Pickles are an incredibly popular condiment and side dish among keto dieters. They add a tangy crunch that makes them perfect for both snacking on and for adding to your keto sandwiches and burgers. But are pickles keto? Are they good for you? Let’s take an in-depth look and find out.
What Makes Pickles a Popular Choice for Low Carb Diets?
There are many reasons why people on low carb diets love to eat pickles. Here are just a few of them:
- Pickles are incredibly flavorful, but low in calories and low in carbs (a single pickle has about 4 calories and about 0.8 grams of net carbs).
- Pickles contain essential vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting antioxidants
- Pickles are perfect for healthy snacking; tangy, crunchy, and full of flavor.
- Whether as a condiment or a side dish to your main, pickles add a flavor punch that can’t be beat given its low calorie content.
- It’s easy to make your own keto-friendly pickles.
Are Pickles Keto?
Pickles can be a 100% keto-friendly food. There are a couple of types of pickles that are indeed keto, and then a few others types that contain too many added sugars to be viable for the keto diet.
With that being said though, everyone is different – some people may limit themselves to 10 grams of daily net carbs while doing keto, while another individual may feel better eating as many as 50 grams per day.
In general, so long as you’re eating them in moderation (as with most foods), there’s no reason why anyone following the keto diet can’t enjoy pickles.
The Best Type of Pickles for the Keto Diet
We mentioned that certain types of pickles are definitely considered to be more keto-friendly than others. The two main types of pickle that are of particular interest for keto dieters are:
- Dill pickles
- Sour pickles
Alternatively, many people also like to make their own keto pickles from scratch – all you need are cucumbers, water, vinegar, and salt.
Good Keto Pickle Recipes
Pickle Nutrition Facts
Keeping in mind that you should be eating either dill or sour pickles, and because they both share such a similar nutrient profile, here is the nutritional breakdown for a 100 gram serving size of pickles:
- 11 calories
- 0.2 grams fat
- 0.3 grams protein
- 2.3 grams net carbs
- 1.2 grams dietary fiber
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 1208 mg sodium
- 23 mg potassium
Health Benefits of Pickles
Pickles don’t just taste great – they’re actually pretty good for you as well. Here are 3 health benefits you can gain by including pickles in your diet:
- Replenish electrolytes. Provided that you aren’t dealing with hypertension or another condition that would require you to limit your sodium intake, pickles can be a great way to replenish electrolytes for keto dieters thanks to their sodium and potassium content. Dehydration can be common in many first time keto dieters as their body adjusts to losing water weight, which makes electrolytes even more important. (1)
- Source of essential nutrients. Pickles also provide you with a good mix of other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
- Good for gut health. Some brands of pickles are fermented (as opposed to the more common method of soaking in vinegar brine), which makes them a good source of probiotics. Probiotics are well known for their beneficial gut health properties, such as increasing the number of ‘good’ bacteria found in your gut.
- Protects against disease. Last but not least, pickles are also an excellent source of disease fighting antioxidants. It’s essential to include antioxidant-rich food in your diet to help protect against harmful cellular damage caused by free radicals. Left unchecked, this cellular damage can contribute to the development of various types of disease, such as cancer. (2)
What Are the Best Keto-Friendly Pickle Brands?
As mentioned above, we’re going to want to avoid anything with added sugars or flavorings that contain carbs. For these reasons, keep an eye out for brands that have “no sugar added” variants, to ensure that you’re getting the lowest carb variant as possible. Here are some brands:
One & Only Salad Dressings Bread N’ Butter Pickles – These pickles come sliced, so you can ensure that each bite is packed full of that salty-sour flavor, and is convenient to add on top of hotdogs, burgers or salads.
Pickerfresh Kosher Petite Dills – With pickles, the crunch factor is certainly something to consider, and Pickerfresh’s petite dills don’t disappoint.
Vlasic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears – Cut lengthwise, this crunchy pickle is an old classic that pairs well with your favorite sandwich.
Keto Pickle Alternatives
It’s admittedly rather difficult to find direct substitutes for dill or sour pickles in many keto recipes. Any other type of pickle usually has too much added sugar to make it viable for keto dieters.
However, one good alternative method you can try is to either use fresh (or even dried) dill weed in your meals. You can also simply try to make your own pickles from scratch to be sure that they’re keto-friendly.
Pickled versions of these vegetables may work too:
(Learn more: Is Kimchi Keto?)