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Are Mussels Keto-Friendly?

Mussels on a kitchen counter

Are Mussels Keto-Friendly? The simple answer is yes! Mussels, with their low carb content and high nutritional value, can undoubtedly be included in a ketogenic diet.

This article will explore the carb content of mussels, how they can be incorporated into a keto meal plan, and the overall health implications of consuming mussels.

We'll also explore other keto-compatible alternatives if you want to switch things up. So dive in!


  • Yes, mussels are keto-friendly due to their low-carb content.
  • Mussels are low in carbohydrates and rich in protein and essential minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc.
  • Mussels can be enjoyed on a keto diet, from steaming them with low-carb veggies to incorporating them into hearty keto soups or stews.

Are Mussels Keto-Friendly?

Mussels, due to their low carbohydrate content, align with the principles of the ketogenic diet. Nutritional data indicates that 100 grams of mussels contain 3.69 grams of net carbs.

This means that mussels are suitable for those adhering to a keto regimen, which typically restricts daily net carb intake to under 50 grams. Thus, consuming a standard serving size of 100 grams ensures individuals only consume a small fraction of their daily carb allowance from mussels.

Can You Have Mussels on a Strict Keto Diet?

Yes, mussels can indeed be included in a strict keto diet. A strict ketogenic diet keeps your daily net carb intake under 20 grams. Since 100 grams of mussels contain a mere 3.69 grams of net carbs, they can be included in a strict keto diet.

There's also flexibility for those who follow a slightly less rigid approach to the ketogenic diet, often categorized as a low-carb diet, which allows for a daily net carb intake of 30-50 grams. In this context, mussels can still be part of the meal plan without tipping the carb count over the limit.

Carbs In Mussels

Analyzing the carbohydrate content in mussels, it's found that they contain 3.69 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Furthermore, mussels have a low glycemic index of 0 [source].

This means they are less likely to cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, contributing to their suitability for a ketogenic or low-carb diet. Foods with a lower GI digest slowly, leading to a steady rise in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a high GI are quickly digested, causing a rapid spike.

Mussels Nutrition Facts

Mussels pack a punch in nutrition, with a single 100g serving offering a variety of macro and micronutrients.

Starting with macronutrients, every 100g of mussels provides 11.9g of Protein, a vital component for body functions and muscle maintenance. This serving also contains 2.24g of Total Lipids (Fat), with a significant part of it being healthy Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats. As for energy, they have 360.0kJ.

Now, let's delve into the micronutrients. Mussels are a good source of calcium (26.0mg) and phosphorus (197.0mg), minerals essential for bone health. They also deliver a robust amount of Iron (3.95mg), critical for oxygen transport within the body. Besides, you'll find essential minerals such as Magnesium (34.0mg), Potassium (320.0mg), and Zinc (1.6mg) in mussels.

When it comes to vitamins, mussels are an excellent source of Vitamin B-12 (12.0µg), with a single serving providing a notable amount of this essential nutrient. They also contain Vitamin A (48.0µg RAE) and Vitamin C (8.0mg), all contributing to the body's overall well-being and immune system health.

This nutritional profile is rounded off with an array of amino acids necessary for protein synthesis and various body functions. From Leucine (0.838g) to Glycine (0.744g), these amino acids add to the nutritional richness of mussels.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100 g
Net Carbs3.69g
Total lipid (fat)2.24g
Carbohydrate, by difference3.69g
Calcium, Ca26.0mg
Iron, Fe3.95mg
Magnesium, Mg34.0mg
Phosphorus, P197.0mg
Potassium, K320.0mg
Sodium, Na286.0mg
Zinc, Zn1.6mg
Copper, Cu0.094mg
Manganese, Mn3.4mg
Selenium, Se44.8µg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid8.0mg
Pantothenic acid0.5mg
Vitamin B-60.05mg
Folate, total42.0µg
Folate, food42.0µg
Folate, DFE42.0µg
Choline, total65.0mg
Vitamin B-1212.0µg
Vitamin A, RAE48.0µg
Vitamin A, IU160.0IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.55mg
Tocopherol, gamma0.02mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)0.1µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.425g
SFA 14:00.059g
SFA 16:00.294g
SFA 18:00.068g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.507g
MUFA 16:10.138g
MUFA 18:10.205g
MUFA 20:10.138g
MUFA 22:10.026g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.606g
PUFA 18:20.018g
PUFA 18:30.02g
PUFA 18:40.035g
PUFA 20:40.07g
PUFA 20:5 n-3 (EPA)0.188g
PUFA 22:5 n-3 (DPA)0.022g
PUFA 22:6 n-3 (DHA)0.253g
Aspartic acid1.148g
Glutamic acid1.618g

Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Mussels on a Keto Diet

Beyond their low carbohydrate content, mussels offer a range of other nutritional benefits. They are rich in protein, providing 11.9 grams per 100 grams. Mussels are also a good source of essential minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc, and they contain a variety of B vitamins, including B-12, which supports nervous system health.

However, they are relatively high in sodium, with 286 mg per 100 grams, which is something to be mindful of, especially for those monitoring their sodium intake.

Incorporating Mussels into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. To easily incorporate mussels into a ketogenic diet, consider using them as a main protein source in your meals. Mussels can be steamed and served with a side of low-carb vegetables, or added to a hearty keto-friendly soup or stew.
  2. There are numerous keto-friendly recipes that feature mussels. For example, a mussel salad with avocado and leafy greens, or a creamy, garlic-infused mussel soup. You can even create a mussel and cauliflower rice paella, keeping the flavor but ditching the high-carb rice of traditional paella.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Mussels

  1. One keto-friendly alternative to mussels is shrimp. Like mussels, shrimp is low in carbs and can easily be incorporated into various keto dishes. For instance, you can use shrimp in place of mussels in a spicy garlic butter sauce, or as an addition to a keto-friendly stir-fry.
  2. Another low-carb option is clams. Clams can be a good substitute for mussels in soups or stews, or even steamed on their own with garlic and herbs. Clams, like mussels, are also rich in protein and contain essential minerals.
  3. Scallops also make a great alternative for mussels in the context of a keto diet. They can be grilled or sautéed and served with a side of low-carb vegetables, just like mussels. Scallops have a slightly higher protein content than mussels, but still maintain a low carbohydrate profile.

Concluding Thoughts on Mussels and Keto

Mussels make a flavorful addition to a ketogenic diet thanks to their low carbohydrate content and rich nutritional profile. They integrate into strict keto and more flexible low-carb diets, enhancing meal plans with their protein content and essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins. However, individuals monitoring sodium intake should consume them cautiously due to their high sodium content

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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

Yes, mussels are low in carbs, making them suitable for a keto diet.

Absolutely, mussels can be incorporated into a keto diet in various ways such as in salads, soups, or stews.

Mussels are rich in protein and essential nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins.

Yes, other shellfish like shrimp, clams, or scallops can be used as keto-friendly alternatives to mussels.