Sauerkraut is a delicious and unique fermented food that is used in many parts of the world. Many people consume it and use it in different ways. Apart from its unique taste, the fermented cabbage also has many health benefits- mostly related to gut health.
Therefore, people also consume it specifically for its health benefits, as well as for its flavor. That contributes to this fermented vegetable being versatile. However, when you are on the keto diet, you need to be really careful about every food you consume! Consume just a little too much carbs- and it will kick you out of ketosis.
So, it is understandable why you would want to know if this unique, fermented, and versatile food will kick you out of ketosis. Can you have sauerkraut on the keto diet or is it too high in carbs? Keep on reading to find out!
What is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut or sour cabbage is a fermented raw cabbage that is usually cut into small, fine pieces. The fermentation process is done with the help of lactic acid bacteria. The lactic acid bacteria in the cabbage result in a product with a sour, distinctive flavor and long shelf life.
This fermented vegetable product is popular in Germany, where it is one of the best-known national dishes. However, Germany is not where this dish originates. The practice of fermenting vegetables, including cabbage, dates back to the building of the Great Wall of China- which started in the 7th century.
So, this dish most likely originates in China more than 2000 years ago, and it was transmitted to Europe by the Tartars. In Europe, people started using it mostly in Central and Eastern European cuisines, but later it also spread to the Netherlands and France.
Today, this dish has many different names depending on the region, but it is essentially the same fermented or sour cabbage. People all around the world consume this fermented dish for its unique taste, long shelf life, and its many health benefits.
How is Sauerkraut Made?
People and brands make this dish by the process of pickling called lactic acid fermentation. The process of lactic acid fermentation of cabbage is done similarly to how kimchi or pickled cucumbers are made.
While you could buy this dish in the nearest grocery store, you can also easily make it yourself. That way, you control what you add to it, and you can be sure that it does not have any additional additives and preservatives.
To make sauerkraut, first, you need to shred the cabbage finely. Then you need to add salt in a few layers and then leave it to ferment in an air-tight container. The lactic acid bacteria- called lactobacilli are naturally present in the environment where cabbage is grown, and on its leaves. So, there is no need to add bacterial cultures.
For the lactic acid fermentation process to be completed completely, and correctly there is something you must do. You need to leave the container in a cool room. The ideal temperature is 15 °C or 60 °F, or below.
Sauerkraut Nutritional Facts
Below, you can see the nutritional information on 100 grams of sauerkraut. Keep in mind that some brands add additives and preservatives to their product. (*)
|Total Carbs||4.16 grams|
|Net Carbs||1.36 grams|
Sauerkraut health benefits
This sour finely shredded cabbage is very nutritious, and it offers many health benefits. The reason it has so many health benefits is that it undergoes the process of lactic bacteria fermentation. During this process the microorganisms- lactobacillus consume the sugar in the cabbage.
That process of fermenting the cabbage creates conditions that promote the growth of healthy probiotics, similar to yogurt and kefir. Probiotics are gut-beneficial microorganisms that make food more digestible and help absorb certain nutrients such as some vitamins and minerals (like iron). (*) (*)
Probiotics like those in sauerkraut also have a protective role- they are at the first line of defense against toxins and other harmful bacteria. They can restore, balance, and improve the gut microbiota after the use of antibiotics. These beneficial microorganisms can also help improve or prevent antibiotic-caused diarrhea and diarrhea caused by other microorganisms. (*) (*) (*)
Studies also show that probiotics help reduce constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea. Probiotics also have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. As well as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. (*) (*) (*)
There is also research that scientists did that shows that cabbage and sauerkraut juice may have anti-cancer properties. They came to that conclusion because it can cause a reduction of expression of the cancer-causing genes in some people. (*) (*) (*)
Additionally, sauerkraut is also high in sodium, which is significant if you are on a low-carb or a keto diet. Consuming enough salt or sodium at the beginning stages of your keto journey will help prevent an electrolyte imbalance. Which can also help prevent or lessen the side effects of the keto flu.
Can You Eat Sauerkraut On Keto Diet?
When you look into the table of nutritional information and the sections above, you can see that this food is highly nutritious, yet low in calories. However, it is not just low in calories, but also in carbs. Because the lactobacilli consume the sugars from the raw cabbage and ferment it, this food has few carbs left in it.
In 100 grams, it contains just 39 calories, approximately 1 gram of protein, 2.6 grams of fat, 4.2 grams of total carbs, out of which 2.8 are fiber. That leaves it with only 1.4 grams of net carbs. That amount of net carbs can be consumed on almost every diet, including the low-carb and strictly keto diet.
Additionally, this dish offers many benefits to your health. It contains probiotics that help your gut microbiota to stay healthy and balanced. And, probiotics also help fight toxins and harmful bacteria.
So, to answer the most important questions- Can you have sauerkraut on the keto diet?. The answer is YES! You can have this unique, delicious, and healthy fermented dish on a low-carb or even a STRICT keto diet. It has numerous health benefits, it is naturally processed, and it only contains 1.4 grams of net carbs.
Sauerkraut contains only 1.4 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.
YES! This dish is keto-friendly!
Sauerkraut or sour cabbage is a delicious fermented side dish or condiment that passed the test of time. Its origins are from around 2000 years ago in China. Today it is used all around the world, and different countries have different names for it. The name sauerkraut is from Germany, where it has become a national dish.
This food has many health benefits that come from the process of fermentation. The lactic bacteria cultures that are naturally present in the leaves and soil ferment the cabbage leaves. That creates an ideal place for beneficial bacteria to grow.
These beneficial bacteria are called probiotics. Probiotics help balance your gut bacteria and fight off toxins. They also help prevent and improve digestive tract side-effects of antibiotics, such as diarrhea or constipation.
The process of fermentation leaves sauerkraut with a minimal amount of net carbs. It only contains 1.4 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. That’s why it is a perfect addition to low-carb and keto diets.
See more: How many carbs in cabbage
*image by AndreySt/depositphotos