Is Kimchi Good For Weight Loss?

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You may not know what to expect from kimchi if you don’t know the ingredients. Find out whether this dish is good for weight loss or not.

Something to note first is that different kimchi recipes can vary.

At the same time, some of the typical ingredients include cabbage, garlic, chili powder, spring onions, ginger, radishes, carrots, and more.

This makes kimchi low in calories, and decent in terms of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Eating more kimchi will likely make you feel fuller and likely help you consume smaller portions of foods that are worse for weight loss.

In that sense, you can say that kimchi will generally be good for weight loss. It is a great example of fermented food that is good for losing weight.

At the same time, this will not always be the case. If you just eat more kimchi without changing anything else, you may not get to your weight loss goals.

Additionally, you will need other foods too to consume enough of other important nutrients.

Something else to note is that kimchi contains a good amount of sodium. Overdoing it with this nutrient is typically considered to be unhealthy

Is kimchi high in calories?

How many calories there are in kimchi does not tell you everything you need to know when it comes to losing weight.

At the same time, this number can still offer helpful information.

One example of kimchi contains around 15 calories per 100 grams (1).

That means kimchi is not high in calories at all. In fact, you will have to make an effort to find foods that are even lower in calories than this.

Besides that, 9.6 of the calories above come from carbohydrates (2.4 g per 100 grams of which 1.6 g fiber).

That means kimchi is good for low-carb weight loss diets like keto.

Knowing where these calories come from can still be useful. However, in terms of total calories, kimchi looks good for people who are trying to lose weight.

Vitamins and minerals in kimchi

Vitamins and minerals are certain smaller types of nutrients. How many of these foods like kimchi contain does not always have the biggest impact on weight loss but it can be relevant.

100 grams of the example of kimchi provides you with approximately (1):

  • Vitamin K: 55% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Sodium: 21% of the DV
  • Iron: 14% of the DV
  • Folate: 13% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 12% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
  • Niacin: 6% of the DV

And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts.

Kimchi contains nice amounts of vitamins and minerals but it is also worth noting that you will likely need other nutritious food to hit your daily targets too.

Additionally, you want to keep an eye on the amount of sodium in kimchi. Consuming too much of this nutrient is often considered to be unhealthy.

If you already eat a lot of sodium-rich foods, you may want to keep your kimchi portions small.

Does the fermented aspect of kimchi influence weight loss?

Something relatively unique to kimchi is that it is a type of fermented food. Depending on the brand you buy, your kimchi may contain something called “probiotics”.

There are some indications that eating more probiotics, both in food and supplements, could benefit weight loss (2, 3, 4).

One potential explanation for this is that certain probiotics seem to reduce how much energy you extra from the other foods you eat (5, 6).

That being said, for now, it is fair to say that the research about using probiotics for weight loss can be better (7, 8).

In two studies where they compared kimchi with and without probiotics, there were not any significant weight loss effects between the two groups (but there were positive effects in both groups) (9, 10).

At the same time, there were still changes that are considered to be positive in other measurements like blood pressure, percent body fat, and fasting glucose in the group that ate the fermented kimchi.

So things do currently look good for probiotics and kimchi in this area. It will also be unlikely that these will be bad for your weight loss results.

Keep in mind that heating up kimchi too much destroys a lot of the bacteria. Additionally, not all store-bought kimchi brands still contain these probiotics.

Fiber in kimchi

When considering a plant-based food or dish like kimchi when losing weight you definitely want to take a look at the amount of fiber in it.

Fiber tends to be helpful for losing weight because it helps you feel fuller.

Since many individuals struggle with hunger while losing weight, this aspect of fiber can be great.

Additionally, fiber is typically considered to be good for the microbes in your gut. In turn, gut health influences your weight loss results.

With that in mind, this example of kimchi contains around 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams (1).

There are definitely more impressive foods too but you can still say kimchi contains a nice amount of fiber.

This is good news for people who struggle with hunger in their weight loss journey.

Is kimchi good for losing weight?

Kimchi is very low in calories, provides you with a nice amount of fiber, and offers a variety of vitamins and minerals in nice amounts.

These things mean that eating more kimchi will likely help you feel fuller. In turn, this can help you eat less of foods that are not good for weight loss.

If this happens, kimchi will help you lose weight.

In two of the studies mentioned above where participants were divided into fresh kimchi vs fermented kimchi groups, both groups saw decreases in body weight (9, 10).

These are not the perfect studies to show this point but it does at least show it is possible to lose weight while eating kimchi.

Do keep in mind that you still have to make the other changes mentioned above.

If you just eat more kimchi it will still not be fattening but you will likely not see many weight loss results either.

Additionally, make sure you consume enough other nutritious foods too. Kimchi does not contain enough of all the nutrients you need to lose weight in a healthy way.

Lastly, kimchi contains a good amount of sodium. If you already eat a lot of this, you may want to keep an eye on your kimchi portions.

How much kimchi should you eat per day for weight loss?

By now you likely understand that kimchi can help you lose weight. In turn, you may wonder how much you should eat per day for weight loss.

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this. Different bodies and diets have different needs.

When in doubt, you can start with a small portion like 10 grams of kimchi a day. If that goes well and you like its taste, you could consider making your kimchi portions bigger over time.

Again, keep in mind that kimchi does not contain all the nutrients you need. Make sure you still have enough hunger for foods that do contain these nutrients.


Why does kimchi help you lose weight?

Kimchi can help you lose weight because it makes you feel fuller without adding a lot of energy to your diet. Additionally, the probiotics, vitamins, and minerals may offer tiny positive effects in this area too.

Is it OK to eat kimchi every day?

For many people, it will be OK to eat kimchi every day. You do want to keep in mind that this dish contains decent amounts of sodium. Additionally, human bodies can be very different so there are no guarantees.

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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.