Are Pickles Keto? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Are Pickles Keto?

Pickles are cucumbers that have been put in brine and have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals but despite these benefits, pickles are a food that has been avoided by many people who follow a keto diet, but perhaps not for good reason.

Will Pickles Put You Out Of Ketosis? No, the chances that pickles would put you out of ketosis are very low because pickles are low in carbohydrates. If you’re consuming pickles in excess, then it could be something to consider; however, most people probably wouldn’t consume pickles in large enough quantities to affect ketosis.

To understand why pickles can be eaten while on the keto diet you need to know what benefits there are to including pickles in your meals, especially early on in the keto diet.

After reading this article you’ll learn:

  • How to eat pickles on the keto diet
  • Why it’s possible to eat pickles on the keto diet
  • Why there has been confusion about pickles and ketosis in the past
  • How pickles can enhance your keto-friendly meals

Pickles On The Keto Diet: Do Lectins Ruin Ketosis?

There has been some confusion in the past on whether pickles should be eaten on the keto diet because they contain a higher amount of lectins.

Lectins are a type of protein that binds to carbohydrates and are not digested by your digesting system. Lectins can pose issues for those who have a lectin sensitivity or have a compromised digestion system.

The confusion around whether pickles should be avoided or not while on keto comes from the misconception that lectins are “bad” for everyone and should be avoided. But, in reality, most individuals aren’t affected at all by lectins.

Lectins do not have any effect on ketosis itself, therefore there is no reason to be concerned about the lectin in pickles ruining your state of ketosis. If you aren’t in ketosis it’s because you’re eating too many carbs to facilitate the process and not because of lectins in pickles.

Why You Should Eat Pickles While On The Keto Diet (3 Reasons)

You should include pickles while on keto because they’re:

  1. Low In Carbohydrates
  2. High In Sodium
  3. A Flavour Enhancer

1. Pickles Are Low In Carbohydrates

The main reason that you should eat pickles while on keto is because they’re so low in carbohydrates, which makes it a food that you could eat regularly without worrying about messing up your ketosis.

One medium pickle contains roughly 7 calories with 1.5 grams of carbs and .8 grams of fiber. This means that one medium pickle has around .7 net carbs. Therefore, unless you’re eating around 30 pickles a day you probably don’t have to worry about pickles throwing off your ketosis.

2. Pickles Are High In Sodium

Pickles are especially good when starting the keto diet because they are high in sodium., which can help to fight off what many people call the keto flu.

The keto flu refers to the flu-like symptoms that some people experience when they first the keto diet. This can occur because of the amount of water that is lost when you drastically decrease your carb intake.

Water loss occurs because, with every gram of carb that you consume, you store 3 to 4 grams of water with it. So when cutting out carbs, you’re also losing all of the water that you have retained.

This is typically why you hear of people dropping 10 pounds in there the first week on keto. There is a possibility that some of this weight loss is related to reductions in body fat, but most of the changes in body weight being observed early on with keto are due to fluctuations in water retention.

The large fluctuation in water causes issues because it will also throw off your electrolyte balance. Sodium can help in this situation because it is one of the electrolytes that would be depleted with this shift in water retention, so consuming it in larger amounts could help reduce the electrolyte imbalance and reduce the effects of the “keto-flu”.

Along with the sodium in pickles, you will need to increase your intake of the other electrolytes – potassium and magnesium. I would suggest supplementing with an electrolyte powder when starting keto as it contains all the electrolytes you need to avoid the keto flu.

3. Pickles Are A Flavour Enhancer

Lastly, pickles should be a staple while on the keto diet because they easily enhance the flavour of your meals without adding too many carbs or calories.

This is an important factor to consider because if you’re not enjoying the food that you’re eating, then it will be harder to keep up with the keto diet.

If you can elevate your meals with flavour enhancers that make you genuinely enjoy the food that you’re eating, then you’re more likely to stick to the keto diet and achieve the results that you’re looking for!

Other Health Benefits Of Pickles If You’re On Keto

The other health benefits of pickles are:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Disease Fighting Potential
  • Reduced Muscle Cramps

Improved Digestion

Pickles are beneficial because they are fermented and therefore can help improve your digestion due to the probiotics that they contain. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that when consumed regularly can help to enhance digestion and absorption of the food you’re consuming.

Disease Fighting Potential

Including pickles in your diet also has the potential to reduce the risk of dying from certain diseases like heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease because of the amount of beta-carotene they contain.

Reduced Muscle Cramps

Lastly, pickles could help to relieve muscle cramps that you’ve been experiencing because of the electrolytes that they contain. After an intense workout when you’re dehydrated and your energy is depleted, reaching for pickles or pickle juice could be just what you need to prevent muscle cramps.

Keto-Friendly Pickle Recipes

Homemade Keto-Friendly Dill Pickles

To maximize the dose of probiotics you’re getting from pickles, it’s better to make them yourself! I’ve been loving the Fermented Pickle recipe from Feasting At Home because it’s easy, delicious, and keto-friendly!

Homemade Keto-Friendly Sweet Pickles

Typically sweet pickles aren’t the best for those on keto because of the added sugar, but the recipe from Resolution Eats uses sweetener to achieve the added sweetness that makes these homemade Sweet & Spicy Pickles delicious!

3 Best Keto-Friendly Brands Of Pickles

The top 3 keto-friendly pickle brands are:

  1. Vlasic Dill Pickle Spears
  2. Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Spears
  3. Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Pickles

Frequently Asked Questions

Are certain types of pickles better than others on keto?

Yes, dill pickles and kosher pickles will be better on keto than sweet pickles or bread & butter pickles because those varieties are more likely to have added sugar, which is a carb. There are however some homemade sweet pickle recipes made with sweetener, which would be keto-friendly.

Are certain brands of pickles better than others on keto?

Most brands of dill pickles will be similar if they’re dill pickles because they don’t contain any added sugars, but with sweet pickle varieties, there may be some brands better than others based on how much added sugar there is. If you enjoy sweet pickles, the best option is probably to make you’re own and use a sweetener instead of sugar.

Can you eat pickles on a low-carb diet?

You can eat pickles on a low carb diet because they help to enhance the flavor of your meals, they’re low carb, and they could help replenish electrolytes that are typically depleted when you first start the keto diet.

Final Thoughts

Pickles are an excellent option for those following a keto diet because they’re low in carbs, they enhance the flavour of your meals and they can be especially helpful when you’re first starting the keto diet and hoping to reduce the chances of experiencing the “keto-flu”.

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