Low Carb

Low-Carb Vegetables– the Best and the Worst

What low-carb vegetables are good? There’s a very simple rule:

  • 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.

Above ground

All numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).1
Low-carb vegetables

Below ground

Low-carb vegetables growing below ground

All numbers represent the percent of net carbohydrates.2 This means that a hundred grams (3.5 ounces) – the weight of an average tomato – of any vegetable will contain this number of grams of carbs.

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

Carbohydrates in 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

Grains, sugar, starches.

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

Meal plans

Low Carb in 60 seconds


Improve this page

Do you have any suggestions – big or small – to improve this page?
Anything that you’d like added or changed?
Please comment below or e-mail me at andreas@dietdoctor.com.

  1. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fibre.

  2. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fibre.

1 2 3


  1. Geraldine Denise
    + The fact that there IS a recipe for a Turnip Gratin or something in the recipe section but it's not listed in the underground veggies. As is not Radishes. Strange as both are widely consumed, although Parsnips don't exist in Brazil, nor do Kohlrabi.
  2. Geraldine Denise
    Depends on how many carbs you've been consuming , it takes me +/- three days after a complete lunch out , having dessert. But you might take as long as a week or more. You'd do well to measure your ketones.
  3. zed
    How do carrots fit in and fruit yougart as a ocas sweet
  4. Emilio
    tomato its a fruit ;)
    Reply: #112
  5. MissusH
    Good basic primer. But, you'd better serve your blog readers by learning about, understanding and sharing information about glycemic LOAD.

    Again, good basic primer. Start simple!

  6. Ian G
    Yes, I am also very curious. It makes a great sub for sweet potatos...but I cant tell how much is ok.
  7. Pia K
    What about pumpkin seeds ? And what would you recommend for something chewy. I like some chewy dried breads but I guess that is out. Unfortunately I don't like chewy meat.
  8. christine Bowater
    Chris from Australia
    love your program and all the information you give to help me loose weight. I have believed for a long time low carb is the best program to follow. I like to count my carbs so that I don't go over board, and I would like to have a better idea of the net grams in food ( like a food counter) so that I can keep count of the foods I am preparing for the day. Thank you.
    Reply: #114
  9. Jeanie S
    It would be nice if all the questions would be answered. There is much valuable info to be gained from them. Many are trying to decide if this would be good for them. Is there a problem with older individuals using this method to loose wt.?
    Reply: #110
  10. Hi Jeanie!

    Sorry, we don't have the resources to answer all the questions. Hopefully other readers also will assist in answering. :)

    No it's not a problem for older individual to follow LCHF. But it's even more important for elder people to ensure that they get all needed micronutrients so avoid eating an one-sided diet.

    It would be nice if all the questions would be answered. There is much valuable info to be gained from them. Many are trying to decide if this would be good for them. Is there a problem with older individuals using this method to loose wt.?

  11. Jenny rangihuna
    Hi I am 74 and have been following LCHF for
    6/7 mths now. I have followed all the guidelines
    But not totally, well guesses as to amounts rather than exact! My BP has gone down (still going down) my bloods have gone down and I've gone from 89k to 691/2ks. The most amazing thing is I have lost my craving for sugar which I have had as far as I can remember! 1 also feel more energetic, fitter and happier! Hope this helps with whether it's suitable for us older people, many thanks to the diet Dr. and Dr Mae!
    Also all the people out there with ideas and inspiration.
  12. Pedro
    As well as avocado, bell pepper or olives are. They probably discriminate on the basis of sweetness, that's why pineapple here is a fruit, not a flower.
  13. Himanshu Agnihotri
    Tons of information and available Free!! What more can we ask.
    Just starting on LCHF I find this makes good sense and motivating.
    Great effort. Much appreciated!!
  14. Matt
    Try the " my keto" app excellent macro counting tracker. I love it
  15. mariam
    Thanks for sharing us about low carb
  16. Ken
    What about green beans? Thanks
  17. Antonio Crane
    I'm just finding this site and want to start this on Sunday. Can you tell me how many grams of fat and protein I should be consuming a day? I want to make sure I consume enough fat and not over consume on the protein.
    Reply: #118
  18. Hi Antonio!

    Rule of thumb:

    0- 30 gram carbs
    Approx. 1 gram protein per kg target body weight
    As much fat needed to feel full.

    Good Luck! :)

  19. Chris
    I bought some sugar-free hard candy!! 5 small pieces I was to find had 14 carbs! Be very careful!!
  20. Cynthia
    What about Pumpkin? Is that permitted at all?
    Reply: #121
  21. Hi Cynthia!

    Pumpkin is a bit like Rutabaga (Swede) when it comes to the carbs, so it's not so bad at all. :)


    What about Pumpkin? Is that permitted at all?

  22. Richard Conolly
    I have a question about counting the carbs. Do you minus the fiber and that's your digestible carb number?
    Reply: #123
  23. Yes! :)

    I have a question about counting the carbs. Do you minus the fiber and that's your digestible carb number?

  24. Alex Martin
    I am reading about the ketogenic diet and taking my first steps to adapt myself. Others around me are not supportive. Obviously, the diet does not eliminate carbs and encourages consumption of above ground veggies as primary source, protecting dieters against digestive issues related to a lack of fiber. Is the diet is healthful for the liver and stated that having the body use fat as its source of fuel puts a lot of strain on the liver and our bodies naturally want to first use carbs which are abundantly available and have been used for thousands of years, with only a very recent spikes in health issues like heart disease and cancer. Not that those diseases did not exist way back when, but even advocates of the diet admit that rates of these diseases are skyrocketing nowadays. Also, I told her the body can't convert fructose into glycogen and the liver must convert it into fat before the body can use it as fuel. Logically, if energy from fruit is only available as fat, having a adapting to use fat as fuel, then it stands to reason that a person can use fat converted from fruit to fuel the body. This raises the question: why limit fruit in the ketogenic diet if it supports the body's adaption to use fat as fuel?
1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Reply to comment #0 by