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Is Miso Paste Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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

Miso is a type of paste made by fermenting soybeans. Sometimes other ingredients like barley and rice are added too. The exact nutrition values will vary from brand to brand but one example can show how keto-friendly miso paste is.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in the example miso is around 21.1 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people miso is not very keto-friendly. It is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some portion control.

In any case, there are substitutes for miso for different uses that are better 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 miso

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

  • Total carbs: 26.5 grams
  • Of which fiber: 5.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 21.1 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 21.1 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of miso paste is likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

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

  • Total carbs: 7.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 5.9 grams

The number of net carbs in an ounce of miso, 5.9 grams, is more realistic to fit into a ketogenic diet. However this still is a relatively high number of carbs for a small amount of food.

Carbs in miso soup

The above amounts of net carbs in miso are miso on its own. You can also eat miso as for example the popular dish miso soup. This will have a big impact on how keto-friendly miso is because it is combined with a variety of other ingredients.

These values also depend a lot on what miso recipe soup you use. These values are from our example miso soup recipe.

Here is the comparison between miso and miso soup as an example:

Values Per 100gMisoMiso Soup
Total Carbohydrates26.5 g3.1 g
Of Which Fiber5.4 g0.6 g
Net Carbs21.1 g2.5 g
Chart of carbs in miso vs miso soup

As you can see, if you decide to eat miso in some form on the ketogenic diet, you preferably want to eat it as miso soup, not on its own. Miso paste on itself is not very keto-friendly.

Other nutrients in miso

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

100 grams of the example miso contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 199
  • Protein: 11.7 grams
  • Carbs: 26.5 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 5.4 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Sodium: 155% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Manganese: 43% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 37% of the DV
  • Copper: 21% of the DV
  • Zinc: 17% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

You do have to keep in mind that overdoing it with certain vitamins and minerals is not good either. In the case of miso the main mineral to keep in mind is sodium.

Consuming too much sodium may have negative side effects. If you already get a lot of sodium from your current diet adding miso on top of that might not be a smart idea.

Miso does contain a good amount of a variety of valuable nutrients. However, you don’t have to look far for other nutrient-dense foods that are not so high in net carbs.

Substitutes for miso on keto

What keto-friendly substitutes you want for miso depends on what main aspect of miso you are interested in.

If you are looking for more keto friendly fermented foods some possible substitutes include pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt.

If you are looking for a more keto-friendly dip you may look into hummus, or even warming up certain types of cheeses like brie.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a relatively small amount of miso added to certain daily diets can 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, miso can be a good food option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.