Is Arugula Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Leafy greens are often keto-friendly but you may wonder if this also applies to arugula. Find out how many carbs it contains and what substitutes there are.

Raw arugula contains around 2.1 net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) per 100 grams.

Since this is relatively low, it is fair to say that arugula will generally be keto-friendly.

You can add it to the keto-friendly recipes of dishes like omelets, salads, low-carb pizza, and more.

Something you do want to keep in mind is that even small amounts of arugula can sometimes be enough to kick you out of ketosis. It can be smart to double-check your carb intake anyway.

Additionally, there are other leafy greens and other vegetables that are also keto-friendly. You may prefer these over arugula or want to switch things up.

Carbs in arugula

How many carbs arugula and the other foods in your diet contain influences whether this leafy green is keto and in what amounts.

100 grams of raw arugula contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 3.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.1 grams

Since this is a relatively low number of carbs, you can say that arugula will generally be keto-friendly.

At the same time, you want to remember that low-carb foods like arugula can sometimes kick you out of ketosis if you already ate a lot of carbs in other foods and recipes.

One ounce of arugula is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Of which fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 0.6 grams

As you can expect, smaller portions of arugula will also contain fewer carbohydrates. In turn, it becomes easier to stay in ketosis with a diet that includes arugula.

Your portion sizes influence things a good amount but even bigger amounts of arugula are relatively keto-friendly.

Especially if you consider you will likely feel too full before you get to these bigger portions.

Other nutrition information arugula

The number of carbs in arugula is definitely important information when following a ketogenic diet. That being said, the fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in arugula still matter too.

These can influence how many of the carbohydrates actually get absorbed into your body and simply influence your overall health and other fitness goals.

100 grams of raw arugula contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 2.6 grams
  • Carbs: 3.7 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.7 grams
  • Vitamin K: 137% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 47% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 25% of the DV
  • Folate: 24% of the DV
  • Calcium: 16% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Arugula is not just low in net carbs. It can also provide you with many valuable nutrients in nice amounts.

Even if you don’t necessarily love its taste, it may be worth implementing arugula into your ketogenic diet for all the valuable nutrients in it.

One thing you do have to keep in mind is that arugula contains a relatively high amount of vitamin K. This can reduce the effectiveness of certain blood-thinning medications (2).

People who take these kinds of medications likely want to talk to a doctor before eating a lot more arugula on keto.

Why you can often eat arugula on the keto diet

To get a better idea of why arugula is typically (but not always) keto-friendly and what other foods fulfill similar conditions, it can be helpful to quickly go over the fundamentals again.

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (3).

While the exact keto statistics vary from person to person and goal to goal, you want to get about 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get in this state.

After doing the calculations, many people will conclude that they can eat around 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day.

Something else to note is that you generally don’t include the fiber in arugula and other foods in these amounts. Fiber is a category of carbs but your body deals with them in different ways.

While these numbers can be a helpful rough general guideline, something important to note is that the actual amounts you can eat while staying in ketosis depend on many factors.

As an example, if you exercise a lot and have a lot of muscle, you will normally be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said, with the ratios above, you can get some idea of how many grams of arugula would still fit in your ketogenic diet.

Substitutes for arugula on keto

Arugula can be a good vegetable choice to add a variety of nutrients and not many carbs to your ketogenic diet. That being said, you also have a good amount of other low-carb vegetable options.

Keep in mind that these still contain some amounts of carbs. That means there are cases where these could kick you out of ketosis similar to arugula.

The values next to these substitutes are the amounts of net carbs per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

  • Chicory: 0.9 grams of net carbs
  • Spinach: 1.4 grams of net carbs
  • Green leaf lettuce: 1.5 grams of net carbs
  • Celery: 1.8 grams of net carbs
  • Radishes: 1.9 grams of net carbs
  • Asparagus: 2.1 grams of net carbs

You may prefer these other vegetables over arugula in terms of taste, nutrients, and/or carb counts.

Adding some variety can also help make your ketogenic diet more enjoyable and in turn, improve consistency.

Is it always bad if arugula kicks you out of ketosis?

So arugula is generally keto-friendly but even small amounts are sometimes enough to increase your carb intake too much.

How bad this would be depends on your reasons for following a ketogenic diet.

Some individuals need/want to stay in ketosis 24/7. People like this can likely still consider arugula but want to be very careful about their carb intake.

On the other hand, if you just want to lose weight and get healthier, arugula can be a good addition to your diet. Even if it kicks you out of ketosis.

This type of diet is typically not the only way to achieve your health goals.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.