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10 Low Carb Vegetables Every Ketogenic Dieter Must Know

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Low Carb Vegetables are a savior for any Ketogenic, paleo or low carb dieter.

While these diets may not be for everyone, the benefits of a ketogenic diet are well documented by research and are highly impressive. These range from helping with diabetes, obesity, brain disease, metabolic disease to even possibly reducing tumor size or the symptoms of cancer.

While no one is debating the efficacy of a low carb or ketogenic diet, most people do, however, encounter one main issue with it: practicality and sustainability.

In addition, one of the biggest errors ketogenic dieters can make is consuming too many carbs. When this happens they blunt the rise in ketone levels, which provide a lot of the unique benefits that a ketogenic diet is famous for providing.

Since carbohydrates are drastically reduced in a ketogenic diet, there is a large dependence on low carb vegetables. While there are some well known low carb vegetables, many can be too high in carbs and cause issues, reducing ketone levels and raising blood sugar levels.

As always, I’ve already done the hard work for you so, listed below, you will find the best 10 Low Carb Vegetables for Ketogenic Dieters.

What Exactly is a Low Carb Ketogenic Diet?

Before we dive in, here’s an overview of the ketogenic diet in case you are unfamiliar with how it works.

The ketogenic diet is an extremely high fat, moderate protein but very low carb diet. A typical macronutrient breakdown consists of 75% Fat, 20% Protein and 5% Carbohydrates.

The ketogenic diet originated in the early decades of the 1900s when research demonstrated ketones offered the brain a secondary fuel source which helped treat patients with epilepsy. Since then, research has expanded drastically and the ketogenic diet has been shown to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Be one of the most effective weight loss diets around
  • Treat epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and mild cognitive impairment
  • Increase fat burning during exercise and at rest
  • Boost hunger hormones, anabolic hormones, and your metabolism
  • Treat certain types of cancer

Example Low Carb / Ketogenic Food List

Low Carb Foods You Can Eat

  • Coconut and other oils
  • High-fat meats
  • Oily fish
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Most  low carb vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Salads
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

High Carb Foods You Cannot Eat 

  • Most fruits
  • Grains including rice or bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Sports drinks and juice
  • Bagels
  • Wraps
  • Chips
  • Pizza
  • Sushi
  • Sugar

Top 10 Low Carb Vegetables for a Ketogenic Diet

Low Carb Vegetable 1: Spinach

Spinach is number one on our list because it is packed with vital antioxidants and nutrients while containing only 3.6 grams of carbs per 100 grams with 2.2 grams coming from fiber!

Spinach is great for ketogenic dieters because it provides a crunch that you may have been missing while also giving you volume! Spinach also contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folic Acids, Iron and Calcium!

Low Carb Vegetable 2: Lettuce 

Lettuce is very low in carbs and can be used to replace bread when eating hamburgers, tacos or sandwiches. Also, lettuce can be used in combination with spinach as the base of a salad.

Best of all, lettuce contains 2 grams of carbs per serving! Lettuce also has 1 gram of fiber per serving so your net carbs are only 1 gram per serving!

Low Carb Vegetable 3: Asparagus 

Asparagus is a common  low carb vegetable of choice for both ketogenic dieters and non-ketogenic dieters alike, due to its unique flavor and low carbohydrate content. Per 100g, asparagus contains 3.8 grams of carbs and 2.1 grams of fiber. Asparagus is also high in vitamins A and C.

Low Carb Vegetable

Low Carb Vegetable 4: Avocados 

Avocados are a unique low carb vegetable included in most ketogenic diets due to their super healthy fats. Per 100 grams, avocados contain 8 grams of carbohydrate, however 6 grams of fiber as well, which means only 2g are actual carbohydrates which affect blood sugar levels!

Avocados are a great topping for any meal including eggs, fish, meat and salads! They can also be mixed well in smoothies, puddings etc.

(Related: Get 80 Low carb and Ketogenic Dieting Recipes here: http://www.rudymawer.com/metabolic-advantage-diet/)

Low Carb Vegetable 5: Broccoli 

One serving of broccoli contains 4 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of this is fiber.

Broccoli is a perfect low carb vegetable with serious health benefits; in fact broccoli contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folate, Potassium, Manganese and Iron. As a result, broccoli has been linked with lowering cholesterol levels and cancer prevention!

Low Carb Vegetable 6: Kale 

Kale comes from the same family of other low carb vegetables such as broccoli, however their carbohydrate and micronutrient make-up vary slightly.

Kale contains 6 grams of carbs per 100gram serving with 3.8 grams of fiber. Along with being a great low carb vegetable, kale also packs some serious health benefits as it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium! But that’s not all, kale is also high in antioxidants which may help reduce inflammation.

