Vegetables on Keto: What to include, what to avoid, and a FREE visual guide 

OLENA ISLAMKINA dug through a mountain of veggies to write detailed instructions on which veggies you can and can’t eat on keto. 

The simple veggie keto rule is: we eat what grows above the ground.

 It’s easy to live in a #proper nutrition world where everything is settled — oatmeal is good, lard is bad, fat-free cottage cheese is a food and lamb isn’t. It’s simple, but it’s not tasty or healthy. 

The keto diet is a healthy diet that assumes you’ve broken stereotypes and have a broad understanding of how your body works. And that means it’s difficult to come up with a consistent list of vegetables that are allowed on a ketogenic diet. 

Are nightshade vegetables bad for your health? 

The nightshade vegetables are:

  • Eggplant 
  • White potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams) 
  • Paprika 
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • Chili pepper (but not black pepper) 
  • Tomato 

Nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids (lectin, saponin and capsoicin), plants produce them to protect themselves against insects. Unfortunately, some humans are unlucky: eggplants make them sick, just as they do with a caterpillar. 

Alkaloids can impair neuromuscular and digestive function in animals and humans and adversely affect joint health. 

Nightshade vegetables contain low levels of alkaloids compared to nightshade herbs and cooking reduces levels of substances of concern by 40-50%. 

OVERALL: Nightshade veggies can cause problems for people struggling with autoimmune diseases. 

Some people just have a sensitivity to them. A simple way to tell if these foods are bad for you is to eliminate them for a few weeks to three months and then incorporate them into your diet one at a time and monitor your well-being. 

The vast majority of people have no problem with nightshades. All of these veggies are low in sugar, high in fiber, and can really spur the imagination of those who love to dream up keto recipes. The only exception are potatoes; but you absolutely shouldn’t be eating them on keto anyway. 

Tuber crops grow underground. Are They Banned From Eating On The Keto Diet? 

One of the most commonly grown groups of vegetables today. 

It contains:

  • Yam 
  • Potatoes 
  • Topinambur
  • Yacon 

These are just the types that grow underground, meaning they’re no comrades for most of those following the keto diet. They all contain starch, a polysaccharide that is broken down into glucose. 

OVERALL: If you don’t want to drop out of ketosis, if your goal is to lose weight, if you have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes or obesity, this vegetable group isn’t for you. 

Are root vegetables different from tuber vegetables? Are they blacklisted, too? 

We eat the part of the root vegetables that stores nutrients for the plant itself. 

These are:

  • Carrots 
  • Onions 
  • Parsnips 
  • Radishes 
  • Turnip
  • Beets
  • Garlic 

Most of the root vegetables are quite high in carbohydrates, so their consumption should be limited.

When cooked, carrots and beets slightly change the nutritional value, and the amount of sugar in them increases. The average amount of carbohydrates per 100 grams of root vegetables is 8-15 grams. 

The exception are radishes. They’re high in fiber and low in sugar. 

OVERALL: You can consume them, but in limited quantities, pay attention to the portion size and add them just as one of the ingredients when cooking, for example. 

So which vegetables are definitely allowed on the keto diet? 

You could memorize their names and make lists, but it also goes much easier: lettuce leaves are so low in carbohydrates that you can ignore them when creating a meal plan. 

Eat from the heart, from the soul: 

  • Basil 
  • Bok Choy 
  • Broccoli 
  • Mushrooms (not vegetables, but let’s not be too nerdy) 
  • Kale 
  • Zucchini 
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower 
  • Brussel sprouts 
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Cucumber 
  • Olives 
  • Rucola 
  • Salad greens (romaine, endive, iceberg, cherry, watercress) 
  • Celery 
  • Asparagus 
  • Squash 
  • Green Beans 
  • Spinach

We are here for you! We’ve made a visual guide. No more questions, what you can and can’t eat on the keto diet. We’ve checked carbs everywhere and make a clear summary.

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