Ketogenic diet focuses on shifting your body’s primary fuel usage from carbs (derived from sugars and starches) to ketones (derived from fats) through Ketosis. To achieve this state, the diet requires a complete restriction on the intake of carbs. Thus, it is essential you consume the right carbs that does not affect Ketosis. This article explores good sources of carbs for Ketogenic diet.

The only carbs allowed are the ones coming from non-starchy vegetables with GI or Glycemic Index score below 20. GI score represents a particular food’s impact on blood glucose level. Higher the score, higher the impact on blood glucose levels causing greater insulin activity in the body.

Insulin, known as the “storage” hormone, does not like to have the body’s stores depleted, and attempt to hoard as much nutrients as it can. This deters the breakdown of fat and shuts down Lipolysis (the pre-cursor to Ketosis). Subsequently, the body’s attempt to lose weight is halted.

This is the reason why insulin trigger foods including starchy vegetables with high GI, such as corn, peas, and potatoes, are highly limited on a low carb plan, and instead only low carb vegetables mentioned below are allowed under Keto Diet:

Very low carb-content:

  • Iceberg Lettuce: .1 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Green Onions: .1 per 1 tablespoon
  • Arugula: .2 grams per ½ cup
  • Romaine Lettuce: .2 grams per ½ cup
  • Spinach: .2 grams per ½ cup
  • Alfalfa Sprouts: .4 grams per cup
  • Chicory Greens: .6 grams per ½ cup
  • Radicchio: .7 grams per ½ cup
  • Hearts of Palm: .7 grams per 1 heart
  • Bok Choy: .8 grams per 1 cup/raw
  • Celery: .8 grams per 1 stalk
  • Radishes: .9 grams per 10 pieces
  • Endive: >1 gram per ounce
  • Escarole: >1 gram per ounce
  • Parsley: >1 gram per ounce
  • Black Olives (10 small, 5 large, or 3 jumbo olives): 1 gram
  • Cucumber: 1 gram per ½ cup sliced
  • Daikon: 1 gram per ½ cup
  • Mushrooms: 1 gram per ½ cup
  • Broccoli: 1 gram per 1/2 cup
  • Bamboo Shoots: 1.1 grams per 1 cup
  • Sauerkraut: 1.2 grams per ½ cup
  • Leeks: 1.7 grams per ¼ cup
  • Chard: 1.8 grams per ½ cup
  • Eggplant: 1.8 grams per ½ cup
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Low Carb-content:

  • Cabbage: 2 grams per ½ cup
  • Summer Squash: 2 grams per ½ cup
  • Cauliflower: 2 grams per 1 cup
  • Artichoke Hearts In Water: 2 grams per 1 heart
  • Turnips: 2.2 grams per ½ cup
  • Bell Peppers: 2.3 grams per ½ cup
  • Pumpkin: 2.4 grams per ¼ cup
  • Brussels sprouts: 2.4 grams per ¼ cup
  • Kale: 2.4 grams per ½ cup
  • Okra: 2.4 grams per ½ cup
  • Asparagus: 2.4 grams per 6 spears
  • Jicama: 2.5 grams per ½ cup
  • Onions: 2.8 grams per ¼ cup
  • Fennel: 3.6 grams per 1 cup

Moderate Carb-content:

  • Tomato (1 medium): 4 grams
  • Artichoke (1/4 Steamed): 4 grams
  • Cherry Tomatoes: 4 grams per cup
  • Collard Greens: 4.2 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Kohlrabi: 4.6 grams per ½ cup

Low carb vegetables

Going shopping? Make sure you keep the Ultimate Shopping List for Ketogenic Diet handy.

Are Starch Carbs And Sugar Carbohydrates Completely Off Limits?

Ideally, starchy and sugary foods should be completely avoided as they lead to hyper-insulinemia and chronically high blood sugar levels which may lead to deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and even nerve damage.

Refined sugars and sugary foods, a key constituent of our daily diet, does nothing more than raising our blood sugar levels and eventually turning into excess fat. It requires an exceptional amount of exercise and workout to get rid of these excess calories and fat.

The same is true for many supposedly “healthier” carbs, such as whole wheat bread, high fiber cereals, brown rice, and oats. Research has revealed that while these foods may include more nutrients, they can still lead to significant insulin triggers.

Find out how to stave off sugar cravings here.


To stay on Keto diet it is essential that you only stick to non-starchy vegetables for the low carb requirements of the body. Note that Keto diet is a way of living and not merely a diet program.

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If you are serious about weight loss and gaining the benefits of Keto diet, do ensure that you only stick to the mentioned list of vegetables for your daily source of carbs.

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