Psyllium husk powder has become a popular supplement among followers of the ketogenic diet.
But is it actually keto-friendly?
What is Psyllium Husk Powder?
Psyllium husk powder is a type of soluble fiber derived from the outer coating of psyllium seeds. It comes from a plant called Plantago ovata. When psyllium husk powder is mixed with water, it forms a gel-like substance that has remarkable properties.
The main component of psyllium husk powder is a type of soluble fiber that absorbs water and expands to form a viscous gel. This gel-forming fiber makes up about 85% of psyllium husk powder. The other 15% is insoluble fiber that helps add bulk to stools.
Key Takeaway: Psyllium husk powder is a soluble fiber supplement made from psyllium seeds. It contains 85% soluble fiber that forms a gel when mixed with water.
Nutritional Profile of Psyllium Husk Powder
Here is the nutritional information for one tablespoon (10 grams) of psyllium husk powder:
- Calories: 35
- Total carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Dietary fiber: 7 grams
- Net carbs: 1 gram
As you can see, psyllium husk powder is very low in net carbs, which is calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs.
Almost all the carbs come from its high soluble fiber content. The net carbs make up just 4% of the total weight.
With only 1 net gram of carbs per tablespoon, psyllium husk powder fits nicely into a keto diet.
Health Benefits of Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder provides some excellent health benefits:
Promotes digestive health: The gel-forming soluble fiber in psyllium husk powder helps regulate bowel movements. It can relieve constipation by softening stools and improving regularity. It's also used to treat diarrhea by absorbing excess moisture in the colon.
Aids in weight loss: By promoting feelings of fullness and satiety, psyllium husk powder can support weight loss and appetite control. The fiber helps slow digestion, which prevents spikes in hunger.
Manages blood sugar: Soluble fiber like that found in psyllium husk powder helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of glucose from food. This effect can benefit those with diabetes or prediabetes.
Lowers cholesterol: The viscous fiber in psyllium husk powder has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It does this by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system and eliminating it from the body.
Key Takeaway: Psyllium husk powder provides benefits for digestion, weight loss, blood sugar control, and cholesterol reduction.
Using Psyllium Husk Powder in Keto Recipes
Aside from its health benefits, psyllium husk powder is a versatile low-carb ingredient that can be used to make delicious keto recipes.
Here are some ways to use psyllium husk powder when following a ketogenic diet:
- Baked goods: Add psyllium husk powder to recipes for keto bread, muffins, waffles, and more. It helps bind ingredients, adds structure, and creates a light texture.
- Pancakes and flatbreads: Adding a bit of psyllium husk powder to your keto pancake or flatbread batter creates fluffiness and improves the consistency.
- Pizza crust and wraps: Psyllium is excellent for making grain-free pizza crusts and tortilla wraps to use as bread substitutes for sandwiches or roll-ups.
- Thickening agent: Stir a teaspoon or two of psyllium husk powder into smoothies, shakes, soups, or stews to create a thicker, creamier texture.
- Binding agent: Use psyllium husk powder to help bind together veggie patties, fritters, meatballs, or nut and seed mixes. It works similarly to eggs or breadcrumbs.
When baking with psyllium husk powder, it's best to mix it with the dry ingredients first before adding the wet ingredients. This prevents it from forming slimy clumps. Always drink plenty of fluids when consuming psyllium husk powder as well.
Possible Side Effects of Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder is generally safe, especially when taken by healthy adults in moderate amounts. However, mild digestive side effects can occur if too much is consumed. Potential side effects include:
- Gas and bloating
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Choking risk if taking dry powder without enough liquid
To prevent issues, make sure to introduce psyllium husk powder slowly into your diet. Start with half a teaspoon daily and work up to higher amounts over several weeks. Always take psyllium supplements with plenty of water too.
As a general guideline, it's recommended to stay under 15 grams of psyllium husk powder per day. This equals around 1.5 tablespoons. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may also want to exercise more caution.
Is psyllium husk powder allowed on the keto diet?
Yes, psyllium husk powder is keto-friendly and can be included as part of a ketogenic diet. It contains mostly fiber with minimal net carbs, so it won't disrupt ketosis.
How much psyllium husk powder can you have per day on keto?
It's generally recommended to stay under 15 grams (around 1.5 tablespoons) of psyllium husk powder per day on keto diets. Consuming more may cause digestive issues.
Why do some people say psyllium husk powder isn't keto?
Some sources claim psyllium husk powder is not keto because it contains mostly carbohydrates. However, around 85% of those carbs come from dietary fiber. When you account for the high fiber content, the net carbs are very low.
Can psyllium husk powder kick you out of ketosis?
In most cases, the small amount of net carbs from psyllium husk powder does not impact ketosis or raise blood sugar levels. However, individuals vary in terms of carb tolerance, so monitor your response.
Is it OK to take psyllium husk powder every day on keto?
Yes, it is generally safe and beneficial to take psyllium husk powder daily on a keto diet. Just make sure to consume it alongside plenty of fluids and watch for any digestive discomfort. It’s best to start with small doses.
Psyllium husk powder is a versatile soluble fiber supplement with proven health benefits. Its high fiber content coupled with minimal net carbs makes psyllium husk powder a suitable addition to ketogenic diets.
When consumed in moderate daily amounts, psyllium husk powder can improve digestion, promote feelings of fullness, stabilize blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol. It also works nicely in keto recipes to improve texture and consistency.
Just be sure to introduce psyllium husk powder slowly, take it with plenty of fluids, and don't exceed 15 grams per day. Doing so minimizes the risk of adverse side effects. Within these parameters, psyllium husk powder can be an excellent keto-friendly supplement.