Low Carb Vegetable 7: Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe (Broccoli Raab) is one of my personal favorite vegetables to eat when following a lower carb or ketogenic diet. Although it shares the name Broccoli, it is actually a member of the turnip family (brassiceae).

Just one 40g serving of raw Rabe is only 9 calories, yet provides 1g protein (but 0 sugars or fats), along with Vitamins K, A, C, E and folate so you can see it’s pretty nutritious. It is also a source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, copper and magnesium (with a little zinc and iron thrown in for good measure too). It also contains phytochemicals which have been demonstrated to help protect against cell damage and thus even prevent cancer.

So, not only is it keto friendly and mega healthy but tastes great when sautéed in olive oil and garlic! In summary, broccoli rabe contains 2.85 grams of carbs with 2.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams making it an extremely keto friendly vegetable!

Low Carb Vegetable 8:  Bok Choy

Bok Choi is a Chinese vegetable that is very keto friendly. Per 100 grams, Bok Choi Contains 2.2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber! Relative to other vegetables, Bok Choi is also high in protein yielding two grams of protein per 140 grams.Low Carb Vegetable

Low Carb Vegetable 9: Celery

Celery has often been referred to as a negative calorie food as it is so very low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, that some argue it may take more calories to digest celery than it actually provides!

Celery is great for the ketogenic diet as it provides a nice texture and is commonly used to hold fillings such as cream cheese or peanut butter.

Per 100 grams, celery contains 3 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber.

Low Carb Vegetable 10: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is another extremely popular vegetable for ketogenic dieters -why? Well, you can load it up with cheese of course!

Cauliflower is also unique because it is often ground up and transformed to resemble other foods typically consumed in a western diet. For example, cauliflower can be ground up and turned into cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and even cauliflower pizza!

In regards to carbohydrate content, cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

Wrapping it up

The ketogenic diet has proven to be beneficial for a variety of populations including obese individuals, aerobic athletes, physique athletes as well as a variety of clinical applications in the medical field.

As the ketogenic diet spreads, more and more low carb options will start to become readily available. However, in the meantime, while it may not be easy, as long as you are informed and conscious of what you are eating, you can still obtain all of the nutrients you need by being selective when picking which vegetables you consume.

Next time you go shopping while on the ketogenic diet make sure you grab these…

10 keto-friendly, low carb vegetables:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Bok Choi
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower

Remember, if you want 80 Low Carb / Ketogenic Recipes you can get them FREE here: https://www.rudymawer.com/metabolic-advantage-diet/

References

1.) Volek, J. S., Sharman, M. J., Gómez, A. L., Judelson, D. A., Rubin, M. R., Watson, G., … & Kraemer, W. J. (2004). Comparison of energy-restricted very low carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition & metabolism1(1), 13.

2.) Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European journal of clinical nutrition67(8), 789-796.

3.) Westman, E. C., Mavropoulos, J., Yancy, W. S., & Volek, J. S. (2003). A review of low carbohydrate ketogenic diets. Current atherosclerosis reports5(6), 476-483.

4.) Volek, J. S., Freidenreich, D. J., Saenz, C., Kunces, L. J., Creighton, B. C., Bartley, J. M., … & Lee, E. C. (2016). Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. Metabolism65(3), 100-110.

5.) Gasior, M., Rogawski, M. A., & Hartman, A. L. (2006). Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural pharmacology17(5-6), 431.

6.) Liu, R. H. (2003). Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. The American journal of clinical nutrition78(3), 517S-520S.

7.) Slavin, J. L., & Lloyd, B. (2012). Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal3(4), 506-516.

8.) Mukherjee, S., & Das, D. K. (2009). Health benefits of broccoli. Acta Hort841, 181-186.

9.) Yao, L. H., Jiang, Y. M., SHI, J., Tomas-Barberan, F. A., Datta, N., Singanusong, R., & Chen, S. S. (2004). Flavonoids in food and their health benefits. Plant foods for human nutrition59(3), 113-122.

10.) Manchali, S., Murthy, K. N. C., & Patil, B. S. (2012). Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables. Journal of Functional Foods4(1), 94-106.

About the author

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Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN

Rudy has a 1st class BSc in Exercise, Nutrition & Health and a Masters in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Rudy currently works as a Human Performance Researcher, Sports Nutritionist and Physique Coach. Over 7 years he has helped over 500 people around the world achieve long last physique transformations.

He now works closely with a variety of professional athletes and teams, including the NBA, USA Athletics, World Triathlon Gold Medalists, Hollywood Celebrities and IFBB Pro Bodybuilders. If you would like to get in contact or work with Rudy please contact him on social media.

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