On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about cilantro, is it keto-friendly?
Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, is a type of herb you can use to add flavor to a variety of dishes.
The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in 20 grams of raw cilantro is around 0.1 grams.
The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in one tablespoon (2 g) of dried cilantro is around 0.7 grams.
So while it ultimately depends on the rest of your diet, cilantro itself is keto-friendly in reasonable amounts. Your choice of dishes to combine cilantro with will generally be important in terms of keeping it keto.
That being said, most foods list their net carbs in terms of bigger quantities. To make cilantro easier to compare to other herbs and other foods, 100 grams of raw cilantro contains about 0.9 grams of net carbs.
This quantity is typically not recommended for consumption but it does give you a better idea about how cilantro compares to other options.
If you are not the biggest fan of this herb, there are substitutes that can also be eaten in reasonable amounts while 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 raw cilantro
100 grams of raw cilantro contains the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 3.7 grams
- Of which fiber: 2.8 grams
- Net carbs: 0.9 grams
Quantities of cilantro like this are not that common. Even so, while possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 0.9 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of raw cilantro are enough to kick you out of ketosis.
20 grams of raw cilantro contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 0.7 grams
- Of which fiber: 0.6 grams
- Net carbs: 0.1 grams
The number of net carbs in 20 grams of raw cilantro is even easier to fit into a keto diet.
Whether or not cilantro is keto for you ultimately depends on what dish you combine it with, what portion you have in mind, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.
Carbs in dried cilantro
You can also use cilantro in its dried form. This will influence how keto-friendly it is.
Most people don’t consume 100 grams of dried cilantro but this quantity makes it easier to compare to raw cilantro and other foods.
100 grams of dried cilantro contains about 41.7 grams of net carbs (3). Consuming this amount would definitely not be keto friendly.
On the other hand, 1 tablespoon (about 2 grams) of dried cilantro contains about 0.7 grams of net carbs. This is a lot more realistic and also a lot more keto-friendly.
Other nutrients in cilantro
Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.
100 grams of raw cilantro contains the following nutrients (2):
- Calories: 23
- Protein: 2.1 grams
- Carbs: 3.7 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin K: 388% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 135% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 45% of the DV
- Manganese: 21% of the DV
- Folate: 16% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
In smaller quantities of cilantro these nutrients will also be present in lower amounts. That being said, even these smaller quantities can offer you a few helpful nutrients.
Substitutes for cilantro on keto
Cilantro is not the only option when you want to eat herbs on the ketogenic diet. Some of the following substitutes can also be an option on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8):
- Fresh basil: 1.1 grams of net carbs
- Raw chives: 1.9 grams of net carbs
- Raw parsley: 3 grams of net carbs
- Raw scallions: 4.7 grams of net carbs
- Fresh dill weed: 4.9 grams of net carbs
If you don’t like cilantro but still want to add herbs to your dishes, some of these foods can be good choices. However, even with these examples you need to keep the portions on the small side to stay in ketosis.
What is your goal with keto?
Even a small portion of cilantro 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, cilantro can be a good herb option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.