On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about beets, are they keto-friendly?
Beets, also known as beetroot, are the edible root of the beet plant. This red-colored vegetable can be eaten on its own, as beet juice, or as a part of other dishes like salads.
The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in boiled beets is around 8 grams per 100 grams.
While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people beets are not very keto-friendly. This vegetable is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some portion control.
In any case, there are many substitutes for beets that are better for staying in ketosis.
When is a food keto-friendly
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.
For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.
In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.
That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.
It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.
Carbs in beets
100 grams of boiled beets contains the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 10 grams
- Of which fiber: 2 grams
- Net carbs: 8 grams
Combined with the other foods in your diet the 8 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of boiled beets can be enough to kick you out of ketosis.
One ounce of boiled beets is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 2.8 grams
- Of which fiber: 0.6 grams
- Net carbs: 2.2 grams
The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of boiled beets, 2.2 grams, is a bit easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not beets are keto for you ultimately depends on what portion you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.
Carbs in beet juice
The above amounts of net carbs in beets are in boiled beets. Another popular way to consume them is beet juice but this will impact how keto-friendly this vegetable is.
One thing to note is that the nutritional values of the example beet juice are without added sugar. Some store-bought brands will add sugar and other sweeteners which is not helpful if you are on a ketogenic diet.
If you have the choice between with or without added sugar, the ones with no added sugar are more keto-friendly.
|Values Per 100g||Boiled Beets||Beet Juice|
|Total Carbohydrates||10 g||7 g|
|Of Which Fiber||2 g||3 g|
|Net Carbs||8 g||4 g|
100 grams of the example beet juice is actually more keto-friendly than the boiled beets. You do have to keep in mind that it is generally easier to drink half a glass of beet juice compared to eating 100 grams of boiled beets.
Other nutrients in beets
Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.
100 grams of boiled beets contains the following nutrients (2):
- Calories: 44
- Protein: 1.7 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Folate: 20% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Manganese: 16% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 6% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
While they are slightly higher in net carbs, beets do not contain nice amounts of valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.
How to avoid eating too much beet
By now it is clear that to be able to fit beets in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Preparing a big pot of beets and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.
You can avoid eating too much beet with some of the following tips:
- Plan ahead, how much beet will you eat?
- Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the beets out of sight
- Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
- Consider not buying beets if you are not succesful in controlling portions
If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the number of beets you eat.
Substitutes for beets on keto
Beets are not the only option when you want to eat beets on the ketogenic diet. Beets are actually one of the higher net carb options so there are many vegetables that are more keto-friendly.
- 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
If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still want to eat vegetables it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over beets. However, even with these examples you may have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.
What is your goal with keto?
Even a small portion of beets added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.
If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.
If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, both regular beets and beet juice can be good food options even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.