Eggplant is a popular vegetable that people use all around the world. This flashy, deep purple veggie has a unique flavor, yet it is versatile in the kitchen. People cook it in many different ways. Some of which are grilled, baked, fried, and they also use this veggie to make sauces, dips, and even salads.
However, when you are on the keto or a low-carb diet, eating everything you want is not so simple. You most likely have to check almost all foods you consume, especially if you are a beginner at this lifestyle.
So, naturally, you must be wondering if you can have eggplant on a keto or a low-carb diet or not. And, you are at the right place to get all your questions answered and more! Keep on reading!
What is Eggplant?
Eggplant or also known as aubergine and brinjal is a plant species that belongs in the nightshade family called Solanaceae. The scientific name for this plant is Solanum melongena, and people use it as a vegetable. However, botanically it is a fruit (berry). People cultivate the plant for its fruit all over the world.
Scientists have not determined the exact origins of the plant. But, they believe that the origins of this unique vegetable are in India, where it grows wild to this day. And, there is also prehistoric evidence of its existence in South Asia and Africa.
This veggie is a tropical perennial plant. Its stem is often spiny and its flowers are white to purple. They have a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens.
People have cultivated different cultivars of the plant. Each cultivar can produce fruit of different shapes, sizes, and colors. However, the vegetable is typically deep purple. Some other less common types of eggplants include Easter white eggplants, garden eggs, Casper, or white eggplant.
However, people today use the most widely cultivated varieties of eggplant cultivars in North America and Europe. They are elongated ovoid, broad vegetables with dark purple skin. These glossy, egg-shaped, and deep purple veggies have white flesh and a spongy, almost meaty texture.
People cook this vegetable in many different ways thanks to its variability. The most common ways to cook it are grilled, fried, baked, and even pickled. And, some cuisines use it to make sauces, salads, and dips. It is usually served as a side dish.
Eggplant Nutritional Facts
Below, you can see the nutritional information on 100 grams of raw eggplant and boiled with salt. Keep in mind that the nutritional information can change depending on what you add to it while cooking. (*) (*)
|Raw||Boiled with salt|
|Calories||25 kcal||33 kcal|
|Protein||0.98 grams||0.83 grams|
|Fat||0.18 grams||0.23 grams|
|Total Carbs||5.88 grams||8.14 grams|
|Fiber||3 grams||2.5 grams|
|Net Carbs||2.88 grams||5.64 grams|
Eggplant health benefits
This vegetable is low in calories. The reason it is so low in calories is its high water content which is about 90% in its raw form. Even though it contains a lot of water, it also contains a lot of beneficial nutrients. These nutrients make this veggie beneficial to our health.
It contains trace nutrients that play many important roles in our bodies. Some of them are manganese, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. There are also small amounts of niacin, copper, and magnesium.
An important role some of these nutrients have is their antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that our body creates because of environmental and other kinds of pressure. Antioxidants bind to these unstable molecules and disable them from doing any damage to cells. They prevent inflammation, many types of cancer, heart disease, and more. (*) (*)
Eggplant contains a class of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which include lutein, nasunin, and zeaxanthin. They give the vegetable its rich purple color, and they also play a protective role in cardiovascular health. (*)
In 2019 scientists published a review that concluded that those who consumed food with certain types of flavonoids, including anthocyanins. The results showed that those people had reduced inflammatory markers that increase the risk for heart disease. (*)
Another promising animal study showed that eggplant juice positively affected weight and cholesterol. Scientists noted a reduction of plasma cholesterol levels, weight, aortic cholesterol content, and concentrations of LDL cholesterol. (*)
The most significant health benefit this plant offers to keto, and low-carb dieters is its sugar-regulating property. That is because of their relatively high fiber content. Fiber helps control the levels of blood sugar by slowing down digestion. That causes a slower absorption of glucose, which prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes. (*)
Scientists did a test-tube study of phenolics in eggplant extract and discovered that these compounds could lower enzymes that cause hyperglycemia and help control blood sugar levels. (*)
Carbs in Eggplant
When you look at the table of nutritional information you will notice the low amount of calories that this vegetable has. The reason for this is its high water content- more than 90%. Yet, this unique veggie is one of the healthiest you can have. In 100 grams of eggplant, there are 25 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 6 grams of total carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of net carbs.
It contains strong antioxidant compounds that help prevent many diseases such as heart disease, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and more.
So, to answer the most important question- can you eat eggplant on the keto or low-carb diet? The answer is YES! It contains only 3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, so it is hard to overeat it and stop ketosis. It is also healthy and offers several health benefits. Another benefit is its versatile nature. You can cook it and eat it in so many different ways. You can boil it, bake it, fry it, pickle it, or make it into a paste for a dip or a sauce. It also goes well with meat and with other vegetables. So, it is a good addition to any diet, especially a low-carb or keto diet.
Per 100 grams raw eggplant has 3 grams of net carbs, while boiled eggplant with salt has almost 6 grams of net carbs.
Yes, eggplant is low carb and keto friendly.
Eggplant, or scientifically known as Solanum melongena, is a plant species that belongs in the nightshade family called Solanaceae. It is technically a fruit, more specifically a berry. However, people use it as a vegetable. This veggie is a large, elongated ovoid vegetable, with deep purple skin. However, there are also types with green, white, or black skin.
Its inside is white, fleshy, and with a texture similar to meat. People prepare this plant in various ways. They add it to stir-fries, pickle it, bake it, or grill it. People also make it into a paste and turn it into a sauce or a dip. People most commonly serve this vegetable as a side dish.
The vegetable has a high water content of over 90%, but it does not mean that it is not nutritious. On the contrary, it contains many nutritious vitamins, minerals, as well as fiber. It also contains substances that are strong antioxidants. They have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties, and also properties that prevent cardiovascular diseases.
This unique veggie is low in carbs, with only 3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams of raw eggplant. It also has chemical compounds that help control blood sugar. Therefore, it is a perfect fit for a keto or a low-carb diet!