Are Tomatoes Keto? Tomatoes On A Keto Diet: Tips, Recipes, And Substitutes


Many people ask “are tomatoes keto-friendly?” It’s understandable since tomatoes are in almost EVERY savory dish out there.

tomatoes lying on a table

Some worry if they can eat this adaptable fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, even though we treat it like a veggie!) without it disrupting their ketosis. And the answer is not as simple as it might first appear, because it depends on the type of tomato and the serving amount. 

So to get the full answer to question “are tomatoes keto?”, keep reading. We give you all the information you need about tomatoes on the keto diet, along with cooking tips, our favorite recipes, and substitutes. 

Nutritional Breakdown of Tomatoes

First, let’s take a moment to dissect the humble tomato, shall we? Tomatoes contain about 3 grams of net carbohydrates per half-cup serving. That’s pretty low-carb if you ask me.

But here’s the twist – they also have some sugar content. Not much though, only around 2 grams in that same half-cup serving.

This means that while they’re not completely carb-free, they’re still relatively low compared to other fruits.

Here’s a deeper dive into their nutritional profile for those interested.

Carbs and Net Carbs

KetoConnect verdict: We give tomatoes a keto-friendly rating of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(out of 5)

In one medium-sized tomato, you’ll find about 4.8 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of fiber.

This gives us approximately 3.3 grams of digestible carbs – not too shabby for our keto friends.

Proteins and Fats

Tomatoes are low in both proteins (about 1 gram) and fats (roughly 0.2 grams).

For those who are health conscious, they can still enjoy tomatoes by pairing them with nutrient-rich foods like avocados or cheese that provide a higher fat content.

Fiber-Rich Food Source

bowl of tomatoes

A medium-sized tomato contains around 1.5 grams of fiber, which aids digestion and keeps you feeling full – an essential aspect for those following a ketogenic lifestyle.

Vitamins & Minerals Galore

Tomatoes have vitamin C, vitamin A, K1 and potassium in abundance. They also contain carotenoids, in particular lycopen.

Lycopene has been associated with various health benefits, including its potential to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer. Additionally, lycopene may contribute to skin health by protecting against UV damage and promoting a youthful complexion.

Lycopene has also been linked to reducing inflammation – that’s great news for your overall health while on keto.

As you can see, the nutritional profile is pretty impressive for such a small package.

Note: All these values might vary slightly depending on the size and variety of tomato.

Sugar Control

Last but not least, studies suggest that if you eat tomatoes, it can help control blood sugar levels – another win for people living the keto life.

Keto Verdict?

If you eat them in moderation and pay close attention to your daily carb limit, tomatoes can fit into a keto diet just fine. Yay!

Downsides of Including Tomatoes in a Keto Diet

Let’s investigate the possible disadvantages of adding tomatoes to a keto diet.

Acidic Nature

Tomatoes are recognized for their acidic nature, which can sometimes cause acid reflux or heartburn in certain people.

If you are prone to experiencing these conditions, it might be wise to limit your tomato consumption or avoid them altogether.

Carb Content

While tomatoes are technically classified as fruits, their carb content is relatively low compared to other fruits. However, it’s important to note that they still contain carbs that can accumulate if consumed excessively.

A medium-sized tomato contains approximately 4 grams of net carbohydrates. Therefore, if you are strictly following a keto diet with a daily carb limit of 20 grams, these little red fruits could potentially consume a significant portion of your daily carb allowance.

Potential Allergies

Although rare, it is possible for some individuals to have an allergy to tomatoes. Symptoms can range from skin rashes to digestive issues. If you fall into this category, it’s clear that tomatoes won’t be making their way onto your shopping list anytime soon.

How to Incorporate Tomatoes into Your Keto Diet

tomato salad

Adding tomatoes to your keto diet is a breeze.

The key lies in the way you prepare and consume them.

Cooked vs Raw Tomatoes: The Keto Verdict

In terms of carbs, there’s not much difference between raw and cooked tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes can boost the lycopene level, a strong antioxidant.

To keep it keto-friendly, opt for sautéing or roasting instead of using tomato-based sauces that may contain hidden sugars.

Moderation Is Key

No matter how tempting those juicy red orbs might be, remember the golden rule of keto: moderation.

A cup of cherry tomatoes or half a medium-sized tomato should do the trick without kicking you out of ketosis.

Which Tomatoes Are Best for Keto?

When asking the question “are tomatoes keto-friendly?”, it’s important to consider different varieties. 

After all, not all tomatoes are created equally. Some have more carbs than others. But the good news is, most can be included in a balanced keto diet.

Grape Tomatoes

grape tomatoes

Grape tomatoes, smaller and sweeter than their larger counterparts, make an excellent choice for those on the ketogenic diet. They contain approximately 3 grams of net carbohydrates per half-cup serving, making them perfect as an extra tang lunch slice or as part of your wrap dinner sautéed with other veggies.

Cherry Tomatoes

plate of cherry tomatoes

Are cherry tomatoes low carb enough for the keto diet? Absolutely! Cherry tomatoes, like grape ones, also contain around 4 grams of total carbs per half cup. These tiny treats pack plenty of flavor and nutrition without breaking your carbohydrate bank!

