Low-Carb Vegetables– the Best and the Worst
- Vegetables growing above ground are low carb and can be eaten freely.
- Vegetables growing below ground contain more carbs, so you’ll have to be more careful with them (especially potatoes).
Like any rule it is not perfect, so have a look below.
All numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).1
E.g. one average tomato has about 3 grams of carbs. One whole cauliflower head weighs a lot more though, perhaps ten times more, and may thus contain about ten times 4 grams, i.e. 40 grams of carbs.
Note the clear difference between above ground and below-ground vegetables.
Vegetables with less than 5 percent carbs can be eaten relatively freely. If you’re on a not-too-strict low-carb diet (more than 20 grams per day) you can probably eat all you want of all these low-carb vegetables.
If you’re on a strict low-carb diet (under 20 grams a day) you may need to be a bit careful with some of the vegetables. You should probably be especially careful with peppers or tomatoes – these carbs quickly add up towards the 20 grams a day limit. Just one medium-sized pepper may contain 6-8 grams of digestible carbs.
Peas, corn, beans, lentils, quinoa
Peas, corn, beans, lentils and quinoa are not vegetables and contain more carbohydrates than vegetables. Be careful with them on a strict low-carb diet, eating them in very small amounts or not at all.
Most of these plant foods are not classified as vegetables but as grains or legumes. They are not good low-carb options.
Grains and pure sugar
Wheat is not a vegetable, it is a grain. And anything made with wheat flour contains lots of rapidly digested carbs. Avoid this as much as possible when on a low-carb diet. Whole-grain products are just less bad – it’s like cigarettes with filter.
Bread, pasta, rice, cookies etc. are not vegetables, and they are full of carbohydrates.
High fructose corn syrup – the sugary nutrient in soda – comes from plants (corn), but it is not a vegetable and it most certainly is not low carb.
Low-Carb Vegetable Recipes
Top cauliflower recipes
Cauliflower may be the most popular low-carb vegetable of all. Here are our top cauliflower recipes:
Top cabbage recipes
Cabbage is another very versatile low-carb vegetable. Here are our top cabbage recipes:
Similar low-carb guides
Complete low-carb food lists
How Low Carb is Low Carb?
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