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Is Shrimp Paste Keto-Friendly?

Shrimp Paste on a kitchen counter

When navigating the world of ketogenic diets, one might wonder about the compatibility of various foods, including the uniquely flavored shrimp paste.

However, Is Shrimp Paste Keto-Friendly? This article delves into this question, exploring the carbohydrate content of shrimp paste, its potential impacts on a keto diet, and strategies to maintain ketosis despite its enticing flavor.


  • Shrimp paste is not keto-friendly due to its high net carb content.
  • However, it offers nutritional benefits such as protein, vitamins, and minerals that can contribute to overall health.
  • Maintaining ketosis while consuming shrimp paste is challenging. Why so? Continue reading to find out!

Is Shrimp Paste Keto-Friendly?

Is Shrimp Paste Keto-Friendly?

Now let's tackle the burning question: Is shrimp paste keto-friendly? Based on our nutritional analysis, the short answer is - no, shrimp paste typically isn't keto-friendly.

Shrimp paste is a condiment that hails from the Southeast Asian cuisine and is loved by many for the unique flavor it imparts to dishes. However, its macronutrient composition tells a different story when it comes to fitting into a ketogenic diet.

The key metric of focus in a keto diet is the carbohydrate content, and unfortunately, shrimp paste is relatively high in this macronutrient. For every 100 grams of shrimp paste, there are approximately 20.0 grams of net carbs. This might not seem like a lot initially, but when you consider the daily carbohydrate limit for a typical keto diet is around 20-50 grams, it becomes clear that shrimp paste can quickly consume a significant chunk of this allowance.

Remember, the primary goal of a ketogenic diet is to trigger your body into a state of ketosis, where it primarily burns fat for energy instead of sugars from carbohydrates. Hence, the high carbohydrate content in shrimp paste could potentially interfere with achieving and maintaining ketosis.

Can Shrimp Paste be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Can Shrimp Paste be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Given the high net carb content, you might be wondering whether shrimp paste has any room in a strict keto diet. It's a fine line to tread, especially when you consider how quickly those carbs can add up.

On a strict ketogenic diet, maintaining daily carb intake within the narrow band of 20-50 grams is crucial. With 20.0 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, shrimp paste quickly consumes a significant portion of that range. Therefore, incorporating it into a strict keto regimen can prove challenging.

Now, does that mean you have to completely eliminate shrimp paste from your keto meal plan? Not necessarily. With careful planning and meticulous macro-tracking, you could still enjoy a smidgen of its unique flavors from time to time. However, the key here is moderation and a firm grip on portion control.

There are plenty of tools available, like macro calculators and food tracking apps, that can help you keep tabs on your daily carb intake. These tools can be handy in balancing out your meals for the day if you decide to add a small amount of shrimp paste to a dish.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Shrimp Paste

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Shrimp Paste

Let's take a closer look at the carbohydrate content of shrimp paste. As we've mentioned before, per 100 grams, shrimp paste contains approximately 20.0 grams of net carbs. But what exactly does this mean, and why does it matter on a keto diet?

Net carbs are the total carbohydrates in a food minus the fiber content. It's the net carbs, rather than the total carbs, that impact your blood sugar levels and can potentially affect the state of ketosis.

When assessing whether a food fits within a keto diet, we're mainly interested in this net carb number. As a keto dieter, you're looking to keep your daily net carb intake somewhere between 20-50 grams to maintain a state of ketosis.

Now, to put this into perspective, let's consider a real-world example. Suppose you're preparing a dish that calls for a reasonable serving of shrimp paste – say, 30 grams. This serving size of shrimp paste would have around 6.0 grams of net carbs. That could take up a significant portion of your daily net carb allowance, especially on a strict keto diet where the lower limit is around 20 grams.

Nutritional Snapshot of Shrimp Paste

Shrimp Paste offers a unique blend of nutrients that contribute to a balanced diet. Each 100g serving provides 20.0g of carbohydrates and fats respectively, and a substantial 13.33g of protein. It's a good source of macronutrients, which are essential for energy and the body's growth and repair.

In addition to its macronutrient content, Shrimp Paste is packed with micronutrients. One notable mineral present is Sodium, with a notable 6133.0mg per 100g serving. Sodium is essential for maintaining fluid balance and nerve transmission.

Calcium, another mineral present in Shrimp Paste, contributes 533.0mg per 100g serving. While often associated with bone health, calcium also plays key roles in muscle function and nerve signaling.

Iron is another key micronutrient in Shrimp Paste, offering 2.4mg per 100g serving. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body.

The foodstuff also contains 233.0kcal and an impressive 33.33g of total saturated fatty acids per 100g serving. While saturated fats should be consumed in moderation, they can contribute to feelings of fullness and aid in certain biological functions.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Carbohydrate, by difference 20.0g
Total fats 20.0g
Protein 13.33g
Sodium, Na 6133.0mg
Calcium, Ca 533.0mg
Iron, Fe 2.4mg
Calories 233.0kcal
Fatty acids, total saturated 33.33g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Shrimp Paste' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'SAUTEED SHRIMP PASTE ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Shrimp Paste on a Keto Diet

Health Implications of Shrimp Paste on a Keto Diet

The consumption of shrimp paste on a keto diet, given its high net carb content, can pose challenges in maintaining the state of ketosis. As we've discussed, ketosis is a metabolic state where your body primarily uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Any significant intake of carbs, such as from shrimp paste, can potentially disrupt this delicate metabolic balance.

