Are Olives Keto-Friendly?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/02/2024


Olives have been a staple in Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years and are still used in many Greek, Spanish, and Italian-inspired dishes, but are olives keto-friendly?


Yes, olives are low in carbs, and you can enjoy moderate amounts of olives without breaking ketosis. 


Learn how many carbs are in olives and discover why you should regularly incorporate them into your keto diet plan.


Green olives

How many carbs are in olives?


According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams, or about 40 canned olives, contains 6 grams of total carbohydrates and 1.6 grams of fiber. 


To calculate their net carbs, subtract dietary fiber from total carbs, which leaves 4.4 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of olives. 


A typical serving size of ten olives contains only 1.5 grams of net carbs, making olives an excellent addition to a low-carb diet.


Olives nutrition facts

Olives are rich sources of oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid linked to various health benefits, including balanced cholesterol levels and a lower risk of chronic inflammation. 


100 grams of canned olives contains the following:

  • 116 calories

  • 10.9 g total fat

    • 2.3 g saturated fats

    • 7.7 g healthy monounsaturated fats

    • 0.6 g polyunsaturated fats

  • 0.84 g protein

  • 6 g total carbs

    • 1.6 g fiber

    • 4.4 g net carbs


Olives are also a good source of many essential nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin A

  • Iron

  • Copper

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium


Watch the video below to learn more about keto-friendly fats.

Acceptable Fats on a Keto Diet & Intermittent Fasting

Can you have olives on the keto diet?  


While most fruits aren’t suitable for low-carb diets, olives are an exception.


Most keto dieters limit their daily carb intake to between 20 and 50 net carbs to maintain ketosis, a metabolic state that prioritizes burning fat to generate energy. 


A serving size of canned olives contains roughly 1.5 grams of net carbs, which won’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels or interfere with ketosis.


Most black and green olives are keto-friendly, including kalamata olives and those stuffed with pepper, cheese, or garlic. 


However, olives are easy to overeat, especially those stuffed with bell peppers or delicious cheeses, and it’s recommended to include them in your daily net carb count to maintain ketosis and fat burning. 


It’s also important to remember that olives are often high in sodium. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as hypertension or heart problems, should avoid consuming too many olives to reduce the risk of adverse health effects. 

Virgin olive oil

5 health benefits of olives on keto


Besides being rich in vitamins and minerals needed to maintain general health, olives may also provide anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective benefits.


Here are five incredible health benefits of olives.


1. Promote brain health 

Various studies have shown the positive effects of the Mediterranean diet on brain health. This suggests that a diet rich in olives and olive oil may help prevent brain disorders due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties.  


Research published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that various polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil protect against oxidative stress in the brain, which is crucial in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. 


2. Reduce the risk of blood clots

Weekly consumption of olives and olive oil may reduce the risk of blood clots associated with strokes, heart attacks, and other serious health issues. 


“Olives contain various blood thinning compounds, which help prevent blood clots,” explains Dr. Berg. “This emphasizes the cardiovascular benefits of regularly consuming olives.”


A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases found that frequent olive oil consumption lowered the risk of blood clots in obese individuals. 


The authors also found that consuming olive oil at least once a week reduced the activity of platelets, which are blood cell fragments responsible for blood clot formation. 

Doctor checking blood pressure

3. Support a healthy heart 

Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid found in olives, which has been linked to various health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease. 


Research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that oleic acid inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also referred to as bad cholesterol, linked to inflamed arteries, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. 


4. Help strengthen bones

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease characterized by reduced bone density, making bones brittle and prone to fractures. It’s the most common bone disease affecting nearly half of U.S. adults aged 50 and older.  


Interestingly, studies have found that osteoporosis is less common in regions with high olive consumption. 


Data published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health concluded, “The bone protective effects of olive and its products are attributed to their ability to increase bone formation and inhibit bone resorption by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation.”


5. May help reduce cancer risk

Though more research is needed, it has been suggested that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olives may help reduce the risk of cancer.


According to a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, certain polyphenols in olives can inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancerous cells.

Olives in a bowl

Key takeaways


Are olives keto? Yes, olives are low in carbs and rich in healthy fats, making them an excellent choice for those following keto.


Olives also contain potent anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress and may lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. 


However, canned olives are also high in sodium, and individuals on low-sodium diets should avoid excessive consumption to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.



FAQ


1. How many carbohydrates are in olives?

Ten canned olives (25 grams) contain around 1.5 grams of net carbs. This is well below the 

recommended daily net carb limit for those following the ketogenic diet.  


2. Can I eat olives on a low-carb diet? 

Yes, you can eat olives on a low-carb diet. Both green and black olives contain primarily fat and fiber, making them a keto-friendly option that can be used in various keto recipes, including salads, dips, and Greek dishes.


3. What are the benefits of eating olives on keto?

Olives are nutrient-dense and contain potent antioxidants. Including olives in your keto diet plan may improve heart health and reduce the risk of blood clots and cancer. 


Studies have also shown that olives can help strengthen bones and manage inflammatory conditions.


4. Are kalamata olives safe on keto?

Yes, kalamata olives are keto-friendly. A serving size of ten kalamata olives (25 grams) contains just 0.8 grams of carbohydrates. 


5. Are green or black olives healthier?

Green and black olives are both nutritious. However, green olives contain more polyphenols, making them a healthier choice overall. 


6. Does olive oil break ketosis?

No, olive oil won’t kick you out of ketosis. Olive oil is high in fat and contains zero grams of carbohydrates, making it a keto-friendly oil for cooking and dressings.


7. Can I eat green olives on keto?

Yes, green olives are suitable for a ketogenic diet. Similarly to black olives, green ones are low in carbs and won’t impact blood sugar levels or interfere with ketosis. 



Sources:

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169094/nutrients 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825477/ 

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34627691/ 

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606102/ 

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997441/ 

  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23193056/ 

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