Is Cabbage Keto Friendly? All You Need to Know About This Crunchy Veggie

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Is Cabbage Keto Friendly? All You Need to Know About This Crunchy Veggie

If you're trying to stay keto, cabbage is an absolute powerhouse. Learn the secret to this low-carb veggie, different varieties & how it can boost your keto diet.

carbs in cabbage

It’s no secret that eating your vegetables is good for you.

However, since veggies are limited on keto, you have to pick those that won’t put you of ketosis.

Today we’ll talk about one of the most versatile vegetables and whether you can eat it safely on keto or not: cabbage.

Let’s start with the basics: what is cabbage, exactly?

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What is Cabbage?

Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. You may see it in a variety of colors at the store or farmers’ market, although green cabbage is the most common.

Other veggies in this family include:

  • Bok choy
  • Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Swiss chard
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale

In its raw form, cabbage has a rubbery texture and a touch of pepper taste. Because it doesn’t have a strong flavor, it’s a popular ingredient in many side dishes and keto meals.

It’s used to make coleslaw, stir fries, soups and even as the star ingredient in lettuce wrap dishes. Red cabbage in particular is a great low carb substitute in your favorite rice-filled dish thanks to its crunchy texture.

Cabbage is abundant in several key vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays an important role in the proper function of the immune system[*].

Cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other low carb vegetables are also a rich source of vitamin K.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning your body will absorb it and receive its benefits better when consumed with a source of healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

Vitamin K is a key player in bone health, prevention of blood clotting, healthy brain function, proper metabolic function and has even shown promise in helping protect against cancer[*].

Along with being rich in vitamin C and vitamin K, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies are abundant in folate, vitamin E and many micronutrients.

Cabbage also contains high amounts of phytonutrients.

What are phytonutrients?

They’re the nutrients that protect plants from foreign invaders and give them their color, flavor and smell.They’re also incredibly good for you.

The phytonutrients found in red cabbage, such as sulforaphane, make this veggie a powerful fighter against inflammation[*].

Thanks to this high nutrient content, cruciferous veggies have been shown to:

  • Protect cells from DNA damage
  • Provide antiviral and antibacterial perks
  • Inhibit tumor cell growth
  • Offer protection against different types of cancer[*]

Types of Cabbage

Cabbage has different varieties with unique macros and health benefits. The most common are:

  • Green cabbage
  • White cabbage
  • Red (or purple) cabbage
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Napa cabbage

Green or white cabbage has about 27 calories for every 100 grams. These calories are made up of:

  • 5 grams of carbs
  • 0.2 grams of fat
  • 1.4 grams of protein

In comparison to green or white cabbage, red cabbage is not as tender because it takes longer to mature, although you can use them interchangeably in meals.

You do have to be careful when cooking purple cabbage in tap water or any alkaline liquids, as they will turn the red and purple color of the cabbage to a dull, blue color.


But no need to stress.

Adding lemon juice or another acidic substance to the cabbage should revert it back to its original color.

One cup of shredded red or purple cabbage contains a total of 22 calories, which are made of:

  • 0.1 grams of fat
  • 5 grams of carbs
    • 1.5 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of protein

One tender variety of cabbage is called savoy cabbage. While it looks similar to green cabbage, the leaves are a deeper green and a bit more crinkly.

Savoy cabbage contains a total of 19 calories per cup and its macronutrients look like this:

  • 0.1 grams of fat
  • 4.3 grams of carbs
    • 2.2 grams of fiber
  • 1.4 grams of protein

Napa cabbage is another popular variety. Unlike it’s fellow cabbage family members, it has a higher yellow saturation and milder flavor.

One cup of napa cabbage comes to a total of 13 calories, which has:

  • 2.4 grams of carbs
  • 0.2 grams of fat
  • 1.2 grams of protein

Does Cabbage Fit Into a Low Carb or Keto Diet?

You can safely eat all varieties of cabbage in your keto diet without worrying about your ketone levels.

Better yet, cabbage can provide many nutrients you may be missing on a low carb or keto diet, as you learned above.

When looking at the carb count of foods — vegetables in particular — it’s important to know the difference between total carbs, net carbs and fiber.

Those on a low carb diet looking for keto cabbage recipes should pay extra attention to this and focus mainly on net carbs.

Net carbs are considered non-impact carbs, meaning they have little to no impact on insulin levels and therefore won’t harm your state of ketosis.

How do you figure out how many net carbs are in a serving? Simply subtract the amount of fiber from the total carb count and there’s your answer. For instance, if one cup of cabbage comes to a total of 5 carbs but has 2 grams of fiber, then the net carb count would be 3 grams.

Make sense?

Since one serving of any type of cabbage has no more than 5 grams of overall carbs and less than 3 grams of net carbs, staying in ketosis is a non-issue.

When Should Cabbage Be Avoided on a Keto Diet?

Worried about consuming cabbage on a low carb or ketogenic diet? Nonsense.

Not only does cabbage lack any significant carbs (or calories in general), but it’s great for overall health.

This makes cabbage a great ingredient to incorporate during meal prep when you’re transitioning to ketosis.

Don’t love cabbage but want the health benefits?

There are multiple ways you can consume this low carb vegetable. You can try roasted cabbage, in a bowl of ground beef and sour cream or even making it an element in a dish like these keto egg rolls.

Luckily, with the abundant variety of cabbages out there today, there’s really no limit to what you could make with this keto friendly veggie.

So Is Cabbage Keto Friendly?

Cabbage is keto and low carb friendly since it contains less than 5 grams of net carbs per cup, which fits perfectly within the SKD carb limit of around 50 grams of carbs per day (sometimes less, sometimes more).

While there are some vegetables that contain a rather abundant amount of carbohydrates, cabbage (and most other green, leafy vegetables) are not one of them.

All the types of cabbage you see at the store or the farmers’ market are low carb and keto friendly.


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