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Can I Use Herbs and Tubers When I’m On A Ketogenic Diet?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/12/2019

Featured | Handsome man cooking at home preparing salad in kitchen | Can I Use Herbs and Tubers When I’m On A Ketogenic Diet?

If you’re concerned about whether you can eat herbs and tubers when on a keto diet, here’s what you need to know.

RELATED: Understanding Net Carbs Ketogenic Diet

In this article: 

  1. Herbs on a Keto Diet
  2. Herbs Are Plants Most Likely Low in Carbs
  3. List of Herbs High in Carbs
  4. Tubers Are Used in Herbal Products and Diets but Can Contain High Amounts of Carbs
  5. Be Careful Not to Include Herbs and Tubers High in Carbs in Your Diet

Everything You Need to Know About Herbs and Tubers


Herbs on a Keto Diet

If you’ve discovered that fresh herbs make you feel remarkably better, you may never want to go a day without them. So what do you do if you decide to go on a ketogenic diet? Don’t dried herbs have carbs in them? Do you count the carbs in the dried herbs you’re taking? Or, should you just forget about the possibility and then go on counting carbohydrates in the primary foods you’re eating, expecting that would be enough to do?


Herbs Are Plants Most Likely Low in Carbs

Different herbs (basil, sage, chives, parsley, oregano and thyme) growing in mason jars on a window | Can I Use Herbs and Tubers When I’m On A Ketogenic Diet?

Growing herbs are plants. Thus, they will most likely be low in carbohydrates as lettuce, spinach, kale, and onions are. Some of them are great for many varieties of savory soups, stews, and even salads, while others are used in herbal medicine. But, there are some herbs more like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and corn, and these are the herbs you will be most concerned about on a ketogenic diet.


List of Herbs High in Carbs

Here’s a list of some culinary herbs that do contain appreciable amounts of carbohydrates:

  • Maca: 2 tablespoons, 100 calories, 20 g carbohydrates
  • Slippery elm: 2 tablespoons, 30 calories, 6 g carbohydrates
  • Garlic: 1 tablespoon, 12 calories, 3 g carbohydrates
  • Ginger: 1 tablespoon, 19 calories, 3.8 g carbohydrates

Adding a few tablespoons of maca herbal extracts to your protein shake in the morning to help heal your thyroid and adrenal glands can be enough to get you out of ketosis. 

Other than the herbs listed above, herbs are very low in carbs and can be used to flavor your food and add nutrients to your diet. You can also create or grow your own herb garden at home, so you won’t need to hurry to the grocery store just to buy your favorite herb for your recipes or dishes.

Adrenal Glands Definition: Small glands on top of each kidney that create hormones people can't live without such as cortisol and sex hormones.

RELATED: What Type of Keto Food Triggers Ketosis?


Tubers Are Used in Herbal Products and Diets but Can Contain High Amounts of Carbs

Sweet potatos and potato | Can I Use Herbs and Tubers When I’m On A Ketogenic Diet?

Tubers are sometimes used in herbal formulas, like herbal teas, essential oils, herbal remedies, and/or in a diet. Be careful of them because they will generally contain carbohydrates. Here’s a list of some of them:

  • Taro root: ½ cup raw, 55 calories, 14 g carbohydrates
  • Cassava: 1 tablespoon, 115 calories, 23.5 g carbohydrates
  • Sweet potato: ½ cup, 55 calories, 13 g carbohydrates
  • Jerusalem artichokes, raw: ½ cup, 54 calories, 13 g carbohydrates
  • Yam: ½ cup cooked, 79 calories, 18.7 g carbohydrates
  • Arrowroot: 1 tablespoon, 29 calories, 7.1 g carbohydrates
  • Kudzu: 1 tablespoon, 30 calories, 8 g carbohydrates
  • Lotus root: ½ cup, 40 calories, 9.6 g carbohydrates

Any one of these ingredients in the right amounts will be enough to get you out of ketosis.


Be Careful Not to Include Herbs and Tubers High in Carbs in Your Diet

What you add to your meals, such as herbs and spices, as flavors or ingredients in batch mixes that are baked will potentially add to your daily carbohydrate intake. When you work so hard to try to initiate a ketotic state from the ketogenic diet, the last thing you will want to do is add carbohydrates that will negate all your good efforts.

Every time your carbohydrate level exceeds 10-20 g or even 40 g for the day (ask your doctor for your recommended level), then your body’s metabolism will shift from fat-burning to carbohydrate-burning. To shift back to fat-burning, it can take a few weeks. Thus, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it to consume any extra foods that do contain carbohydrates.

Adding herbs or tubers to your keto diet might require some carb research first to know if you are still on track. It may be best to consult a dietician to know the recommended daily carb intake for your body type. Make smart choices on your diet, whatever you do!

Which type of herb is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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