If you have been following the keto diet for quite some time, you may already know that some fruits are completely restricted from the diet. Tangerines, mangos, peaches, and grapes are all examples of forbidden fruits on the diet. There is no disputing that these fruits are healthy but with the carb count they carry, it’s best to avoid them altogether if you want to maintain your state of ketosis. But what about tomatoes? Or more importantly salsa? While many consider tomatoes to be a vegetable, it is actually a fruit. So what does this mean for the beloved Mexican sauce? Can you make keto salsa or will the carbs kick you straight out of ketosis?
Tomatoes and The Keto Diet
While tomatoes may be considered a fruit, they have fewer carbs than most vegetables. Depending on the type of tomato, a 100 gram or 3 ½ ounce serving only contains about 3 to 4 grams of net carbs, 1.2 grams of fiber, and 2.49 grams of sugar.
Based on the number of carbs, it safe to say that tomatoes do fit into the keto diet. However, the macro ratio varies depending on the type of tomato. It is important to know which type is better suited to the keto diet and which should rather be avoided.
Roma, or also known as plum tomatoes are commonly found in most supermarkets and grocery stores. They are used in most tomato pastes and concentrates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. One cup serving of diced Roma tomatoes has a around 5 grams net carbs and can be eaten in moderation on the keto diet.
Kumato or more commonly known as brown tomatoes originate from Spain. They do have a slightly higher carb and fructose count at 4 grams per serving, but when eaten in moderation, it’s perfectly suitable for the keto diet.
Cherry tomatoes have the same number of carbs as Roma and Kumato tomatoes, however, they are ideal for most keto-friendly dishes because of their crunchy texture and juicy center. People use this as a great keto hack because they are smaller and therefore it’s easier not to overindulge.
Beefsteak tomatoes are commonly served in restaurants or fast food joints. While they do contain a similar number of carbs as Roma tomatoes, they are much larger in size so it’s best to avoid them on a keto diet.
Grape tomatoes may be smaller than cherry tomatoes but you probably should leave them off the menu. While grape tomatoes may have lower levels of fructose, they contain the most amount of carbs compared to other variations. At 6 grams per serving, it’s best to avoid them on a keto diet.
Campari tomatoes, which are usually mistaken for cherry tomatoes have a very distinctive sweet taste. At 4 grams of carbs per tomato, it’s probably best to avoid this variety of tomato on the keto diet.
Can You Eat Salsa On A Keto Diet?
Now that we know certain variations of tomato are suitable for the keto diet, what does that mean for salsa?
Salsa is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes. The sauce is usually made from tomatoes, chili, pepper, onion, and cilantro but it can also be made using other ingredients such as pineapple or mango. Whether or not salsa is keto-friendly depends on two factors. The ingredients and how it is made.
Store-bought salsa usually contains a moderate amount of carbs, however, this varies from brand to brand. Many bottled sauces contain sugar and other preservatives to increase their shelf life and make it more palatable for consumers. The sugar in bottled salsa is usually the culprit behind the extra carbs, which is why it’s best to avoid them when following any kind of low carb diet. There are a few low carb salsa options available on the shelf but you still do not have any control over what additional ingredients are in the formula.
Fortunately, salsa is easy enough to make in the comfort of your own kitchen and the best part of all is that with the right ingredients, it can be eaten on the keto diet.
Easy Keto Salsa Recipe
This easy low carb salsa recipe can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes and can be enjoyed with a variety of dishes.
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- A ½ of a finely chopped red onion
- 1 clove of finely chopped garlic
- 1 medium finely chopped jalapeño
- 2 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup of organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 freshly juiced lime
- ¼ tsp of kosher salt
- A sprinkle of pepper to taste
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Once the seeds have been removed, dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl.
- Add rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutritional Value Per 0.3 cup Serving:
- Calories – 97kcal
- Carbs – 4g
- Protein – 0g
- Fat – 9g
- Saturated Fat – 1g
- Fiber – 1g
- Sugar – 1g
Are There Any Benefits Of Eating Salsa On A Keto Diet?
Tomato-based salsa is a healthy addition to almost any low carb diet and many can benefit from its medicinal properties.
The cell walls of plants are naturally high in fiber, which means that the ingredients found in salsa contain substantial levels of fiber without any of the sugar or fat. Eating foods that are high in fiber on a ketogenic diet is beneficial for curbing symptoms associated with the keto flu, such as diarrhea, constipation, and cramping.
Weight Loss Boost
Jalapeños and chilies are loaded with capsaicin, an active component that gives peppers their spicy bite. One of the many benefits of capsaicin is that it helps to speed up the metabolism and encourages weight loss. Tomatoes also promote weight loss because they help to reverse leptin resistance. Leptin, which is a protein, helps to regulate the metabolism.
Protects The Cells From Oxidation
Tomatoes and onions are rich in powerful antioxidants such as quercetin. Quercetin is beneficial for lowering high blood pressure, fighting free radicals, and reducing the risk of heart and neurological diseases. It is also beneficial for reducing inflammation and alleviating allergy symptoms.
Following the keto diet can make you feel a bit sluggish especially if you have just started out on the diet. Eating salsa is a great way to give your body the energy boost it needs. Tomatoes, onions, and lime juice are all a great source of Vitamin C, which is beneficial for revving up your immune system and blood antioxidant levels by up to an impressive 30%.
So, Is Salsa Keto-Friendly?
Since tomatoes are considered a fruit, there is a lot of confusion whether or not it can be eaten on a keto diet. Fortunately, most varieties of tomatoes are relatively low in carbs and fructose, which means that they won’t cause your ketone production to plummet. This is good news for salsa lovers. This tomato-based Mexican delight can be enjoyed in moderation, provided that it is homemade or free from sugars, fruits, and other preservatives. Eating salsa on a keto diet is also beneficial for speeding up the metabolism, boosting your antioxidants, and regulating digestion.