On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about broccoli, is it keto-friendly?
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with a green stalk and flowering head. You can eat broccoli on its own, as a side dish, or as a part of a wide variety of recipes.
The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in boiled broccoli is around 3.9 grams per 100 grams.
While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people broccoli is very keto-friendly. That being said you do not have to force yourself to eat broccoli. Even if you are not the biggest fan of this food there are substitutes that are even better than broccoli 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 broccoli
100 grams of boiled broccoli contains the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 7.2 grams
- Of which fiber: 3.3 grams
- Net carbs: 3.9 grams
While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 3.9 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of boiled broccoli are enough to kick you out of ketosis.
One cup of boiled broccoli is about 156 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 11.2 grams
- Of which fiber: 5.2 grams
- Net carbs: 5 grams
The number of net carbs in 1 cup of boiled broccoli, 5 grams, may be slightly harder to fit into a keto diet but it is still very doable. Whether or not broccoli is keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.
Other nutrients in broccoli
Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.
100 grams of boiled broccoli contains the following nutrients (2):
- Calories: 35
- Protein: 2.4 grams
- Carbs: 7.2 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 3.3 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Vitamin K: 176% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin C: 108% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 31% of the DV
- Folate: 27% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
Besides being low in net carbs, broccoli can also provide you with valuable nutrients. A great combination for a ketogenic diet.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that broccoli contains a relatively high amount of vitamin K. This may interfere with certain blood-thinning medications (3). If you take these kinds of medications you want to consult with your doctor before implementing large amounts of broccoli in your diet.
Substitutes for broccoli on keto
Broccoli is not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Broccoli is not the highest in net carbs but 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 consume more nutrients or if you have cravings for vegetables it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over broccoli. That being said broccoli is still relatively low in net carbs.
What is your goal with keto?
Even a small portion of broccoli added to certain daily diets could 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, broccoli can be a good food option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.