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Are Brussels Sprouts Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about Brussels sprouts, are they keto-friendly?

Brussels sprouts are the vegetable that looks like a tiny cabbage. You can eat Brussels sprouts on their 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 Brussels sprouts is around 4.5 grams per 100 grams. Since one boiled Brussel sprout is about 21 grams, you can likely eat at least 5 Brussels sprouts on keto and potentially more.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people Brussels sprouts are very keto-friendly. That being said you do not have to force yourself to eat Brussels sprouts. Even if you are not the biggest fan of this food there are substitutes that are even better than Brussels sprouts 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 Brussels sprouts

100 grams of boiled Brussels sprouts contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 7.1 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.5 grams

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 4.5 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of boiled Brussels sprouts are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One cup of boiled Brussels sprouts is about 156 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 11 grams
  • Of which fiber: 4 grams
  • Net carbs: 7 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 cup of boiled Brussels sprouts, 7 grams, may be slightly harder to fit into a keto diet but it is still very doable. Whether or not Brussels sprouts are keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in Brussels sprouts

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of boiled Brussels sprouts contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 36
  • Protein: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 7.1 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Vitamin K: 175% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 103% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 15% of the DV
  • Folate: 15% of the DV
  • Manganese: 11% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Besides being low in net carbs, Brussels sprouts can also provide you with valuable nutrients. A great combination for a ketogenic diet.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that Brussels sprouts contain 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 Brussels sprouts in your diet.

Substitutes for Brussels sprouts on keto

Brussels sprouts are not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Brussels sprouts are not the highest in net carbs but there are many vegetables that are more keto-friendly.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values 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

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 Brussels sprouts. That being said Brussels sprouts are still relatively low in net carbs.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of Brussels sprouts 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, Brussels sprouts can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.