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Is Lettuce Keto-Friendly? (& Alternatives)

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

Lettuce is a popular type of leafy green vegetable available all around the world. You can eat lettuce raw on its own, as part of recipes like salads, or even as a keto-friendly wrap or burger patty.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw lettuce is between 1.1 and 2 grams per 100 grams depending on the type of lettuce.

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

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 lettuce

One challenge with the name lettuce is that there are different types of lettuce with slightly different nutritional details. In the table below you can find the number of carbs in butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and iceberg lettuce (2, 3, 4, 5).

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

While possible depending on the other foods in your diet, it is unlikely that the 1.1 to 2.0 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of raw lettuce are enough to kick you out of ketosis.

Whether or not lettuce is keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in lettuce

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

100 grams of raw green leaf lettuce contains the following nutrients (4):

  • 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.

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

Alternatives for lettuce on keto

Lettuce is not the only option when you want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet. While lettuce is relatively low carb, there are other vegetables that are also keto-friendly.

Some of the following vegetables may be good alternatives to lettuce on the keto diet. These are the net carb values 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

If you don’t like lettuce for whatever reason but still want to eat vegetables on a ketogenic diet, you can choose some of these alternatives to lettuce.

What is your goal with keto?

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