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

Is Cinnamon Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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

Cinnamon is a type of spice that you get from the inner bark of certain tree species. This spice can be added to a variety of dishes ranging from certain chick recipes to baked goods.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in one tablespoon (8 g) of cinnamon is around 2.1 grams.

So while it ultimately depends on the rest of your diet, cinnamon is keto-friendly in reasonable amounts. Your choice of dishes to combine cinnamon with will generally matter more.

That being said, most foods list their net carbs in terms of bigger quantities. To make cinnamon easier to compare to other spices and other foods, 100 grams of cinnamon contains about 27.5 grams of net carbs.

This quantity is definitely not recommended for consumption but it does give you a better idea about how cinnamon compares to other options.

If you are not the biggest fan of this spice 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 cinnamon

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

  • Total carbs: 80.6 grams
  • Of which fiber: 53.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 27.5 grams

Quantities of cinnamon like this are not recommended for consumption. On top of that, the 27.5 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of cinnamon are likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One tablespoon of cinnamon is about 8 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 6.2 grams
  • Of which fiber: 4.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.1 grams

One tablespoon of cinnamon is still on the high side for a recipe for one person but a bit more realistic. The number of net carbs in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 2.1 grams, should be possible to fit into a keto diet.

Whether or not cinnamon 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.

Other nutrients in cinnamon

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

100 grams of cinnamon contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 247
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbs: 80.6 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 53.1 grams
  • Fat: 1.2 grams
  • Manganese: 873% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Calcium: 100% of the DV
  • Iron: 46% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 39% of the DV
  • Copper: 17% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

In smaller quantities of cinnamon 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 cinnamon on keto

Cinnamon is not the only option when you want to eat spices 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 (3, 4, 5, 6, 7):

  • Nutmeg: 28.5 grams of net carbs
  • Cloves: 27 grams of net carbs
  • Mace: 30.3 grams of net carbs
  • Allspice: 50.5 grams of net carbs
  • Ginger: 58.3 grams of net carbs

If you don’t like cinnamon but still want to add spices 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 cinnamon 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, cinnamon can be a good spice option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.


Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.