Can You Eat Edamame on a Low Carb Ketogenic Diet?
edamame keto

Is Edamame Keto-Friendly?

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You’ve probably seen edamame served as an appetizer at some restaurants, especially Chinese or Japanese eateries. It’s a delicious snack served in its peapod form. 

Edamame is usually boiled or steamed in salt water and served up as a salty pre-meal snack. It’s also added to many dishes. 

Despite being a soy-based food, edamame is relatively low in net carbs due to its high fiber content. This has some low-carb dieters wondering whether or not they can safely add it to their diet

We’ve discussed eating soy on a keto diet before, but this article discusses edamame exclusively and whether or not it’s a keto-friendly food. 

What is Edamame?

Edamame is the name for boiled green soybeans still in their pod. Most of the time, you would eat soybeans after they have been taken out of the pod and turned into some other dish, such as tofu or tempeh. But edamame encompasses the bean pod, too.

By definition, edamame is made from immature soybeans that do not contain any alkaloids. They have a similar nutritional value and taste as immature green peas (1). 

You can cook edamame by boiling them in their peapods and then coating them in salt. You could also steam them, bake them, or fry them. Salt is optional, but it makes them taste much better! You could also add other spices to them, too. 

Edamame is often served as an appetizer at restaurants. They’re a great high protein and high fiber snack. However, soy remains a controversial topic on the ketogenic because it’s a legume.

Soybeans fall into the same category as beans, lentils, green peas, and chickpeas. Traditionally, these foods contain too many carbs to be eaten on a low-carb diet, but edamame is lower in carbs than other soy products due to its high fiber content. 

Nutrition Facts

Edamame is often eaten fresh, but you can buy frozen edamame at the store and then boil it at home. It’s easy to prepare, contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, and makes a great high protein and high fiber snack.

Here is the nutritional information for a 100-gram serving of edamame (2):

  • 121 calories
  • 5.2 grams of fat
  • 8.9 grams of carbs
  • 5.2 grams of fiber
  • 3.7 grams of net carbs
  • 11.9 grams of protein

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin C: 6.1 mg (10% RDV)
  • Vitamin E: 0.7 mg (3% RDV)
  • Vitamin K: 26.7 mg (33% RDV)
  • Thiamin: 0.2 mg (13% RDV)
  • Riboflavin: 0.2 mg (9% RDV)
  • Niacin: 0.9 mg (5% RDV)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (5% RDV)
  • Folate: 311 mcg (78% RDV)
  • Pantothenic acid: 0.4 mg (4% RDV)

Minerals:

  • Calcium: 63 mg (6% RDV)
  • Iron: 2.3 mg (13% RDV)
  • Magnesium: 64 mg (16% RDV)
  • Phosphorus: 169 mg (17% RDV)
  • Potassium: 436 mg (12% RDV)
  • Sodium: 6 mg 
  • Zinc: 1.4 mg (9% RDV)
  • Copper: 0.3 mg (17% RDV)
  • Manganese: 1.0 mg (51% RDV)

Is Edamame Okay To Eat On Keto?

At only 3.7 grams of net carbs per serving, edamame is one of those foods that land in the grey area of low-carb dieting. You could enjoy edamame in moderation on a low-carb diet, but you would have to keep your serving size to a minimum. 

Edamame is not a keto-friendly food for strict keto dieters. First, it’s a legume and these are off limits on a keto diet plan

Many people avoid legumes simply because they are hard to digest. They also contribute to inflammation and digestive issues in some people. 

Research shows that legumes contain anti-nutrients that bind to the digestive tract and inhibit the absorption of several minerals (3). 

Additionally, at 5 grams of net carbs per serving, you wouldn’t be able to eat much before reaching your daily limit of 20 grams of carbs. 

Keep in mind that there are better ways to get your carbs in if you’re on a strict keto diet. Low-carb veggies such as kale and spinach contain just as many nutrients as soy with fewer calories and carbs. 

Edamame is a good option for vegan or vegetarian keto dieters because it is completely plant-based. 

We recommend replacing edamame with low-carb veggies from this list here


Conclusion

Edamame is a snack that consists of boiled green soybeans still in their pod. They are served at many restaurants as an appetizer. You can also buy them frozen or fresh at most grocery stores and prepare them at home. Most edamame is covered in salt for a yummy snack.

The problem is that soy is a controversial topic on the low-carb diet. Most soy foods are off limits because they contain too many carbs. Soy is also a legume, which contributes to inflammation and digestive issues in the body. 

With a relatively low amount of net carbs per serving, you could eat edamame in moderation on a low-carb diet, but not on a strict keto diet. We recommend getting your carbs from better sources of low-carb vegetables such as kale and spinach.

However, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian keto dieter, then you might be able to add edamame to your diet in moderation unless you have problems with soy. Just be sure to keep your portions down and incorporate lots of other food sources of fat in your diet to stay in ketosis!

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Featured image credit: karissaa/ depositphotos.com

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