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Is Ngapi Keto-Friendly?

Ngapi on a kitchen counter

Is Ngapi Keto-Friendly?" This question may have crossed your mind as you explore the world of ketogenic diet.

The simple answer is yes, Ngapi, a flavorful fermented seafood product, is indeed keto-friendly.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the carbohydrate content of Ngapi, its nutritional benefits, practical ways to incorporate it into your keto meal plan, and even explore some keto-compatible alternatives.

Understanding the role Ngapi can play in a keto diet is about more than just counting carbs - it's about discovering new flavors, benefiting from its nutritional value, and adding variety to your diet.

Read on, and let's embark on this flavorful journey together!


  • Yes, Ngapi is keto-friendly, thanks to its low carbohydrate content.
  • Ngapi boasts a rich profile of proteins, essential micronutrients, and probiotics, offering numerous health benefits.
  • There are creative ways to incorporate Ngapi into a keto diet, from flavoring sauces to creating unique dips.

Is Ngapi Keto-Friendly?

In direct response to the question, "Is Ngapi keto-friendly?", the answer is an emphatic yes. Let's explore the reasoning behind this response.

Ngapi's keto-friendly nature can be attributed to its low carbohydrate content. As a quintessential keto food, Ngapi contains a mere 3.64g of net carbs per 100g. This low carb content aligns well with the ketogenic diet, which advocates for minimal carbohydrate intake to maintain a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which our bodies, deprived of enough carbs for energy, start burning fat, leading to the production of molecules called ketones. Foods that are low in carbohydrates, like Ngapi, support this metabolic state.

Now, it's not just about the low carbs. Ngapi's nutritional composition offers more. In addition to being low in carbohydrates, Ngapi is also rich in proteins. Protein is an essential macronutrient in any diet but particularly useful in a ketogenic lifestyle for its role in muscle building and satiety.

In summary, Ngapi, with its low carbohydrate and high protein content, checks all the boxes for a food item to be considered keto-friendly. However, it's essential to keep in mind that everyone's nutritional needs and responses to food are different.

Can Ngapi be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Absolutely, Ngapi can be incorporated into a strict keto diet, but it requires a bit of careful planning and monitoring. The key lies in its carbohydrate content, which, as we've mentioned, is low at 3.64g net carbs per 100g. This low carb content makes Ngapi an attractive addition to a keto diet, but remember, even these small amounts count towards your daily carb limit.

A strict ketogenic diet typically limits daily carb intake to about 20g of net carbs. Given this restriction, you could incorporate Ngapi into your meals while still maintaining ketosis, as long as you keep an eye on the rest of your day's carb intake.

It's crucial to maintain a balance in your diet. While Ngapi can indeed be a part of your keto lifestyle, it should be in conjunction with a variety of other low-carb, high-fat foods to ensure a well-rounded nutrient intake. This includes foods like leafy greens, avocados, fatty fish, and nuts, among others.

To facilitate this balance, consider using a dietary app or food diary to track your carb intake. These tools can help you manage your daily macros, ensuring that the inclusion of Ngapi doesn't push you beyond your carb limit. They will also allow you to see how Ngapi fits into your broader dietary profile, ensuring you maintain a diverse, nutritious diet.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Ngapi

When it comes to the carbohydrate content of Ngapi, we've stated that it contains 3.64g of net carbs per 100g. But what does this really mean, and why is it important for those following a keto diet?

Firstly, it's crucial to understand the concept of net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates in a food minus its fiber content. Because dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest, it does not affect your blood sugar levels and therefore doesn't count towards your net carb intake. This is particularly important for individuals on a keto diet as they aim to consume a low amount of net carbs to maintain a state of ketosis.

Applying this to Ngapi, a serving size of 100g contains 3.64g net carbs. This makes it a low-carb food, suitable for a keto diet. But of course, we don't always consume food items in 100g servings. So, let's break it down into more manageable, real-world serving sizes.

Say we are using Ngapi as a condiment in a dish and we use around 20g. That would equate to approximately 0.728g of net carbs for that serving - a fairly insignificant amount in the grand scheme of your daily carb limit. Even if you were to double that serving size to 40g, you would still only be consuming around 1.456g of net carbs from the Ngapi.

It's essential to keep these figures in mind when planning meals to ensure you are maintaining your desired carb intake. And of course, remember to consider the carb content of other ingredients in your meals to ensure you stay within your daily limit.

Nutritional Snapshot of Ngapi

Ngapi, used as a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, is an interesting food item due to its unique nutritional profile. A 100g sample of Ngapi boasts a variety of macro and micronutrients that contribute to its overall nutrient density.

Beginning with the macronutrients, Ngapi is relatively low in carbohydrates, containing only 3.64g per 100g. The total fat content is virtually negligible at 0.01g, while the protein content stands at a modest 5.06g.

A significant feature of Ngapi is its high sodium content, with a whopping 7851.0mg present per 100g serving. This could be attributed to the process of fermenting the fish, which often involves salt. However, it's worth mentioning that, alongside sodium, Ngapi also carries essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium in smaller yet appreciable amounts.

In terms of micronutrients, Ngapi contains a spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, and C are present, along with elements like copper, iron, and zinc. Interestingly, it also contains selenium, a mineral known for its antioxidant properties.

