If you’re going keto, the rule of thumb has always been only low carb high-fat foods allowed. High carb and high sugar foods are keto diet enemies and will kick you out of ketosis in no time.
While fruits are generally healthy and nutritious when it comes to ketogenic diet most of them are not keto-friendly. A keto diet typically advocates 70%-80%: 20%-25%:5%-10% in the ratio of fats, proteins, and carbs in your daily meal plans.
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Are Tomatoes Keto Friendly?
A tomato is a keto-friendly fruit. According to an article on United States Department of Agriculture website, a 100gram tomato slice contains 3.89 grams of carbohydrates. However the count slightly differs depending on the type of tomato.
If you’re on keto, it doesn’t mean that you should have zero carbs in your diet. However, your daily carb intake shouldn’t exceed 50 grams. And given the fact that tomatoes are low in carbs, they are great for anyone on ketogenic diet.
When it comes to eating tomatoes, you should opt for whole tomatoes and avoid store-bought sauce because they can be loaded with additives and sugars which are not keto-friendly.
How Many Carbs and Calories Are In Tomatoes?
Below ground veggies like carrots are higher in carbs than above-ground vegetables. Tomatoes are low in carbs, and for this reason they qualify as keto-friendly fruits.
A 100 grams tomato serving contains 3.69 net carbohydrates, 2.49g of sugar, and 1.2g of fiber.
One piece of raw tomato is packed with essential nutrients including 0.2g fat, 18 calories and 0.9g proteins per 100g serving.
Types of Keto-Friendly Tomatoes
There are many tomato varieties grown around the globe. Some of the popular ones include Campari, grape, beefsteak, cherry tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes.
Your standard tomatoes contain 2g of sugar and 4g of carbs per half-cup serving. However these counts differ slightly depending on the type of tomato you eat.
Scott Keatley of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy points out that- tomatoes have phytonutrients that you could be missing out on a strict ketogenic diet. When it comes to eating tomatoes on ketogenic diet, he recommends avoiding store-bought sauce and opting for whole tomatoes.
Additionally, Scott further points out that a tomato or two a day won’t screw up your ketosis. You’ll probably need to eat 5-6 medium-sized tomatoes to disrupt ketosis. (*)
Which Tomatoes to Avoid on Keto Diet
There are two forms of tomatoes that you should avoid when on a low carb diet. Avoid any tomato that contains little water content. Very low water content means high in carbohydrates, which is not allowed on keto.
Avoid sun-dried tomato at all costs. According to USDA, 100g of sundried tomato contains 258 calories, which come from 55g carbohydrates, 37.59g sugars, and 14.11g proteins.
Avoid consuming tomato powder in a keto diet. A 100g tomato powder serving provides 302 calories, which come from 74.68g carbohydrates, 12.91g proteins, and 43.9 sugars. (*)
Eating too much tomato powder on keto will likely kick you out of ketosis or spoil your keto diet.
How to Eat Tomatoes on Keto
Like most other keto-friendly fruits and vegetables, it’s important to keep tabs on how you incorporate tomatoes in your daily diet to avoid going over your daily carb limit. Luckily for you, there are plenty of high fat, low carb tomato recipes you can try today.
Salads and Sides
Tomatoes are important ingredients in most keto-friendly salads and can be added to most meals as a simple side. Cherry tomatoes are great for salads, but with the different tomato varieties, you’ve got a lot of freedom to try each variety.
Roasted tomato soup
Roasted tomato soup is an ideal lunchtime meal that’s easy to prepare. You can add broth and cream to thin out the tomato and boost both the soup’s taste and fat content.
Cheesy baked tomato
Here is a simple procedure on how to prepare cheesy baked tomato. Slice four pieces of tomato and then cook one Italian sausage. Place the sliced tomatoes on baking tray and divide the Italian sausage evenly between the tops of each tomato slice. Sprinkle some Gouda cheese and then bake for around 4 minutes until the cheese turns golden.
This simple recipe will give you around 6g net carbs and a whopping 20g of protein and 26g of fat.
What are the health benefits of tomatoes on a keto diet?
Tomatoes are intensely nutritious fruits, and their health benefits can vary between the different types. For example, cherry tomatoes have high beta carotene contents than regular tomatoes.
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, which help combat free radicals known to cause cancer. A recent study found out that consuming high levels of beta-carotene can help prevent prostate cancer cell growth.
Additionally, tomatoes contain lycopene, a plant compound that has linked with prostate cancer prevention. (*) Lycopene gives tomatoes their unique red color.
Studies have shown that tomatoes contribute 80% of the dietary lycopene consumed in the United States. (*).
A study conducted on the Japanese population found out beta carotene consumption reduces the risks of developing colon cancer. More studies are needed to explore how beta carotene and lycopene help in preventing cancer.
2. Heart Health
Tomatoes contain potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and choline that support heart health. Increased potassium and decreased sodium intake have been associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease. (*)
Additionally, tomatoes contain folate that helps balance the levels of amino acids called homocysteine. Imbalanced homocysteine levels are associated with increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. (*)
Foliate plays an important role in protecting unborn babies against neural tube defects. (*)
Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, is available in supplement forms and can also be boosted through diet. Eating tomatoes on keto will give you a boost of folic acid.
While it’s recommended that pregnant women take folic acid supplements, tomatoes will give you a natural boost.
You can eat tomatoes in the keto diet, but it’s important always to keep tabs on how much you have eaten. And because tomato contains 4-7g of carbohydrates, it’s quite easy to exceed the maximum daily limit.
Avoid sun-dried and tomato powder as they contain high levels of carbs and can easily kick you out of ketosis or cause carbohydrates imbalance.