Is Asparagus Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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To follow a ketogenic diet you have to pay some extra attention to what you eat. Find out whether asparagus is keto-friendly or not.

Raw asparagus is relatively low in carbohydrates with 1.8 grams of net carbs in 100 grams. In turn, this vegetable is very keto-friendly.

You can asparagus raw on its own, prepared with or without, and as an ingredient in a variety of salads, soups, and other recipes.

Something to note is that even small amounts of net carbs can kick you out of ketosis in combination with suboptimal diets. Pay enough attention to the other things you eat too.

Additionally, you don’t have to eat asparagus on keto. There are good substitutes that you like more in terms of taste too.

Carbs in asparagus

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet. That means you definitely want to know how many carbs different amounts of asparagus contain.

100 grams or about 5 large spears of raw asparagus contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 1.8 grams

In theory, it is possible that even these 1.8 grams of net carbs could be the thing that kicks you out of ketosis if you already ate a lot of carbohydrates.

In practice, it is definitely fair to say that asparagus is very keto-friendly for most people.

One cup of raw asparagus is about 134 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 5.2 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.4 grams

By increasing the amount of asparagus you eat, you also increase the number of carbohydrates.

That being said, you should still have no issues fitting 2.4 grams of carbs into a ketogenic diet.

Other nutrients in asparagus

While carbohydrates are definitely important on keto, you don’t want to forget that there are also other nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

How many grams of these nutrients asparagus has will also influence whether you stay in ketosis and how good your general health will be.

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

  • Calories: 27
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 5.2 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 70% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 20% of the DV
  • Folate: 17% of the DV
  • Iron: 16% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 13% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Asparagus is not just extremely low in carbs. It also offers a variety of valuable nutrients in nice amounts.

People who want to follow a healthy ketogenic diet definitely want to consider eating more asparagus.

Why asparagus can sometimes kick you out of ketosis

While asparagus is very low in carbs, even the small amounts could kick you out of ketosis in certain situations. The keto fundamentals can help you understand why this is and avoid it.

Ketogenic diets are basically ways of eating where you get and stay in ketosis. This is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (2).

To stay in ketosis you have to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. How low depends on details like your body weight, muscle mass, activity levels, etc.

Someone with a lot of muscle mass who works out a lot will be able to eat more asparagus than a small inactive person while staying in ketosis.

To make things something simpler, there are general guidelines for how many macronutrients you want to eat to get and stay in ketosis.

These ketogenic diet numbers are not perfect but do give you something to aim for.

A typical recommendation is that you want to get about 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

This comes down to consuming around 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day for most people.

You do want to keep in mind that you typically don’t include the amount of fiber in asparagus and other foods. Fiber is a category of carbohydrates but your body processes them in more keto-friendly ways.

Asparagus alternatives on keto

Asparagus is definitely one of the lowest-carb vegetables but there are other good options too.

You may enjoy the tastes and textures of these substitutes more or just want to switch up your ketogenic diet.

The numbers next to the vegetables are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • 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
  • Zucchini: 2.5 grams of net carbs

Even these vegetables still contain some amounts of carbs so the keto fundamentals above still apply.

Similar to asparagus you may need to pay some attention to the other things you eat.

What is your goal with keto?

Asparagus is one of the top options when it comes to vegetables on ketogenic diets. At the same time, there are still situations where the small number of net carbs could be too much.

It is important to note that this is not always the end of the world.

First of all, there are definitely situations where people need/want to stay in strict ketosis every minute of the day. These individuals want to be very careful with how much asparagus they consume.

On the other hand, asparagus can still be good for weight loss and health even if you would go over your daily carbohydrate limit.

Ketogenic diets are typically not the only way to achieve these 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.