Most vegetables are allowed on the keto diet. However, there are certainly some that you want to stay away from. Mostly you want to stick the keto staples such as leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. On the other hand, you want to avoid most of the veggies that grow underground like potatoes, carrots, and yams.
But what about cucumbers? Yes, I know that cucumbers are technically a fruit. However, most people think of them as vegetables. Either way, I get asked quite often about cucumbers on the keto diet. So let’s answer the question: Are cucumbers keto-friendly?
Simply put, cucumbers are considered keto-friendly? Though most of the calories in cucumbers are from carbs, it is loaded with so much water that you can have a fair amount while still keeping carbs low. In addition, cucumbers are highly nutritious and great for hydration.
That said, though cucumbers are keto-approved, they should still be eaten with some caution. After all, the keto diet is not simply a low-carb diet. It is a high-fat, moderate protein, and very low carb diet. Most people try and get about 70-75% of their calories from fats, 20-25% from protein, and just 5-10% from carbs on keto.
Since cucumbers are pretty much fat-free and mostly carbs, you need to make sure you do not overeat them on the keto diet. However, as previously stated, cucumbers are mostly made up of water so they are very low in calories. It’s because they are low in calories that they are also low in carbs. But just how many carbs do cucumbers have?
How Many Carbs Are In A Cucumber?
Though cucumbers are keto-approved, about 80% percent of its calories come in the form of carbohydrates. Since there are so few calories however it is still relatively low carb. One large (280 gram) cucumber contains about 42 calories, .3 grams of fat, 10 carbs, and 1.8 grams of protein.
Of those 10 carbs, about 1.4 grams are in the form of fiber. That said, one large cucumber contains about 8.6 net carbs. Most people on keto are trying to consume fewer than 25 net carbs per day. So you can quickly see that you do need to keep some limit on the amount of cucumber you eat on the keto diet. You probably would not want to eat more than half a cucumber in a day on keto.
In addition, cucumbers are also very low in dietary fats. Since keto is a high-fat diet, I would recommend eating your cucumber along with some fattier foods. For example, you could have a half cup of cucumbers dipped in 2 tbsp of keto-approved ranch.
One-half cup of sliced cucumbers has less than 2 grams of carbs and 2 tbsp of Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Ranch has zero carbs and 18 grams of fat. This tasty snack combo is loaded with over 18 grams of fat and has fewer than 2 net carbs! Of course, you can also enjoy some sliced cucumber over a salad and or with some olives and cheese.
Benefits Of Cucumbers
Cucumbers are loaded with nutrition and have a number of health benefits. One unique benefit is that cucumbers are very hydrating. In fact, about 95% percent of the weight of a cucumber is made up of water. Eating a cucumber after an intense workout has been shown to be very hydrating.
The mineral salts and vitamins in the cucumber help to aid in a faster recovery. That said, try adding a bit of cucumber after a long run or after a hard weight lifting session.
Vitamins And Minerals
Cucumbers are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain important B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. In addition, they contain many important minerals and electrolytes which are important to get when on the keto diet. These would include potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron to name a few.
Cucumbers contain a number of antioxidants including vitamin C and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are shown to slow down or prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. In addition, cucumbers also contain flavonoids and lignans that may also have benefits to your health by potentially reducing inflammation.
Why You Should Buy Organic Cucumbers
Cucumbers are on the list of foods that many call the dirty dozen. Though this dirty dozen does change from year to year, cucumbers are often found on this list. The department of agriculture found that these foods contained more pesticide residue than other fruits and veggies. Because of this, it might be wise to go organic when purchasing cucumbers.
Pesticides can potentially cause many negative side effects on your body. Though I am not an expert on the matter I do know that pesticides are designed to kill. The potentially reported risks of pesticides are in my opinion quite alarming. So personally I will try my best to avoid them at all costs.
As opposed to the dirty dozen there is also a list of fruits and veggies that are not as at risk for pesticides. That said, I am not saying you should buy everything organic. I mean that would be great if you can, but it is important to note that some foods are better than others to purchase organic. Since cucumbers often make the bad list, It is probably best to buy organic.
On a side note, cucumbers are one of my favorite things to grow in the garden. The only problem I have ever had is that they produce so much fruit. By growing your own you have more control over the quality of your cucumbers. My favorite cucumber to grow is the pickling cucumber because I can preserve them by turning them into pickles.
What About Pickled Cucumber On Keto?
Pickled cucumber or pickles are in my opinion a fantastic snack for the keto diet. This is especially true if you are just starting your keto journey. The reason is that pickles are loaded with sodium. Getting enough sodium when starting keto can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of the keto flu.
Though not really the flu, you may experience some flu-like symptoms when starting keto. This is because when you cut out carbs your body starts to drop a lot of water. This is one of the reasons people lose so much weight when they start keto. Of course, you often lose fat as well but you can expect a big drop in water weight your first week of keto.
When your body drops water you also drop electrolytes. Because of this, you may not feel too great until your body reregulates itself. This usually does not last long but by quickly replacing electrolytes like sodium this can be greatly reduced. By snacking on foods high in electrolytes or drinking an electrolyte drink the keto flu is not likely going to be a big issue.
Pickles are a great option for this because just one medium pickle c0ntains 785 mg of sodium. They also contain a bit of potassium as well. These two electrolytes are important on the keto diet and especially in the beginning.
One medium pickle contains roughly 7 calories with 1.5 carbs and .8 grams of fiber. This would equate to having about .7 net carbs per pickle. So unless you plan on having about 30 pickles, you can have a fair amount on a keto diet.
Cucumbers are fine to eat on the keto diet. That said, you still need to eat them in moderation to some extent. In addition, buy cucumbers organic if you can. In addition, try snacking on some pickles on the keto diet, especially when just starting out! If you are just starting your journey check out my article called the keto diet guide for beginners. I that article I go over all the basics for starting your keto journey.