On the flip side, it's important to note that shrimp paste isn't all about carbs. This potent condiment is a good source of some essential nutrients. It offers a rich supply of protein and is packed with minerals like iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Plus, it provides a good dose of vitamin B12, a nutrient essential for nerve function and the production of DNA and red blood cells.

However, these nutritional benefits need to be weighed against the carb content when considering the use of shrimp paste in a keto diet. While it can contribute to overall nutritional intake, its high net carb content can cause a potential setback in your keto journey.

In the realm of the ketogenic diet, maintaining ketosis is the highest priority. Therefore, it's vital to keep a careful watch on the carb content of all your food, including shrimp paste.

Avoiding Shrimp Paste in Your Keto Meal Plan

Avoiding Shrimp Paste in Your Keto Meal Plan

Being aware of the high net carb content of shrimp paste, you may be wondering how to avoid it in your keto meal plan. Don't worry, we've got you covered!

Firstly, we recommend reading food labels carefully. Shrimp paste, due to its flavor-enhancing quality, could be hidden in the ingredients list of various sauces, marinades, and pre-packaged dishes. If you're dining out, don't hesitate to ask about the ingredients used in your meal, especially in Southeast Asian cuisines where shrimp paste is a common condiment.

Secondly, think about meal planning and preparation. This practice allows you to stay in control of the ingredients that go into your dishes. As you plan your meals, focus on incorporating low-carb, nutrient-dense foods that align with your keto diet.

Cravings for the unique flavor of shrimp paste can be a challenge. To help manage these, you might want to explore other robust flavors that are more keto-friendly. Spices and herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and fresh chili can add depth and complexity to your dishes without the carbs.

It's also worth trying fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, which can offer a similar punch of flavor while being lower in carbs. Remember, it's all about finding alternatives that satisfy your palate while keeping you within your carb limits.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Shrimp Paste

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Shrimp Paste

If you're adhering to a ketogenic diet but still crave the unique flavor of shrimp paste, there is good news. Several keto-friendly alternatives can provide similar savory or umami notes to your dishes and are generally lower in carbs.

One option is to use fish sauce. Rich in flavor yet low in carbs, fish sauce can be a successful substitute in many dishes. It provides a similar depth of flavor that shrimp paste is known for, but with a significantly lower carb content. For example, Red Boat's fish sauce, a popular brand, contains zero carbs.

Another alternative is coconut aminos. Made from the fermented sap of the coconut palm and sea salt, it has a slightly sweet and savory flavor that can mimic the umami of shrimp paste. It's crucial to note that while coconut aminos do contain carbs, they're much lower in comparison to shrimp paste. A tablespoon of coconut aminos typically has about 1 gram of carbs.

Lastly, consider using miso paste. While it's a product of a different culinary tradition (Japanese), miso paste offers a profound umami flavor that can replace shrimp paste in some recipes. The carb content can vary, but a type like white miso has roughly 2 grams of carbs per tablespoon - significantly less than shrimp paste.

Suppose you're making a fried rice or a stir-fry dish that traditionally calls for shrimp paste. In that case, these alternatives can be used to provide that burst of flavor, without dramatically increasing your carb intake.

Concluding Thoughts on Shrimp Paste and Keto

Concluding Thoughts on Shrimp Paste and Keto

As we've traversed the ins and outs of shrimp paste's compatibility with a ketogenic diet, it's clear that it presents a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, shrimp paste offers a unique, savory flavor and a wealth of essential nutrients like protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. On the other hand, its high net carb content makes it a challenging ingredient to incorporate into a strict keto diet.

We've also delved into some practical strategies for avoiding shrimp paste in your keto meal plan, from careful meal planning and preparation to reading food labels conscientiously. The challenge of cravings for shrimp paste was acknowledged, with the suggestion of exploring other robust, keto-friendly flavors to maintain a sense of culinary adventure.

There's an array of keto-compatible alternatives that can provide similar savory or umami notes in your dishes, such as fish sauce, coconut aminos, and miso paste. These substitutes can be a valuable part of your culinary toolkit, allowing you to enjoy a wide variety of flavors without compromising your diet.

As a new, unique idea, consider experimenting with homemade spice mixes or condiments. Combining different herbs and spices can often yield unexpectedly delightful flavors that can replace shrimp paste in various recipes. For example, a blend of ginger, garlic, and a bit of chili can create a flavor-packed mix that could help satisfy your craving for that shrimp paste kick.

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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

Shrimp paste is not keto-friendly due to its high net carbohydrate content. In a ketogenic diet, the goal is to minimize carb intake to maintain the state of ketosis.

Yes, shrimp paste offers a wealth of essential nutrients like protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. However, these benefits need to be balanced with its high carb content in the context of a keto diet.