The trace amounts of fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, combined with its relatively low-calorie count of 35.0kcal per 100g, make Ngapi a potentially suitable addition to various diets with specific nutritional requirements.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Carbohydrate, by difference 3.64g
Total fats 0.01g
Protein 5.06g
Sodium, Na 7851.0mg
Potassium, K 288.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 175.0mg
Calcium, Ca 43.0mg
Vitamin A 4.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.4mg
Vitamin B-12 0.48ug
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 0.5mg
Copper, Cu 0.05mg
Iron, Fe 0.78mg
Phosphorus, P 7.0mg
Selenium, Se 9.1ug
Zinc, Zn 0.2mg
Manganese, Mn 0.23mg
Thiamin 0.01mg
Riboflavin 0.06mg
Niacin 2.31mg
Pantothenic acid 0.12mg
Folate, total 51.0ug
Choline, total 13.2mg
Retinol 4.0ug
Calories 35.0kcal
Water 71.07g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.0g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.0g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.0g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Ngapi' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Sauce, fish, ready-to-serve ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Ngapi on a Keto Diet

Ngapi's compatibility with the keto diet extends beyond its low carbohydrate content. Its unique nutritional profile offers several health benefits that align well with the objectives of a ketogenic lifestyle.

Firstly, Ngapi is a great source of protein. Protein is a key macronutrient in any diet, and it plays a crucial role in a ketogenic diet, where it helps with muscle building and maintaining a feeling of fullness. This can aid in maintaining a balanced diet and prevent overeating.

Moreover, Ngapi has a rich micronutrient profile. It contains several vital vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, Zinc, Phosphorus, and Iron, all of which are essential for overall health. These nutrients support various bodily functions, ranging from energy production to immune function, and bone health.

Ngapi is also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fats that have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and supporting heart health. These benefits align well with the keto diet, which is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects and potential heart health benefits.

Interestingly, Ngapi is a fermented food, which means it contains probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. A healthy gut contributes to a stronger immune system and can improve digestion, both of which are beneficial for overall health.

Incorporating Ngapi into Your Keto Meal Plan

Incorporating Ngapi into your meals might initially seem challenging, but with a little creativity, it's easier than you'd think. It's all about finding the right balance that suits your taste buds and dietary needs.

Ngapi's intense flavor makes it a standout ingredient. It can be used as a condiment or flavor enhancer in a variety of dishes. Try using it in place of salt or other seasonings for a unique twist to your favorite keto foods.

For breakfast, consider stirring a spoonful of Ngapi into your scrambled eggs. Its intense flavor can elevate a simple dish into something truly special. You can also use Ngapi as a flavoring agent in a keto-friendly stir-fry for lunch or dinner. Just add a small portion to the pan with vegetables and your choice of protein, and enjoy the richness it brings to your meal.

Ngapi can also be used in soup bases or broths to add depth and complexity. A keto-friendly seafood soup with Ngapi can be a comforting and satisfying meal. Just remember to keep the portion size in mind to ensure you stay within your daily carb limit.

Ngapi is also a great addition to salads. Mix a bit of it into your salad dressing for an extra punch of flavor.

If you're a fan of grilling, try using Ngapi as a marinade for meats or fish. Its umami flavor can give a unique touch to your barbecue.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Ngapi

While Ngapi is indeed a keto-friendly ingredient, it's always good to have alternatives on hand, should you ever wish to switch it up. Here are a few substitutes that can fit well into a ketogenic diet.

  1. Tamari: This is a gluten-free soy sauce originating from Japan. Like Ngapi, Tamari has a rich, umami flavor, making it a suitable substitute in most recipes. Its carbohydrate content is low, with around 1.4g of carbs per tablespoon, making it a keto-friendly option.
  2. Fish Sauce: A common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, fish sauce can provide a similar depth of flavor as Ngapi. Most fish sauces contain zero carbs, but it's always worth checking the nutritional label to be sure.
  3. Coconut Aminos: Made from fermented coconut sap, coconut aminos provide a slightly sweet, savory flavor that can work as a substitute for Ngapi. It contains about 1g of carbs per teaspoon.
  4. Miso Paste: A traditional Japanese seasoning, miso paste can provide a similar umami flavor as Ngapi. However, it does contain a higher carb count - approximately 6g per tablespoon. Due to its higher carb content, it should be used sparingly in a keto diet.

When substituting Ngapi with these alternatives, you can use them in similar contexts - as a seasoning in stir-fries, soups, and marinades, or as a flavor enhancer in dips and sauces. Each offers a unique flavor profile and can add variety to your keto meals.

Concluding Thoughts on Ngapi and Keto

In the course of our discussion, we've discovered that Ngapi, with its low carb content and rich nutritional profile, can indeed be a delightful addition to a ketogenic diet. Its compatibility with keto extends beyond just being low-carb; its high protein content, rich micronutrient profile, and probiotic properties all contribute to a well-rounded, nutritious diet.

Ngapi's intense flavor lends itself well to various culinary applications, making it a versatile ingredient in your keto kitchen. From flavoring sauces and soups to seasoning grilled meats or fish, the possibilities are as wide as your culinary imagination.

While Ngapi is a unique ingredient, we've also learned about some alternatives that can shake things up while remaining keto-friendly. Tamari, Fish Sauce, Coconut Aminos, and Miso Paste, each with their distinct flavors, can bring variation to your meals.

Now, exploring an idea that we haven't yet discussed: Ngapi could also be used to create a unique keto-friendly dip. Combining it with avocado and a dash of lime juice could create a flavor-packed dip that pairs well with a range of keto snacks.

Implementing Ngapi in your keto diet allows you to enjoy its unique flavor while gaining numerous health benefits. Remember, it's all about balance and variety in your meals. Don't be afraid to experiment with Ngapi and come up with your own unique, keto-friendly recipes.

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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

Ngapi is a fermented seafood product, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It's known for its intense flavor and diverse use in many dishes.

Yes, Ngapi is low in carbohydrates, making it suitable for a ketogenic diet.