Do you miss eating potatoes and french fries on keto? Most potato alternatives are high in carbs and not suitable for a keto diet.
Alternatives to potatoes, such as sweet potatoes, are healthy but still too starchy and would kick you out of ketosis.
Jicama is the answer. This high fiber vegetable has 4 grams of net carbs per 100 grams (*) and can finally provide a good potato alternative for keto dieters.
With Jicama, you can finally enjoy fries and other carb alternatives on a keto diet.
Is jicama low-carb, can you eat it on the keto diet? What are the health benefits of jicama and how can you prepare low-carb jicama fries?
Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Jicama?
Jicama is a root vegetable native to Mexico that looks like a large turnip. It has tough brown skin and when you slice it open, it exposes white flesh similar to a potato.
It is also known as yam bean or Mexican turnip. Originating from Central and South America, it played a significant role in the cuisine of these cultures for centuries (*).
Jicama has a neutral, slightly sweet starchy flavor similar to green beans or an apple.
It can be easy to assume that its carb content is similar to other potato alternatives like cassava or yam.
But the opposite is true. Jicama is keto-friendly and contains less than 5 grams of net carbs per 100g serving.
Can You Eat Jicama on the Keto Diet?
Despite the similarities in appearance and taste, the nutrition facts of jicama are very different from yams, sweet potatoes, or cassava.
Is jicama keto-friendly?
This root vegetable native to Mexico is low calorie, low carb, and high in fiber with little protein and almost no fat.
Jicama contains less than half the amount of carbs than potatoes and even fewer total carbs than other root vegetables like carrots or parsnips. This means that you can eat a good serving of jicama and stay in ketosis.
We still do not recommend eating unlimited amounts of jicama on a keto diet. But a regular serving of jicama is keto-friendly and low carb.
Are There Carbs in Jicama?
The short answer is yes. This yam bean native to Mexico belongs to the family of root vegetables and is, therefore, a type of carb.
Contrary to most carb options out there, jicama is keto-friendly and suitable for low-carb diets that usually eliminate starchy vegetables like potatoes or yams.
Jicama contains a lot of fiber, about 6 grams per cup serving, which reduces its net carb count. The same serving of jicama contains about 2 grams of naturally occurring sugar and 3 grams of starch (*).
With these favorable nutrition facts, jicama is keto-friendly and safe to use as a substitute for a lot of side dishes that are not allowed on a keto diet. You’ll be wishing you have discovered it sooner.
How Many Calories and Carbs are in Jicama?
A single 100 g serving of raw jicama contains: 38 calories. 8.82 g of carbohydrates.
Is Jicama Good for Losing Weight?
When following a ketogenic diet and limiting the number of net carbs consumed, your body enters a state of ketosis.
When in ketosis, your body utilizes fats for energy instead of glucose (*). This promotes fat loss and provides a lot of keto diet benefits. If you consistently maintain ketosis while consuming jicama, you’ll be losing weight.
Apart from being low carb, jicama is a root vegetable very low in calories and full of fiber. It can help you feel fuller for longer and make it easier to stay in a calorie deficit, therefore promoting weight loss.
Contrary to sweet potatoes or yams, which you can only consume in very small quantities on keto because of their high carb content, jicama allows you to consume a good-sized serving.
Because keto diets eliminate traditional sources of carbs, jicama can provide a keto substitute that can curb your cravings and help you stay consistent and satisfied on the keto diet.
Is Jicama Healthy?
Although important, carbs shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when selecting foods for your keto menu. Jicama is keto-friendly but is it also nutritious?
Apart from being low in carbs and calories, this root vegetable native to Mexico is also packed with vitamins and minerals.
Since keto dieters cut out a lot of high-carb vegetables and fruits, it’s important to make sure they get enough health-boosting nutrients in their keto meals.
Jicama contains over 40% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C and a significant amount of Vitamin A (*). This improves immunity and protects your body from free radicals.
Vitamin C is associated with many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, healing of wounds, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth (*).
It is also high in Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, and Folate (*).
Consuming jicama can have a positive effect on your heart health and lower the risks of chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, obesity, or cancer (*).
One cup of this root vegetable provides 25% of your daily fiber needs, including inulin and other prebiotic fibers (*). These improve gut health, stabilize blood sugar levels, and help to eliminate harmful bacteria in your gut.
Jicama is keto-friendly as well as full of health-boosting nutrients.
Is Jicama Safe to Consume?
The flesh of this yam bean is safe to consume, even raw. Traditionally, this yam bean native to Mexico is usually consumed raw.
But be aware that other parts of the jicama plant are not safe for human or animal consumption.
The stems and seeds of this root vegetable, in particular, contain a compound called rotenone, which is sometimes used as a poison for fish (*).
Even though these parts of this yam bean are toxic, raw jicama flesh has been consumed for centuries and is completely safe.
How to Eat Jicama?
Now that you know jicama is keto and packed with Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals, it’s time to learn more about the best ways to eat it.
- This root vegetable is native to Mexico, where it is traditionally consumed raw. In Mexico, sliced jicama is dipped into chili and lime sauce with salt.
- Because it is safe to eat raw and is very crispy, you can eat it as an alternative to carrot sticks with a variety of keto dips.
- Because of its crispy fresh texture, it can be a good addition to salads and summer recipes like lettuce wraps or spring rolls.
- Jicama is also commonly used in stir-fries and soups, best paired with chili, cilantro, salsa, soy sauce, ginger, citrus, sesame oil, and red onion.
- In Mexico, it is used in salads and even with fresh fruit combinations.
- This root vegetable can also be cooked and used in your favorite recipe that would otherwise require potatoes.
- One of the most popular ways to eat jicama is making jicama fries.
How to Make Jicama French Fries?
When you went keto you probably thought you are not going to eat fries again. French fries are a highly processed food that is very high in carbs and would kick you out of ketosis.
Not jicama fries though. Here is how you can make jicama keto fries at home:
Peel and cut jicama
Use a sharp knife since the thick skin of this root vegetable requires something sharper than a potato peeler.
Boil before baking
We recommend boiling sliced jicama for 10 minutes before baking.
Cover the jicama root with olive oil or melted coconut oil, season it with garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper, or spices of your choice.
Place the seasoned jicama on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180C/350F, or until golden crispy.
Serve the jicama fries with cheese, sour cream, or other keto foods for an indulgent meal.
Are Jicama Wraps Keto?
Other keto dieters have found this root vegetable gem too and utilized its great carb content for making alternatives suitable for keto diets.
You can now buy keto jicama wraps in the supermarkets that only have 2 grams of net carbs per serving.
For example, the popular Trader Joe’s Jicama Wraps contain only contain 15 calories and 1 gram of net carbs per recommended 2-wrap serving. Their ingredients list is free of nasty additives, and the wraps are therefore keto-friendly (*).
The jicama keto wraps have a very mild taste and crispy texture. And since the yam bean itself tastes very neutral, it is easy to pair with any food and versatile to cook with.
The Bottom Line
It is difficult to find a carb alternative suitable for keto diets. Even healthy potato alternatives like sweet potatoes, cassava, or jam are very high in carbs and not keto-friendly.
Jicama is a root vegetable that can serve as a substitute for potatoes and contains only 4 grams of net carbs and lots of fiber.
Jicama contains high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other health-promoting micronutrients that will provide you with a nutrition boost.
It is very versatile and can be consumed raw, in a variety of dishes, and even used for the preparation of keto jicama fries. Jicama is a great keto-friendly option that will curb your potato cravings and maintain your ketosis.