Garlic can be one of the most flavorful and versatile ingredients in your kitchen arsenal. But is garlic keto-friendly?
Many spice mixes contain added ingredients, sugar, or other processed foods which are not suitable for keto.
Adding a small amount of garlic is an easy and powerful way of enhancing the flavor of your meals that doesn’t add many carbs to your daily intake.
But how much garlic can you use, and what is the difference between fresh, powdered, and minced garlic on keto?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about eating garlic on keto.
Garlic is typically used and regarded as a spice, but it is technically a vegetable belonging to the same food group as onion, leeks, and shallots.
You can consume garlic in many forms. It can be eaten raw, cooked, crushed, boiled, sauteed, or chopped and added to marinades and sauces.
How Many Carbs Are in Garlic?
A single clove of garlic contains around 0.9 grams of net carbs, making it a suitable addition to any low-carb diet (*).
An average head of garlic typically contains around 11 cloves, and with each one being less than 1 gram of net carbs, a full head of garlic has about 10 grams of net carbs.
While the carb content of 100 grams of garlic is pretty significant, 33 grams of carbs, no one would eat that much garlic because of its strong aroma, so there is nothing to worry about.
Typically, you would only use a couple of garlic cloves for the whole recipe, which means that the individual contribution for each meal is likely to be less than 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Can You Eat Garlic On the Keto Diet?
Most ketogenic guidelines recommend a net carb intake of fewer than 30 grams per day (*).
Garlic packs a lot of flavors and very few carbohydrates, and since it tends to be eaten in small amounts rather than in bulk, it is safe to say that garlic is keto.
It is a whole natural food that makes it an excellent substitute for artificial spice mixes that contain nasty additives, sugar, and other processed ingredients.
Is Garlic Powder Keto?
Garlic is keto-friendly, but what about garlic powder? Sometimes, peeling and crushing garlic can be a tiresome process, especially if you’re short of time.
On these occasions, garlic powder can be a convenient option that still adds an authentic garlic taste to your meals.
The good news is there are only two grams of net carbs in a teaspoon of garlic powder, making it keto-friendly (*).
Is Minced Garlic Suitable for Keto?
You can also buy minced garlic in a jar at a grocery store. This option promises a fresh garlic taste without the hassle of having to peel or crush garlic cloves.
We recommend always selecting unflavored minced garlic that typically contains 1 gram of net carbs per teaspoon (*).
The ingredients and nutritional values can vary across brands, so make sure your selected minced garlic doesn’t contain unnecessary processed ingredients or additives, including sugar, which could bump up the carbohydrate content.
Is Garlic Good For You?
Garlic is known as a nutritional superfood and is widely regarded as a medicine for its powerful health benefits.
The most valuable compounds present in garlic include S‑Allyl‑l‑cysteine sulfoxide and diallyl disulfide, the sulfur compounds which exert various physiological functions and are responsible for the strong odor in garlic (*).
Including garlic cloves in your diet helps with the common cold, can reduce blood pressure, oxidative stress, improve cholesterol levels (*).
Additionally, these potent sulfur compounds can help protect your body from heavy metal toxicity and help to prevent neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia (*).
Nutritional Benefits of Garlic
Apart from the powerful sulfur compounds, garlic contains vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Selenium, Manganese, and Nitrogen (*).
Selenium acts as an antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals, prevent mental decline, and reduces the risk of certain cancers (*).
Manganese helps the body to form connective tissue. It plays a key role in fat metabolism and sugar regulation and contributes to the normal function of the nervous system (*).
Thanks to the rich nutritional benefits, the consumption of garlic has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety.
What Are the Negative Effects of Eating Garlic?
One unpleasant effect of eating garlic is its strong odor that can cause unpleasant breath and body smell that can linger for hours or even days after its consumption.
Garlic allergy, which affects some people, can cause mild but also severe consequences.
Garlic needs to be avoided by people who need to follow the Low FODMAP diet since it can cause gas or bloating for those who have a sensitive digestive system or suffer from gastrointestinal disorders (*).
Keto Garlic Recipes
Here are some quick and straightforward ways you can use garlic to boost your everyday keto recipes and ingredients.
Keto Garlic Butter
Using garlic butter can be a great way of instantly adding garlic flavor to your keto bread, roasted vegetables, or meat dishes.
Melt garlic butter or ghee and mix it with finely chopped or pressed garlic with a little bit of salt. Add fresh herbs of your choice for an even more delicious flavor.
Keto Garlic-flavored Olive Oil
If you want to include garlic in your cooking but don’t want to peel and chop garlic every day, you can make garlic-flavored oil.
Mix pressed garlic and salt with olive oil, or put a few garlic cloves directly into your olive oil bottle for a heightened flavor.
Is Garlic Good for Weight Loss?
Some studies have shown that garlic could positively affect fat burning and promote weight loss (*).
But these effects are pretty marginal. If your goal is weight loss, we recommend focusing on overall nutrition and staying in ketosis, which will have a much more significant impact.
How to Cook With Garlic?
Garlic is a versatile ingredient that you can combine with any savory food, and it can add a boost of flavor that might be missing in your recipe.
Garlic is often used in Italian, Middle Eastern, or Asian dishes and is a fundamental ingredient in any cuisine.
Combine fresh garlic with onion, black pepper, and salt as a perfect start to any tasty meal.
What Are the Best Keto Recipes With Garlic?
Garlic works in combination with most types of meat. Try including garlic in everyday recipes such as chicken wings, pork chops, salmon, or shrimp.
Adding garlic to sauces and marinades is a good way of enhancing the flavor. Combing garlic with high-fat foods and spices makes great keto condiments, such as garlic dipping sauce or keto garlic aioli.
Is Onion Keto?
Belonging to the same food group, onion is often used with garlic and can add a lot of flavor to any meal.
Onion contains 6 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving, making it keto-friendly (*).
Typically, the recipe calls for a bigger serving of onion than garlic, adding more carbs to the meal.
The Bottom Line: Is Garlic Keto-friendly?
A small clove of garlic packs a lot of flavors and less than 1 gram of net carbs. This makes garlic keto-friendly and suitable addition to low-carb keto recipes.
We recommend opting for fresh or powdered garlic to avoid any additional ingredients or carbs.
Apart from its delicious taste that can enhance everyday dishes, garlic is also a nutritional powerhouse with many health benefits, such as boosting your immune system and preventing common chronic diseases.
Combine garlic with butter, oil, or mayonnaise to create keto sauces, or add it to your meat dishes for enhanced flavor.