Is Lettuce Keto-Friendly? (& Alternatives)

Photo of author
Last Updated On

Leafy greens are often good additions to ketogenic diets. Find out if lettuce is also a keto-friendly food option and what alternatives there are.

Raw lettuce contains around 1.1 to 2 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) per 100 grams depending on the type of lettuce you have in mind.

In theory, even small amounts of net carbohydrates like this can sometimes kick you out of ketosis.

That being said, it is fair to say that lettuce is typically very keto-friendly.

You can eat this vegetable raw on its own, as part of recipes like salads, or even as a keto-friendly wrap or burger patty.

Do keep in mind that there are also many other important nutrients that lettuce does not contain in sufficient amounts.

Besides that, you can also consider one of the other low-carb vegetables if you prefer these in terms of taste, texture, and/or nutrients.

Carbs in lettuce

There are actually a few different types of lettuce that vary slightly in terms of nutrition information and how keto-friendly they are.

In the table below you can find the amounts of carbs in butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and iceberg lettuce (1, 2, 3, 4).

Values Per 100gButterhead LettuceRomaine LettuceGreen Leaf LettuceIceberg Lettuce
Total Carbs2.2 grams3.3 grams2.8 grams3.2 grams
Of Which Fiber1.1 grams2.1 grams1.3 grams1.2 grams
Net Carbs1.1 grams1.4 grams1.5 grams2.0 grams
Chart of carbs in different types of lettuce

The differences in carbs between lettuce varieties do not only sound small.

While there are theoretical situations where they can kick you out of ketosis, these lettuce types are all very keto-friendly.

Other nutrition information lettuce

Being low in carbs is a good start but other nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals also still play a role in a keto diet.

These nutrients influence how good your general health will be and in some cases also influence whether you stay in ketosis.

100 grams of raw green leaf lettuce contains the following nutrients (3):

  • Calories: 15
  • Protein: 1.4 grams
  • Carbs: 2.8 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.3 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin K: 217% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 148% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 30% of the DV
  • Manganese: 13% of the DV
  • Folate: 10% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Lettuce is not just low in carbs. It also contains a variety of nutrients in nice amounts.

You will need other nutritious foods too but lettuce can be a great option for healthy ketogenic diets.

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

Why lettuce is often keto-friendly

Lettuce is often keto-friendly but there are a few exceptional situations. To avoid getting kicked out of ketosis in these situations, it can be helpful to quickly go over the ketogenic diet basics.

A keto diet is a way of eating where you lower your carb consumption enough to get into ketosis. Ketosis is a state where you mainly use fat as a fuel source (5).

Exactly how low your carb intake actually needs to be depends on details like your weight, genes, muscle mass, exercise habits, etc.

That being said, there are still rough keto guidelines. These are not perfect but can help you understand in what situations you want to be careful with lettuce on keto.

One of these typical guidelines is that you want to get 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.

This will often come down to consuming around 20 to 50 grams of net carbs a day.

An important thing to note is that you don’t include the fiber in lettuce and other foods in these amounts, even though it is a category of carbohydrates.

This is because your body deals with fiber in more keto-friendly ways.

What’s the best lettuce to eat on keto?

If you only look at net carbohydrates, you would say that butterhead lettuce is the best lettuce to eat on keto. It only contains around 1.1 grams of net carbs per 100 grams (1).

At the same time, it is worth noting that fiber in food reduces to what extent the other carbohydrates raise your blood sugar.

This makes it harder to estimate what lettuce will be the most keto-friendly in reality. It could even be possible that different types are better for different situations.

Is iceberg lettuce keto-friendly?

As mentioned above, iceberg lettuce contains around 3.2 grams of carbohydrates (including 1.2 grams of fiber) per 100 grams (4). This results in about 2 grams.

Since this amount of carbohydrates will typically not kick you out of ketosis, you can definitely say that iceberg lettuce is typically keto-friendly.

Is romaine lettuce keto?

Romaine lettuce contains around 1.4 grams of net carbohydrates which comes from 3.3 grams of total carbs minus 2.1 grams of fiber (2).

Again, this number of net carbohydrates is relatively low and will typically not be enough to kick you out of ketosis. That means romaine lettuce will generally be keto-friendly too.

Alternatives for lettuce on keto

Lettuce is one of the more low-carb vegetable options but many of these alternatives are still good enough for ketogenic diets.

You may prefer these other vegetables in terms of taste, texture, and/or nutrients or simply want to switch up the foods in your ketogenic diet.

The numbers next to these lettuce alternatives are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11):

  • Chicory: 0.9 grams of net carbs
  • Spinach: 1.4 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
  • Zucchini: 2.5 grams of net carbs

When it comes to when these lettuce alternatives are keto-friendly and in what amounts, the same keto principles from above apply.

That means they will almost never kick you out of ketosis but that there are some exceptional situations.

Why do you want to stay in ketosis?

Even keto-friendly foods like lettuce can sometimes kick you out of ketosis. In some situations, this is a big issue. In others, the consequences are not that important.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight and get healthier, lettuce will still be good even if it kicks you out of ketosis.

Ketogenic diets are typically not the only way to achieve these health goals.

On the other hand, there are also people who need/want to stay in strict ketosis every minute of the day.

These individuals should still be able to eat some lettuce but likely want to be careful about the other things they eat.

Does lettuce count as carbs on keto?

A big part of the small number of calories in lettuce comes from carbohydrates. That means you could count lettuce as a carb on keto. At the same time, the amount of carbohydrates in lettuce is still very low.

Related posts:

Photo of author


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.