Fresh Medium-Sized Tomato

A fresh medium-sized tomato has about 5g net carbs. This makes it slightly higher in carbs than grape or cherry varieties but still suitable for most people following a ketogenic plan if portion sizes are controlled.

Canned Crushed Tomatoes

canned crushed tomatoes

You might wonder if canned crushed tomatoes work well within this dietary framework when considering omelette add-ins or dips to make homemade salsa. 

With roughly 7-10g total carbohydrates per half-cup serving (depending on brand), they can certainly be part of a keto lifestyle if used with caution. The trick, as ever, is to choose the best quality you can afford. That means natural canned tomatoes without any added sugar, and preferably whole tomatoes that only underwent thermal processing – you can easily crush them yourself with a fork or spoon.

in all, canned tomatoes offer more flexibility than sweet potatoes but should be used sparingly compared to lower-carb options like fresh or grape types.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried versions tend to have higher sugar content due to dehydration concentrating natural sugars present in raw fruit; thus they generally aren’t recommended unless consumed very sparingly. For example, one tablespoon of chopped tomatoes contains around 6g total carbohydrates.

Favorite Keto Recipes  with Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be an appetizing supplement to your keto eating routine. Let’s explore some keto recipes that incorporate these versatile fruits.

Keto Taco Soup

keto taco soup served

A warm bowl of keto taco soup is comforting and easy to prepare. Perfect for those chilly nights.

Keto Spaghetti Sauce

keto spaghetti sauce in a skillet on a cutting board

This classic Italian dish gets a keto twist in this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe. Fresh or canned tomatoes with fresh thyme and basil leaves – simple yet satisfying.

Keto Ketchup

keto ketchup in a bowl with a spoon

Most everyone likes ketchup, right? The problem is that store-bought versions are not too keto friendly. This simple, sugar-free keto ketchup is the answer.

Alternatives to Tomatoes on a Keto Diet

And while tomatoes are generally keto-friendly, you might be looking for alternatives.

Zucchini

zucchini

This low-carb veggie is versatile and can easily replace tomatoes in many recipes. Or it can be the star of the show, like in this cheesy zucchini gratin recipe.

Bell Peppers

bell pepper halves

Packed with flavor and crunch, bell peppers add color and taste to any dish without adding too many carbs. Try out this stuffed bell peppers recipe if you want to impress – they’re simple, flavorful and dramatic!

Eggplant

eggplant

A great substitute in dishes like lasagna or moussaka where tomato slices would usually feature prominently.

If you’re missing that tangy tomato sauce, try using pureed red pepper instead – it offers similar acidity but fewer total carbs.

Are Tomatoes Keto Friendly? Conclusion

Are tomatoes keto? Yes, they can be. We have explored if tomatoes are keto-friendly and uncovered their nutritional profile, benefits, and role in a ketogenic diet. They’re low in carbs and calories, and are packed with vitamin C and potassium. Plus, adding tomatoes to your keto meals brings flavor, color, and variety. Just watch your portion sizes and choose the right types of tomatoes.

Are Tomatoes Keto FAQs

Are tomatoes OK on a keto diet?

In general, yes! You can eat tomatoes while following a ketogenic lifestyle. However, it’s important to note that not all types of tomatoes are created equal when it comes to their carbohydrate content. For instance, grape tomatoes are lower in carbs than other varieties and therefore more suitable for those adhering strictly to the keto diet list.

Are cherry tomatoes OK on keto?

Yes, cherry tomatoes are acceptable for a ketogenic diet in moderation. They contain about 4 grams of net carbs per half cup serving, which can fit into the daily carb limit of most people following this low-carb diet. However, as with any fruit or vegetable on keto, portion control is key to avoid exceeding your daily carbohydrate intake.

How many tomatoes can I eat on keto?

The number of tomatoes you can consume on a keto diet depends largely on your daily carb limit. A medium-sized tomato contains approximately 4 grams of carbs. If you aim to stay under 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, as suggested by most ketogenic diets, then you could comfortably include one or two medium-sized tomatoes in your meals without going overboard.

Are tomatoes high in carbs and sugar?

No, tomatoes are not high in carbohydrates or sugar. A medium-sized tomato contains approximately 4 grams of carbs and 2.6 grams of sugar. This makes them a suitable choice for those following a ketogenic diet, which requires limiting carb intake.

Written by

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Matt Gaedke

Matt is a former college basketball player turned computer engineer who discovered his passion for health and nutrition after cutting sugar from his diet in 2016. That year he founded KetoConnect with Megha in order to share their ketogenic lifestyle through recipes, videos, and educational content. Matt is always seeking to grow and try new things, a passion he shares with his wife and two amazing sons.

Expert Fact Checker

Marina Reluskoska

Marina Reluskoska

Marina is a licensed nutritionist with a keen specialization in food laws and dedication to shaping healthier lives. Beyond her professional journey, she finds joy in crafting culinary creations, embracing an active lifestyle, and cherishing quality moments with friends. In both food and life, she believes that balance is the key to nurturing well-being.

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