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Is Celery Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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

Celery is the green vegetable that is a long crunchy stalk. You can eat it both as a snack or use celery in cooking.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw celery is around 1.8 grams per 100 grams.

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

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

  • Total carbs: 3.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 1.8 grams

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 1.8 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of celery are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

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

  • Total carbs: 1.0 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 0.6 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of celery, 0.6 grams, is even easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not celery is keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in celery

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

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

  • Calories: 16
  • Protein: 0.7 grams
  • Carbs: 3.4 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 37% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 9% of the DV
  • Folate: 9% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 5% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

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

How to avoid eating too much celery

While in reasonable portions celery can fit in your keto diet, some people may have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of celery near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too much celery with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much celery will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the celery out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying it if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of celery you eat. In reality, this will often be more because of other foods in your diet.

Substitutes for celery on keto

Celery is not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Celery is already one of the vegetables lowest in carbs but there are a few that are even 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):

  • Chicory: 0.9 grams of net carbs
  • Spinach: 1.4 grams of net carbs
  • Green leaf lettuce: 1.5 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for vegetables it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over celery. That being said celery is still relatively low in net carbs.

What is your goal with keto?

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