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Is Eggplant Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a purple and relatively big type of food. It is botanically considered a fruit but due to the ways it is eaten most people refer to it as a vegetable. You can eat eggplant on its own, as a side dish, or as a part of a wide variety of recipes including keto lasagna.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw eggplant is around 2.3 grams per 100 grams.

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

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

  • Total carbs: 5.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 3.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.3 grams

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 2.3 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of raw eggplant are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One cup of raw eggplant is about 82 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 4.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Net carbs: 1.9 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 cup of raw eggplant, 1.9 grams, is even easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not eggplant is keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in eggplant

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

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

  • Calories: 24
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 5.7 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 3.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Manganese: 13% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Folate: 5% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 4% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

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

Substitutes for eggplant on keto

Eggplant is not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Eggplant 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 consume more nutrients or if you have cravings for vegetables it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over eggplant. That being said eggplant is still relatively low in net carbs.

What is your goal with keto?

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