If you’re following a low-carb lifestyle like the keto diet, you have to be careful about which vegetables you eat. Find out if cabbage is keto-friendly.
Cabbage isn’t known as a crave-worthy food, but it stars in side dishes (coleslaw), entrées (like stir-fries), condiments (sauerkraut, kimchi), and social media famous foods (egg roll in a bowl, anyone?)
As someone following a keto diet, you may enjoy cabbage as a low-carb veggie that can add bulk and a bit of fiber to your meals.
Cabbage is considered a non-starchy vegetable. You can eat cabbage chopped, shredded, fermented as sauerkraut, or spiced and fermented as kimchi.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup of shredded raw cabbage contains:
Net carbs are a measurement that is roughly determined by total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols, according to Atkins. Net carbs are the amount of carbohydrates that are digested and thus affect blood sugar. (Keep in mind this is an estimate, though, as fiber and sugar alcohols are partially digested, according to the American Diabetes Association.)
Also note that net carbs aren't an official macronutrient (like carbs, fat, and protein), but people following a keto diet often use this number as a guide to help them stay in their carb range.
The answer to the question “is cabbage high in net carbs?” is no. Because there are 2 g of fiber in 1 cup of shredded cabbage, there are only 2 g of net carbs in cabbage.
Cabbage shares something in common with oranges, strawberries, and kiwis: vitamin C. “Cabbage is a great source of vitamin C,” says Diana Rodgers, RD, of Sustainable Dish in Concord, Massachusetts. One cup of shredded cabbage contains 26 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, as much as one-third of your daily need, per the National Institutes of Health.
Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of C, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Unfortunately, on keto you have to be careful when eating fruit. “Most fruit, with the exception of berries, are going to throw you out of ketosis. Including cabbage in your diet is a great idea,” says Rodgers.
Yes. Why is cabbage good for keto? “Cabbage supplies a nice amount of volume to a meal,” says Scott Keatley, RDN, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy in New York City. “Many times, you’re eating foods that are very dense, and cabbage can break up the monotony of your meals.”
One thing to keep in mind, says Keatley, is that cabbage in sauerkraut and kimchi is broken down by the fermentation process, and as a result, this packs more cabbage into a smaller portion. “Be careful of your portion size if you’re doing fermented dishes,” he says. These make for great garnishes to liven up meals.
Absolutely. Is cabbage low carb? Yes. Fresh cabbage supplies a small amount of fiber and vitamin C and is low in calories. If you choose sauerkraut or kimchi, you’ll also add some gut-friendly probiotics, research suggests.
Here are three keto cabbage recipes to try:
Cabbage is a low-carb, vitamin C–rich vegetable that fits well into a keto diet. Enjoy it raw in salads, cooked in main dishes, or fermented to add a pleasant funkiness to meals.
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