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Is Tilapia Keto-Friendly?

Tilapia on a kitchen counter

The simple answer to the question is yes.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the specifics of why Tilapia is a great fit for those on a ketogenic diet.

We'll be breaking down the carb content of Tilapia, offering tips for including it in your keto meal plan, and highlighting its nutritional benefits.

So, whether you're a seasoned keto dieter or just starting your journey, you'll find valuable insights into how Tilapia can fit seamlessly into your low-carb lifestyle.


  • Yes, Tilapia is keto-friendly, with 0g net carbs per 100g.
  • Tilapia is rich in protein and essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Despite being keto-friendly, Tilapia does have a higher sodium content to be aware of.

Is Tilapia Keto-Friendly?

Yes, Tilapia is indeed keto-friendly. The clear determining factor lies in the nutritional content of Tilapia, particularly its carbohydrate count. Upon an in-depth look at its nutritional facts, it's found that Tilapia contains 0.0 g net carbs per 100 g, making it an excellent choice for those adhering to a ketogenic lifestyle.

Understanding why Tilapia is considered keto-friendly involves delving into its nutritional profile. The ketogenic diet revolves around minimizing carb intake while maximizing fat consumption to stimulate ketosis, a metabolic state where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbs. Practically, this means that foods with minimal to no net carbs, such as Tilapia, seamlessly fit into this dietary regimen.

Can You Have Tilapia on a Strict Keto Diet?

Yes, you can have Tilapia on a strict keto diet. This diet typically involves limiting your carb intake to under 20g per day, and given that Tilapia contains 0.0g net carbs per 100g, it fits comfortably within these guidelines.

For those following a stricter version of the ketogenic diet, Tilapia can be a suitable addition, given its minimal carbohydrate content. It's worth noting that even for individuals following a more moderate low-carb diet, where the daily carb limit is slightly relaxed to 30-50g, Tilapia can still be readily incorporated without the fear of disrupting ketosis.

Carbs In Tilapia

Tilapia contains 0.0g net carbs per 100g. This makes it a favorable choice for those keeping an eye on their carb intake. It's also important to note that Tilapia has a low glycemic index of 0 [source]. This means that it has minimal impact on blood sugar levels, which is paramount in a ketogenic 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.

Tilapia Nutrition Facts

Tilapia is a protein-dense food, offering 20.08g of protein per 100g. It's low in total lipid (fat), possessing just 1.7g. This fish barely contains net carbs, with a total of 0.0g. It's an excellent source of hydration too, with a water content of 78.08g.
Looking at vitamins, Tilapia is rich in several B vitamins, such as thiamin (0.041mg), riboflavin (0.063mg), niacin (3.903mg), and Vitamin B-6 (0.162mg). It also supplies Vitamin B-12 (1.58µg), along with Vitamin D (3.1µg), and Vitamin E (0.4mg).
Tilapia provides a reasonable amount of potassium (302.0mg), a crucial mineral for maintaining heart health. Other significant minerals include phosphorous (170.0mg), sodium (52.0mg), and calcium (10.0mg).
For those watching their cholesterol intake, Tilapia contains 50.0mg of cholesterol. However, it also supplies selenium (41.8µg), a vital element for thyroid health.
Tilapia is abundant in essential fatty acids, including monounsaturated (0.498g) and polyunsaturated (0.363g) fats. Plus, it provides a good amount of saturated fat (0.585g), which includes SFA 14:0 (0.053g), SFA 16:0 (0.424g), and SFA 18:0 (0.107g).
Not to forget, Tilapia is a rich source of several essential amino acids, including tryptophan (0.21g), leucine (1.603g), and lysine (1.81g), which are beneficial for body growth and repair.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100 g
Net Carbs0.0g
Total lipid (fat)1.7g
Calcium, Ca10.0mg
Iron, Fe0.56mg
Magnesium, Mg27.0mg
Phosphorus, P170.0mg
Potassium, K302.0mg
Sodium, Na52.0mg
Zinc, Zn0.33mg
Copper, Cu0.075mg
Manganese, Mn0.037mg
Selenium, Se41.8µg
Pantothenic acid0.487mg
Vitamin B-60.162mg
Folate, total24.0µg
Folate, food24.0µg
Folate, DFE24.0µg
Choline, total42.5mg
Vitamin B-121.58µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.4mg
Tocopherol, gamma0.1mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units124.0IU
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)3.1µg
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)3.1µg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)1.4µg
Fatty acids, total saturated0.585g
SFA 14:00.053g
SFA 16:00.424g
SFA 18:00.107g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.498g
MUFA 16:10.099g
MUFA 18:10.379g
MUFA 20:10.02g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.363g
PUFA 18:20.158g
PUFA 18:30.033g
PUFA 18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA)0.033g
PUFA 18:40.003g
PUFA 20:2 n-6 c,c0.003g
PUFA 20:30.01g
PUFA 20:40.023g
PUFA 20:5 n-3 (EPA)0.005g
PUFA 22:5 n-3 (DPA)0.043g
PUFA 22:6 n-3 (DHA)0.086g
Aspartic acid2.297g
Glutamic acid3.213g
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 Tilapia on a Keto Diet

Tilapia contains beneficial minerals and vitamins that contribute to overall health. For instance, it's rich in protein, with 20.08g per 100g serving, supporting muscle health and growth. It also contains beneficial minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which contribute to a variety of bodily functions, from nerve function to bone health. However, one nutritional factor to be mindful of is its sodium content of 52.0mg per 100g, which could be a consideration for those monitoring their sodium intake.

Incorporating Tilapia into Your Keto Meal Plan

  • Grilled or Baked Tilapia: Opt for cooking methods that require no or minimal additional carbs, such as grilling or baking. This also helps to retain the natural flavors of the fish.
  • Tilapia Keto Recipes: Consider recipes like the fish with a parmesan crust or cooked in a creamy garlic sauce. These dishes incorporate other keto-friendly ingredients, enhancing the flavor and keeping the dish within your carb limits.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Tilapia

  1. Salmon: Another keto-friendly alternative to Tilapia is salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it's a flavorful addition to salads or a great standalone dish when grilled or baked. Salmon contains 0g net carbs per 100g, matching Tilapia's carb content.
  2. Shrimp: Shrimp is a versatile seafood option that can be used in a variety of keto dishes, from salads to stir-fry. With 1g net carbs per 100g, it offers a low-carb alternative for those seeking variation in their diet.

Concluding Thoughts on Tilapia and Keto

Tilapia stands out as a beneficial addition to a keto diet, given its low-carb, high-protein profile, and abundance of essential minerals. It's a flexible ingredient that can be incorporated into various keto-friendly recipes, always keeping in mind the importance of tracking your overall carb intake.

The nutritional benefits of Tilapia, including its protein, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus content, further enhance its appeal on a keto diet, even though it's worth noting its sodium content for those monitoring their sodium intake.

Explore our Is It Keto Knowledge Hub.

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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

Yes, Tilapia is considered keto-friendly due to its low carb content of 0g net carbs per 100g.

Absolutely, it is a good source of protein and contains essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

All Tilapia variants should be suitable for the keto diet, as they all have similar nutritional profiles with low carb content.

You can grill, bake, or use this fish in various keto recipes, like Tilapia with a parmesan crust or cooked in a creamy garlic sauce. Remember to count carbs from any additional ingredients used in your recipes.