

Lastly, Youtiao has a significant caloric content, with 384.0kcal per 100g serving, and a water content of 25.81g, which contributes to its texture and palatability.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 43.47g
Carbohydrate, by difference 44.97g
Fiber, total dietary 1.5g
Total fats 18.84g
Protein 9.36g
Sodium, Na 177.0mg
Potassium, K 132.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 25.0mg
Calcium, Ca 54.0mg
Vitamin A 19.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.06mg
Vitamin B-12 0.1ug
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1.29mg
Vitamin K1 9.4ug
Copper, Cu 0.11mg
Iron, Fe 3.21mg
Phosphorus, P 109.0mg
Selenium, Se 19.7ug
Zinc, Zn 0.86mg
Cholesterol 3.0mg
Beta-carotene 2.0ug
Lutein + zeaxanthin 38.0ug
Thiamin 0.45mg
Riboflavin 0.28mg
Niacin 3.54mg
Folate, total 63.0ug
Choline, total 10.6mg
Folic acid 41.0ug
Retinol 19.0ug
Calories 384.0kcal
Water 25.81g
Fatty acids, total saturated 4.85g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 7.31g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 5.26g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Youtiao' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Bread, dough, fried ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Youtiao on a Keto Diet

Incorporating Youtiao into a ketogenic diet poses certain challenges, chiefly due to its high carbohydrate content. As we've discussed, the net carbs in Youtiao can make it difficult for individuals following a keto diet to stay in a state of ketosis, which is the primary goal of this dietary approach. Consuming Youtiao could potentially interrupt the body's metabolic shift from burning glucose to burning fat.

But, it's also important to acknowledge the other nutritional aspects of Youtiao beyond its carb content. Youtiao is not just about carbs; it also provides a quick energy source, a decent amount of protein, and limited fats.

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build and repair body tissues, including muscles and organs, and it plays a role in creating enzymes and hormones. Fats, despite their often negative connotation, are also key for overall health. They provide energy, support cell growth, protect our organs, and help the body absorb certain nutrients.

So, while Youtiao isn't the best fit for a keto diet due to its high net carbs content, it can still have a place in other dietary frameworks. But, if you're committed to maintaining ketosis and reaping the potential benefits of a keto diet, Youtiao is one food item you might need to pass over.

Please remember, nutrition is a deeply personal matter, and what works for one person might not work for another. Always listen to your body, monitor how different foods affect you, and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.

Avoiding Youtiao in Your Keto Meal Plan

Sticking to a ketogenic diet and maintaining ketosis requires mindfulness, especially when it comes to traditional foods like Youtiao, which have a high carbohydrate content. Here are a few strategies that could help you steer clear of Youtiao while staying on track with your keto diet.

One way to avoid Youtiao is to find alternative low-carb dishes when enjoying East Asian cuisine. For example, if you're at a Chinese restaurant, skip the Youtiao (which is often served in congee, a type of rice porridge) and opt for dishes that are rich in protein and healthy fats, like stir-fried vegetables with tofu or chicken.

Another practical tip is to manage your environment. If you've got Youtiao at home, it's going to be much harder to resist. So, try not to keep carb-rich foods within easy reach. Stock up your pantry and fridge with keto-friendly food items to make it easier to stick to your meal plan.

Cravings can be a real challenge when it comes to foods like Youtiao. If you find yourself missing Youtiao, try to identify what aspect of it you're craving. Is it the crunch? The warm, doughy texture? Once you pinpoint it, you may be able to find a keto-friendly food that satisfies that specific craving.

Remember, the goal of a ketogenic diet is to reduce carb intake significantly to encourage your body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose. So, while Youtiao might be a tempting indulgence, its high net carb content could disrupt your metabolic state and hinder your progress.

It's always important to approach nutrition with a sense of balance and personal understanding. If you find it hard to avoid Youtiao entirely, try to have it in moderation and balance it with rigorous carb counting throughout the rest of your day. As always, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Youtiao

While the high carb content of Youtiao makes it incompatible with a ketogenic diet, there are plenty of alternatives that can satisfy your cravings while keeping you in ketosis. Let's explore some of them.

  1. Almond flour-based bread: Almond flour is a great substitute for regular flour. It's low in carbs and high in healthy fats and fiber, making it an excellent choice for keto meals. Plus, it offers a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that can add a new dimension to your dishes. You can use almond flour to make a keto-friendly bread that will provide the doughy texture you might miss from Youtiao.
  2. Coconut flour-based bread: Like almond flour, coconut flour is low in carbs and high in fiber. It's a bit more absorbent than almond flour, so you'll use less of it in your recipes. You can create a coconut flour bread that's fluffy and delicious while being keto-friendly.
  3. Cheese- and egg-based bread (also known as 'Oopsie Bread'): This is a bread substitute that's made from cream cheese and eggs. It's very low in carbs and high in protein, which can help you feel full without disrupting ketosis.

Comparatively, these alternatives have a significantly lower net carb content than Youtiao. For instance, 100g of almond flour contains only about 10g net carbs, while Youtiao contains 43.47g. Similarly, coconut flour has about 18g net carbs per 100g, and 'Oopsie Bread', with its primary ingredients being eggs and cream cheese, has a negligible amount of carbs.

Implementing these alternatives into your diet can allow you to enjoy bread-like foods without the risk of being knocked out of ketosis. Whether you're using them to create a low-carb sandwich or simply enjoying them on their own, these alternatives can offer a way to diversify your keto meal plan while keeping your carb intake in check.

A key point to remember is that, while these alternatives are lower in net carbs, they should still be consumed mindfully as part of a balanced diet. Always listen to your body, monitor your responses to different foods, and consult with a healthcare professional when making significant dietary changes.

Concluding Thoughts on Youtiao and Keto

Navigating through the world of dietary choices can be complex, and understanding how specific foods like Youtiao fit into different diets, such as the ketogenic diet, is crucial.

Throughout our discussion, we've underscored that Youtiao, a traditional East Asian food, is high in net carbohydrates. This makes it a challenging fit for a ketogenic diet, which requires low carbohydrate intake to maintain the metabolic state of ketosis. Its high net carb content could potentially disrupt the state of ketosis and shift the body's energy source back to glucose from fat.

Despite its high carbohydrate content, Youtiao does have other nutritional values. It offers a quick energy source, some protein, and limited fats. However, its high carb content overshadows these benefits when it comes to incorporating it into a ketogenic diet.

We've also explored several low-carb alternatives to Youtiao suitable for a keto diet, including almond flour-based bread, coconut flour-based bread, and cheese- and egg-based bread. These alternatives satisfy the bread-like cravings and offer a way to diversify your meal plan while keeping your carb intake in check.

As we wrap up our discussion about Youtiao's place in a keto diet, one new idea to consider is the art of mindful eating. It's not just about what you eat, but also how you eat. Take time to savor each bite, appreciate the flavors, and listen to your body's satiety signals. This approach can enhance your dietary experience significantly, whether you're on a ketogenic diet or any other dietary plan.

Remember, dietary choices are personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet. Your journey is unique, and finding the right dietary path requires patience, research, and sometimes a bit of trial and error.

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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

Youtiao is a traditional East Asian food often consumed for breakfast. It's a type of fried dough food, also known as Chinese cruller, that is high in carbohydrates and not ideal for a ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet relies on low carbohydrate intake and high fat to set the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Youtiao, being high in carbohydrates, can disrupt this state and shift the body's energy source back to glucose from fat.