Beetroot powder has become a popular supplement due to its many purported health benefits.
But an important question for those following a ketogenic (keto) diet is: is beetroot powder keto-friendly?
What is Beetroot Powder?
Beetroot powder is made by dehydrating beetroots and grinding them into a fine powder. It retains many of the nutrients found in whole beets, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary nitrates.
Beetroot powder is valued as a supplement because it provides a concentrated source of these health-promoting compounds. It has an earthy, slightly sweet taste and is used to add flavor, color, and nutrients to foods and drinks.
Is Beetroot Keto? Carb and Calorie Profile
To understand if beetroot powder is suitable for a keto diet, we first need to examine the carb and calorie profile of beets:
- Total carbs: A 3.5 oz (100 gram) serving of raw beets contains 9.6 grams of total carbohydrates
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Net carbs: 6.8 grams
- Calories: 43 kcal
So in their whole food form, while beets do contain a moderate number of carbs, the amount of fiber reduces the net carbs to an amount that could fit into a keto diet if portions are watched.
However, with beetroot powder, the fiber has been removed during processing. So the net carb count is mainly equivalent to the total carbs.
Net Carbs in Beetroot Powder
According to the USDA, one tablespoon (8 grams) of beetroot powder contains approximately:
- Total carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Net carbs: 7 grams
So beetroot powder, while nutritious, is not keto-friendly if consumed in larger doses. A few teaspoons may fit into some people's daily carb allowance on keto, but too much could easily knock them out of ketosis.
Key Takeaway: While whole beets contain fiber that reduces net carbs, beetroot powder has almost no fiber so net carbs = total carbs. In supplement form, beets provide too many carbs to be keto-friendly.
Benefits of Beetroot Powder on Keto
While excess beetroot powder can disrupt ketosis due to its high carb count, consuming small amounts may provide benefits on a keto diet. Some of these include:
Boosts Nitric Oxide Levels
Nitric oxide helps blood vessels dilate, which improves circulation and blood pressure. Levels of nitric oxide are often lower on keto diets. The nitrates in beetroot powder can help counteract this effect.
By supporting healthy circulation and oxygen delivery, beetroot powder supplements can enhance physical and cognitive performance. This can help counteract temporary drops in energy, brain fog, or athletic performance that some experience initially when transitioning into ketosis.
Powerful Antioxidant Effects
Beetroot contains betalain pigments, which function as potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in the body.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are common side effects of the keto flu. So beetroot’s antioxidant content helps relieve unpleasant symptoms as the body adapts to using ketones and fats for fuel.
Beetroot’s anti-inflammatory activity may also help ease joint pain, a common complaint as sugars and carbs are reduced substantially on a keto diet.
Beetroot contains phytonutrients called betalains, which aid phase 2 detoxification in the liver.
As old sugar and fat stores are unlocked and burned for energy on keto diets, the liver works hard to filter out accumulating toxins. Beetroot powder helps ease the liver’s detoxification burden.
By promoting regular toxin elimination via the liver and digestive tract, beetroot powder helps minimize complications from reintroducing toxins into circulation — like inflammation, headaches, brain fog, and skin breakouts. This helps ease symptoms of the “keto flu”.
So in small amounts, beetroot powder offers protective antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification benefits. This makes the transition into nutritional ketosis smoother.
Key Takeaway: While excess beetroot powder is not keto-friendly, consuming small amounts can mitigate side effects when transitioning into ketosis. Beetroot provides antioxidants to relieve inflammation and supports detox pathways.
Keto-Friendly Ways to Take Beetroot Powder
To gain benefits from beetroot’s nutrients without disrupting ketosis, consume it sparingly in these keto-friendly ways:
As a Natural Food Coloring
Use just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of beetroot powder in baked goods like keto bread, muffins, or fat bombs. This provides color without adding too many carbs.
In Keto Smoothies
Add just 1 teaspoon beetroot powder to keto smoothies along with greens, healthy fats, and protein powder. The earthy flavor blends nicely with chocolate or vanilla.
In Soups and Sauces
Stir 1-2 teaspoons of beetroot powder into broth-based soups, tomato sauce for meatballs, yogurt dips, etc. It enhances flavor and color.
Simply sprinkle just 1/4 teaspoon onto salads for a burst of color and nutrients. Pair with leafy greens, vegetables, eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds.
In Baked Vegetables
When roasting low-carb vegetables like cauliflower or zucchini, dust them with 1/4 teaspoon beetroot powder, salt, pepper, and oil. The beetroot beautifully colors the exterior.
So by creatively working this superfood powder into recipes in very small amounts - just 1/4 to 1 teaspoon per serving - you can gain nutritional benefits without disrupting ketosis.
Beetroot provides so many health benefits that finding ways to incorporate it can markedly improve energy levels, exercise performance, cognitive function, and overall well-being while following the keto diet.
Key Takeaway: Enjoy the benefits of beetroot powder on keto by using tiny amounts - 1/4 to 1 tsp - to color and enhance low-carb baked goods, smoothies, soups and veggie side dishes.
Alternative Low-Carb Vegetables to Beets
If you wish to avoid beetroot powder and whole beets when following a keto diet, consider these low-carb vegetable alternatives:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale
- Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, arugula
- Summer squash including zucchini and yellow squash
These non-starchy vegetables contain far fewer carbs than beets, ranging from about 1-9 grams of net carbs per cup.
So they can be enjoyed liberally in larger portions as part of a healthy, nutrient-dense keto diet.
Are pickled beets keto-friendly?
No, pickled beets are very high in carbs and sugar so should be avoided on keto. One cup contains a whopping 26 grams of net carbs, which far surpasses a typical daily allowance.
Can you drink beet juice on the keto diet?
Unfortunately, beet juice is also too high in carbs for keto diets. Just one 8-ounce serving of beet juice has 21 grams of net carbs - more than half of a typical day's allowance.
So drinking vegetable juices is one of the things you need to eliminate on low-carb, high-fat diets.
Are the greens of beets suitable for a keto diet?
Yes! The leafy beet greens are very low-carb and keto-friendly. One cup of raw beet greens has under 1 gram of net carbs.
The greens are also highly nutritious - rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. So enjoy beet greens cooked or raw without guilt!
While beets themselves contain too many carbs to be included liberally on a ketogenic diet, beetroot powder can be safely used in tiny amounts to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detox benefits.
Consuming 1/4 to 1 teaspoon beetroot powder per serving by adding it into keto recipes creatively enables you to gain nutritional value without disrupting ketosis.
So enjoy experimenting with small amounts of this superfood supplement to ease symptoms, enhance performance and support your health goals while following a keto diet.