Weight Loss Made Practical » Dieting » Is Cauliflower Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

Is Cauliflower Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about cauliflower, is it keto-friendly?

Cauliflower is a popular type of vegetable that comes in many colors and varieties. You can eat cauliflower raw or boiled, on its own, with some sauce, as a pizza bottom, keto rice replacement, or as a part of a variety of recipes.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw cauliflower is around 2.8 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people cauliflower is very keto-friendly. That being said you do not have to force yourself to eat cauliflower.

If you are not the biggest fan of this food there are substitutes that are even better than cauliflower 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 cauliflower

100 grams of raw cauliflower contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 5.3 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.8 grams

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 2.8 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of raw cauliflower are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of raw cauliflower is about 28 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 1.5 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 0.8 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of cauliflower, 0.8 grams, is even easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not cauliflower is keto for you ultimately depends on what portion you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Is cauliflower pizza keto?

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet. One reason for this is that you can use cauliflower to make a pizza base.

The details vary from recipe to recipe but in general, a cauliflower pizza crust consists of cauliflower, cheese, eggs, specific seasoning, salt, and pepper. These additional ingredients make cauliflower even more keto-friendly.

Besides that, you do have to keep the toppings in mind. The base may be keto-friendly but whether a cauliflower pizza is keto or not ultimately depends on the toppings you use.

In general, if you stick to whole ingredients like tomato sauce without added sweeteners, vegetables, meat, fish, and similar options your cauliflower pizza should be keto. It may be worth it to calculate this for the recipe you have in mind.

The main challenge is that many store-bought tomato sauces have added sugars. This is not helpful on a ketogenic diet.

Is cauliflower rice keto?

In essence, cauliflower rice is just raw cauliflower chopped into tiny pieces. This means similar to the regular vegetable, cauliflower rice is keto for most people in normal portions.

When buying cauliflower rice in a store it can be worth it to double-check the package for any added ingredients.

Other nutrients in cauliflower

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

100 grams of raw cauliflower contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 5.3 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin C: 77% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 20% of the DV
  • Folate: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
  • Potassium: 9% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

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

How to avoid eating too much cauliflower

You generally should be able to fit cauliflower in your keto diet. Even so, in some situations, you may have to exercise some portion control.

Preparing a big bowl of cauliflower and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this. You can avoid eating too much cauliflower with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much cauliflower will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the cauliflower out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the amount of cauliflower you eat.

Substitutes for cauliflower on keto

Cauliflower is not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Cauliflower is 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 (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
  • 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 cauliflower. However, even with these examples you may have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

That being said, cauliflower is still relatively low in net carbs.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of cauliflower 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, cauliflower can be a good food option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.