Are you wondering if edamame is a good food to eat on the keto diet? In this post, we will look into the nutritional information of edamame to determine if you can or should eat it on a low-carb diet, such as keto. Is edamame keto? Read on to find out.
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What is edamame?
Edamame is in the legume family, along with other beans. It is really immature soy beans that have been cooked. It’s most common to find edamame steamed or boiled, but may be prepared in other ways. This is traditionally a Japanese dish, but has become more popular world wide due to some of the health properties associated with it. Edamame is often used in stir fry and many vegetarian meals, but many times it is served on it’s own.
What makes a food keto?
The keto diet is low in carbs, high in fat, with moderate protein. In order for a food to be considered keto, in our opinion, it has to fit this macronutrient profile. The most important factor in determining if a food is keto is the net carbohydrate count, which is the number of carbohydrates minus the fiber in the food, since fiber is not digested and doesn’t have an impact on blood sugar.
The main goal behind keto is to keep your body in the state of ketosis, where you are using fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. This happens because your body can turn fat into ketones to use as energy when there is an absence of sugar or carbohydrates.
The idea is that the food that you eat on the keto should be food that will keep you in ketosis. Foods too high in carbohydrates can throw you out of ketosis.
Surprisingly, eating too much protein can also have in impact on ketosis, though it is less of an impact than carbohydrates. That is why fat should be the primary source of fuel for your body.
For keto, a common target is about 20g of net carbs per day. This can be slightly modified based on the dietary needs of each person, but 20g is a good evaluation point.
Is edamame keto?
To determine if edamame is keto, we need to look at the nutrient profile of the food. We’re going to use 1 cup of edamame without the shells. Edamame is typically intended to be eaten without the shells, but often it is cooked in the shell.
Edamame with the shells removed has has about 188 calories, 8g of fat, 18g of protein, and 14g of carbohydrates. If we subtract the 8g of fiber from the 14g of total carbohydrates, that leaves us with 6g of net carbohydrates.
6g of carbohydrates can certain fit into your daily carb allocation. Plus you get additional benefits from eating edamame.
Should you eat edamame on keto?
If you look at the macronutrient break down by percentage, edamame is probably fine to eat on the keto diet. In fact, it’s a pretty good choice when you want to add a type of vegetable to your diet. It’s a better fit for the keto diet than many other legumes.
Many keto dieters tend to neglect vegetables, sometimes in favor of things like processed meats. This can lead to difficencies in vitamins that require you to take keto vitamin supplements. Eating a food such as edamame can help reduce these deficits.
I used a 1 cup serving size in this article, because I feel that is a more realistic serving size that the average person would eat. However, if you reduce this to eating a 1/2 cup serving, then it will have an even lower impact to your net carbs for the day.
Keep in mind that the analysis is based on steamed or boiled edamame. Other methods of cooking could alter this. For example, some cooking methods may add carbohydrates, while other methods may increase the fat count.
What are some of the health benefits of edamame?
There are many benefits to eating edamame that help offset the net carb impact to the keto diet. The net carb impact itself is already pretty low, and you trade those carbs for a lot of good nutrients.
It’s a good source of plant-based protein
Edamame is soy, and soy is rich in protein. Eating protein can help you build and maintain muscle mass. This is important on the keto diet, event though the keto diet is not technically a high protein diet. A little bit of protein can still be good to eat on keto.
Plus, soy protein has been shown to be of the same quality as animal based protein, but is not associated with saturated fat.
Edamame reduces “bad cholesterol”
Eating edamame has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol, which we often refer to as the bad cholesterol. Reducing this blood marker has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It may help with depression
Edamame contains folate, which is required to generate DNA. Low folate levels as been linked to an increase in depression. Folate can help stop a substance called homocysteine from getting to high. Homocysteine can block serotonin in the brain, which is associate with a positive mood.
So eating edamame may be able to help lesson the symptoms of depression.
It has essential amino acids
Lysine, threonine, tryptophan, and leucine are considered to be essential amino acids. Edamame gas all of these. It actually has all of the essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein source.
It’s a great source of fiber
When you’re on keto, the lack of carbohydrates can often lead to a lack of fiber. This can cause issues in the digestive tract and lead to things like constipation. Eating fiber, like the fiber present in edamame, is an excellent way to keep your digestive health inline.
Edamame is packed with vitamins
In addition to folate, edamame has high concentrations of riboflavin, vitamin E, copper, zinc, magnesium, thiamine, potassium, and manganese. Plus it has good amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin k. These vitamins are important on any diet, especially keto.
It can help fight disease
The isoflavones in edamame can help to fight many diseases, even cancer. Isoflavones are an antioxidant that help to lower inflammation in the body. It can even help reduce the risk of stroke.
It can help with weight management
The fiber and protein content in edamame can help you to feel more full, or reduce your appetite. This can help you eat less and lose more weight. You should feel full for a longer period because of the fiber content.
Edamame is a great source of protein and fiber with a relatively low net carbohydrate count. It won’t have a huge impact on your daily carbohydrate limit or raise blood sugar significantly. Plus, edamame has many additional health benefits that make it hard to pass up as a good vegetable option on the keto diet.