Pickles add a nice acidic punch to sandwiches and taste especially delicious in a Bloody Mary. But they’re also great on their own, straight out of the jar, as a healthy, low-calorie, high-flavor snack.
However, are pickles keto?
“Since there are so many different types of pickles, you’ll have to use your label reading skills to check out the ‘net carbs‘—total carbs minus fiber—in a given product,” says Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist, Ginger Hultin, M.S., R.D.N., and author of Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep.
To really know if pickles can fit into your diet, you’ll also have to evaluate how many net carbs your particular keto diet includes. “Some people need to stick to as low as 20 net carbs per day while others can tolerate up to about 50 while still staying in ketosis,” says Hultin. So, whether or not a given food can fit is somewhat dependent on what else you’re eating in a day.
Some foods are obviously hard to make keto (think: white bread or a candy bar), but even pickles might make you wonder. A “serving” of pickles is commonly listed as a cup, which has 2.2 grams of net carbs, so you actually get a lot for a low amount of carbs (applicable to dill and salt pickles).
Luckily, pickles are keto friendly, especially those that are of the dill pickle variety, as sugar is low. “Simply put, sweet pickles are made with sugar which will automatically push the carb count up,” says Hultin. “Dill or salt pickles don’t have the added sugar and carbs, naturally,” she says.
Many brands of pickles, especially “dill” varieties, are low carb. “You’ll typically find 1g net carb in an ounce, though products do vary in their carb amount and serving amount,” she says. Use caution with sweet pickles, as they are often much higher in net carbs, with some that are up to 8 or 9 grams, which is going to be very high on a keto-style diet.
Spicy varieties may be fine as long as you read the label and check out the carb count listed—any sort of flavoring for the pickle jar should definitely be glanced at before purchasing to make sure the net carb count fits in for your keto carb bank.
Plus, pickles can actually be a great food to enjoy on keto, especially in the beginning! “Pickles are salty which can be helpful if you need the added electrolytes when transitioning to a keto diet,” she says.
So, enjoy your pickles—Just check labels first.
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