tempeh keto

Can You Eat Tempeh On Keto Diet?

These days people are using soy products more and more. And, tempeh is one of those products. It has become one of the favorite dishes among vegans and vegetarians as it is one of few fantastic meatless options. It is typically used as a great substitute for meat because it is rich in protein. 

It is a fermented soy product, so it offers all the goodness of fermented foods and it taste great. Therefore, it is understandable why you would be tempted to include it in your diet. However, when you are on the ketogenic diet, you need to look out for carbs in everything you eat. 

So, you may be wondering if you can eat tempeh on the keto or a low-carb diet. To find out, keep on reading!

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a traditional plant based product that originates from Indonesia, almost certainly in the region of east or central Java. People also call it tempe. 

They make it by introducing a fermentation process with soybeans and microorganisms- fungi. Specifically, they make it with natural culturing and controlled fermentation. The final product is firm, fermented soybeans. 

The texture is dry and firm, but chewy – unless you fry it, then you can enjoy it slightly crispy. It has a slightly nutty taste. Tempeh is a very versatile dish, so people make it in many different ways. They sautée it, steam it, or even bake it. People are also marinating this soy product to add even more flavor. 

Tempeh Nutrition Facts

Below, we have nutritional information on 100 grams of tempeh. (*)

Calories190 kcal
Protein21. 4 grams
Fat5.36 grams
Total Carbs14.3 grams
Fiber7.1 grams
Net Carbs7.2 grams

Tempeh health benefits

Fermented foods are considered gut-friendly because they help with digestion. Tempeh is also a fermented food, so it has gut-friendly properties. The process of fermentation of soybeans breaks down phytic acid. That helps nutrient absorption and digestion in general. (*

Tempeh is also rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics help your gut microbiome. They are a type of fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Therefore, it helps your digestive tract to function better. (*

Tempeh is rich in protein, which can help you feel full for longer. One study showed that when compared to animal protein, soy protein lowered blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, studies show that soy isoflavones also lower serum total and LDL cholesterol. (*), (*)

Isoflavones are also powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help combat and prevent oxidative stress caused by free radicals. They do that by binding to the free radicals and disabling them. (*), (*)

This soy product is also relatively high in calcium. Calcium is crucial to bone and muscle health. It can prevent the development of osteoporosis and other skeletomuscular diseases. Additionally, the calcium from tempeh is equally well-absorbed as calcium from milk. (*), (*)

While it is beneficial and harmless for most people, tempeh is not for everyone. If you have an allergy to soy or other soy products, you should avoid this fermented product. 

Can You Have Tempeh On Keto Diet?

When you look into the nutritional information you can see that it contains 190 calories, 21.4 grams of protein, 5.36 grams of fat, 13.3 grams of total carbs, 7.1 grams of fiber, and 7.2 grams of net carbs. This means that it is high in protein, moderate in fiber and fat, and moderate to low in carbs. 

Tempeh can fit into a ketogenic diet or a low-carb diet. It is a fermented food that has many beneficial health effects. This soy product is rich in prebiotics, which helps create a balance in the microbiota of the digestive tract, and aid digestion. Its protein is also proven to help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Tempeh is also rich in calcium, which is beneficial to bones and muscles. And, it also contains powerful antioxidants. 

However, tempeh is a soy product. And, soy and soy products are typically avoided on strict keto because the soybean is a legume. 

So, let’s answer the main question. Can you eat tempeh on the ketogenic diet? This soy product is not STRICTLY keto-friendly, so if you are on the strict keto diet, you should avoid it. However, if you are not on a strict ketogenic diet, you can have it. 

Of course, it does not have 0 net carbs, so you should consume it in moderation and controlled servings. Just like with many things in the keto journey, moderation is key here too!

Bottom line:

Is tempeh keto-friendly?

It is not STRICTLY keto-friendly, as it is a soy product. 

How many net carbs are in tempeh?

In 100 grams of tempeh, there are about 7 grams of net carbs. 


Tempeh is a fermented soy product that originates in Indonesia. It has a firm, but chewy texture. Its taste is sour and slightly nutty. People have been using it for years in many different ways and recipes. 

It also has numerous healthy benefits. Because tempeh is fermented, it is rich in prebiotics. They are beneficial to the gut microbiota and general digestion. This soy product is also rich in protein, which helps you stay full. Studies have shown that its protein can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also contains isoflavones. They are antioxidants that help prevent and combat oxidative stress. Tempeh does really well on a bed of leafy greens, in a stirfry, or on its own.

Nutritionally, it has high protein, moderate in fat and fiber, and moderate to low in net carbs. It is easy to incorporate it into a low-carb or keto diet if you want. So is tempeh keto? Unfortunately, it is not strictly ketogenic. That is because it’s made from soybeans. Soybeans are legumes and they are typically avoided on a strict keto diet.

Still, if you are not on a strict keto diet, you can still enjoy this delicious, protein-rich fermented soy product drizzled in olive oil or soy sauce!

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*image by Wirestock/depositphotos

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