Can You Eat Sardines On The Keto Diet?

For someone who isn’t limiting carbs in their diet,  the thought of eating protein-rich snacks simply doesn’t come to mind when chips and crackers are available. But, when you are on the keto diet, most of your snacks have great nutritional value and are full of protein.

Tasty chicken, beef, or fish becomes your daily repertoire in your keto journey. However, sometimes you need your meals or snacks to be fast and convenient, so you may want to turn to canned sardines as your go-to snack that’s packed with nutrients. 

But, can you eat sardines on the keto diet, are they keto-friendly? Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know. 

What Are Sardines?

Sardines or also called “pilchards” are names commonly used to refer to small, oily forage fish which are a part of the herring family Clupeidae

In the Clupeidae family officially there are only 6 types of species of sardines, although, throughout the world, there are more than 20 varieties of fish that are sold as sardines.  What they all have in common is that they are saltwater fish, that have small, silver bodies. They are oil-rich and they are soft-boned. 

The sardines diet consists mainly of planktons, so they have lower levels of mercury and other heavy metals in comparison to other sea fish. 

The origin of the name “sardine” is thought to come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where sardines were once abundant. The name was first used around the 15th century. 

The terms “sardine” and “pilchard” are not precise as they are used differently in different countries and different literature.

According to the United Kingdom’s Sea Fish Industry Authority sardines are young pilchards, and one criterion has suggested that fish that are larger than 15 cm are pilchards, and those who are smaller than 15 cm are sardines. 

Sardines are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients and are a popular food. They are often eaten pickled, smoked, grilled, or preserved in cans.

Nutritional Facts

The table below consists of the nutritional information of 100 grams of sardines that have been canned in oil and drained. (*

Calories208 kcal
Fat11.45 grams
Protein24.62 grams 
Total Carbs0 grams 
Fiber0 grams 
Net Carbs0 grams

Are Sardines Healthy?

In the table above you can see that sardines are packed with proteins and fat, but those are not the only benefits that sardines provide. 

You are probably already familiar with the health benefits of protein. It is essential for healthy muscles and bones and it helps with our immune system by helping create antibodies.

However, sardines are also a food that is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that play an important role in human health. They help prevent heart disease because of the anti-inflammatory that they have. They can help lower blood pressure and blood clots and they have properties that can help protect the cardiovascular system. (*

Sardines are also rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Vitamin B12 has a role in the production of red blood cells and its deficiency can cause deformation of the red blood cells and ultimately cause megaloblastic anemia. It also has a role in preserving and regaining bone health. (*

They also have high doses of calcium which is good for bone health, especially for pregnant women. 

Additionally, sardines have a high amount of a few more minerals and they are zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, niacin, and potassium.

Therefore, it is safe to say that sardines are a great, tasty, and healthy food option. 

Should You Eat Sardines On The Ketogenic Diet?

Looking at the nutritional facts table, you can see that sardines have 0 grams of carbs, 24.62 grams of protein, and 11.45 grams of fat in a serving of 100 grams. 

Calorie wise, at 208 calories per 100 grams, sardines are not an extremely high-calorie food. 

Therefore it should not be hard to fit into your daily intake. However, if you want to consume sardines with lower calories, then you should look for ones that have been canned in water. That way you can exclude the calories from the oil. 

To sum it all up, sardines are a great option for people on the keto diet and on a low-carb diet. They have 0 carbs, they are somewhat low-calorie and they are packed with nutrients. 

They can be consumed as a snack or they can be incorporated into a salad or some other dish depending on your liking. You can cook fresh and canned sardines, too.

Bottom Line

Are sardines keto-friendly?

Yes, sardines are keto-friendly. They have 0 carbs and they are very nutritional.

How much protein is in sardines?

A serving of 100 grams of canned sardines that have been drained have 24.62 grams of protein. 


Sardines are a great ketogenic and low-carb food that can be consumed in many ways. It has a great fat to protein ratio, and 0 carbs, so it is a great addition to everyone’s keto journey. 

They can be eaten straight off the can as a snack, you can add them to spreads, salads, mix them with sauces or you can grill them or fry them. The possibilities are endless.

sardines keto

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Can You Eat Sardines On The Keto Diet?
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