The keto diet can be restrictive especially in the first stage when you’re trying to get into ketosis, but there’s usually some wiggle room for certain foods. Like onions. Are onions keto-friendly? Well, yes and no.
We already know the onion is a root vegetable (and we also know root veggies aren’t so keto-friendly) but they still can fit into your diet, albeit, safely.
Are onions keto friendly?
The short answer to that is no. Onions are not keto friendly. The average large onion contains 0g of fat, 14g of carbohydrates, and 2g of protein. That’s an awful lot of carbs. According to harvard.edu a keto diet really shouldn’t exceed 50 grams daily.
And let’s face it, trying to balance out 50 grams of carbs daily can be a bit tricky, especially if you want to indulge in tasty veggies like onions.
Some people take this limit even lower. Imagine trying to fit an onion into 20g of carbs daily!
Now the long answer to this question, can you eat onions on keto, is yes. You can. Carefully.
While onions have no real nutritional value when it comes to proteins and good fats, they definitely do come with some health benefits and a whole lotta flavor.
Some health benefits of onions
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least share with you the health benefits of onions. Regardless of the fact they aren’t completely keto friendly, you can still sneak some into your keto diet. Word of caution though, red onions have a slightly higher sugar count. If a recipe calls for red onions, add sparingly.
So before you discount onions all together from your daily diet, let’s look at some health benefits first.
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Can benefit heart health
- Help control blood sugar
- Can boost digestive health
Just to name a few! This article from healthline.com goes into great depth about the health benefits and why you should eat more onions.
You can see the onion isn’t totally evil and does come with some health perks. But how can we add this to a keto diet?
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Can you eat onions on keto?
We’ve already established that yes you can but they aren’t so keto friendly, so how do we work around that?
I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that if you are just starting your keto diet or perhaps restarting and not quite in ketosis yet, you should definitely stay away from onions or other questionable foods that are on the fine line of keto friendly foods.
While some foods are not entirely keto-friendly but still ok to consume moderately, if you are in the early stages of getting into ketosis, you must avoid them all and stay strictly with keto-friendly foods only.
That answers the no part, you shouldn’t eat onions on keto. Unless you’re in keto maintenance mode.
Are green onions keto friendly?
The one thing I love about onions is that they aren’t all created equal. Let’s take red onions for example. So many recipes call for them but they aren’t so keto friendly because of their high sugar content.
But what about green onions? Are green onions keto friendly?
A lot friendlier than all the other onions!
Not only that, they are also great for weight loss as they are an excellent source of soluble fibre which helps with belly fat. A few other health benefits of green onions are:
- High in vitamin K
- Excellent source of vitamin C
- High in fibre (helps you feel fuller longer)
- Protects your cells against damage
So not only are they safe to eat on keto but they are full of goodness too.
Keto substitutes for onions
Unfortunately, there is no healthy swap for onions on the keto diet like there is for potatoes (cauliflower) but you can choose a healthier option for onions.
A good keto substitute for red onions (though you obviously won’t get the same flavour) is green onions, also known as scallions. With so many recipes calling for onions, it would be a shame to not be able to eat any at all because of the keto diet.
Green onions can be used in just about any and every day, raw or cooked, but much easier to eat raw than other onions. And let’s not forget all the health benefits of green onions too!
So can you eat onions on keto?
Yes. In moderation and only if you aren’t trying to get into ketosis. Once you have already achieved ketosis state, though you don’t want to kick yourself out of it, it’s ok to introduce veggies like onions, in small quantities, to your favourite dishes.
Being on the keto diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavour, especially the deliciousness of onions, it just means you have to be a tad more careful when eating some of your favourite veggies.
Like everything else, moderation is the key to a healthy and happy life!