Are Bell Peppers Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Because they are botanically a fruit, you may fear bell peppers are high in carbs. Find out if they are keto-friendly or not.

You can eat bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers, on their own or as an addition to many recipes.

100 grams of raw red bell peppers contain around 3.9 grams of net carbohydrates which comes down to total carbs minus fiber.

You may still need to pay attention to your portions depending on details like the other foods you eat. That being said, red bell peppers are relatively keto-friendly.

If you want to increase your chances of staying in ketosis, you can also choose green bell peppers which only contain around 2.9 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.

That aside, bell peppers are definitely not the only vegetables/fruits for staying in ketosis. You can consider one of the substitutes too.

How many carbs there are in bell peppers

The carbohydrates in bell peppers are one of the most important nutrition details when following a ketogenic diet. This helps you figure out just how much you can eat.

100 grams of raw red bell peppers contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 6 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.9 grams

In combination with the other foods in your diet, the 3.9 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of red bell pepper could kick you out of ketosis.

That being said, bell peppers are relatively low in carbs compared to many other food options. In turn, you can say they are relatively keto-friendly.

One medium red bell pepper is about 119 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 7.2 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.7 grams

The bigger your portion of bell peppers, the more carbohydrates you will consume. In turn, a medium-sized bell pepper will be slightly harder to fit into a ketogenic diet than 100 grams.

In simpler words, details like how many grams of red bell peppers you want to eat influence whether this food is keto.

Carbs in yellow, orange, red, and green bell peppers compared

Bell peppers come in many colors. Whether you choose the yellow, orange, red, or green varieties influences how many carbs you will eat.

In the table below, you can find the different amounts of carbs for each type (2, 3, 1, 4):

Bell Pepper ColorTotal CarbohydratesOf Which FiberNet Carbs
Yellow Bell Peppers6.3 g0.9 g5.4 g
Orange Bell Peppers6.7 g1 g5.7 g
Red Bell Peppers6 g2.1 g3.9 g
Green Bell Peppers4.6 g1.7 g2.9 g
Chart of carbs yellow, orange, red, and green bell peppers

As you can see, when it comes to the number of net carbs, green is the best color of bell pepper for a keto diet. After that, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and lastly orange bell peppers.

In theory, you would have to adjust your portions depending on what color you choose to stay in ketosis.

Other nutrients in bell peppers

The number of carbohydrates in your diet is definitely important when following a ketogenic diet but bell peppers contain other nutrients too.

Substances like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals still influence whether you stay in ketosis and how good your general health is.

100 grams of raw red bell peppers contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 31
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 213% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 63% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
  • Folate: 11% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 8% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Bell peppers are not only low in carbs. They also offer you a variety of nutrients in nice amounts. This is a great combination for a healthy keto diet.

Carbs in mini sweet peppers

There are also mini variations of sweet peppers (aka bell peppers). These contain slightly different nutrients.

More specifically, 100 grams of mini sweet peppers contain the following amounts of carbs (5):

  • Total carbs: 7.1 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Net carbs: 5.9 grams

You can likely still fit certain amounts of mini sweet peppers on ketogenic diets. At the same time, this is the least keto-friendly bell pepper variation so far.

Why bell peppers are not always keto-friendly

To help you understand why bell peppers are not always keto-friendly it is helpful to quickly go over the ketogenic diet fundamentals. This will help you approach this diet in a smarter way.

Basically any way of eating where you get and stay in ketosis is a keto diet. Ketosis is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (6).

To into this state you need to carbohydrate intake low enough. Exactly how low will depend on many details like how much you weigh, how active you are, how much muscle you have, etc.

In reality, things are more complicated. However, there are some general guidelines for staying in ketosis.

More specifically, you want to get about 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

When put into practice, these keto stats come down to eating around 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day for most people.

You typically don’t include the fiber from bell peppers or other foods in these amounts. Fibers are carbs but your body deals with them in different ways.

Are mini sweet peppers keto-friendly?

The mini sweet peppers mentioned before contain around 5.9 grams of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (5).

With the keto fundamentals above, you can figure out that mini sweet peppers can be keto-friendly but that you may need to limit your portions.

Especially if you already ate foods with above-average amounts of carbs.

Substitutes for bell peppers on keto

While they can be good, you don’t have to stick to bell peppers if you want to eat vegetables (/vegetable-like foods) on keto.

Some of the substitutes below are lower in carbs which makes it easier to stay in ketosis. You may also like their taste just as much or more than bell peppers.

The numbers next to the vegetables are the amounts of net carbs per 100 grams (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11):

  • 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

By now it should be clear that even these substitutes could kick you out of ketosis in combination with suboptimal diets. That being said, at least they are lower in carbs than sweet peppers.

What is your goal with keto?

Bell peppers are relatively keto-friendly but they could still increase your carb intake just a bit too much for this diet. Whether or not this would be a problem depends on your situation and goals.

Some individuals need/want to stay in ketosis every minute of the day. People like this could still be able to fit in some amounts of bell peppers in keto but want to be very careful.

On the other hand, to lose weight and become healthier, bell peppers can be a good food option even if they would kick you out of ketosis.

Can you have green bell peppers on keto?

Green bell peppers contain around 2.9 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. It still depends on things like the rest of your diet but many people can have green bell peppers on keto.

Are bell peppers high in carbs?

Red bell peppers contain around 3.9 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. This is generally considered to be low in carbs.

Which bell pepper has the least carbs?

Of the bell peppers I looked at, the green ones had the least carbs per 100 grams.

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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.