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Is onion keto? All about onion and keto

is onion keto?

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Is onion keto ?

The main aim of the keto diet is to is have foods rich in fat and low in carbs to attain ketosis. The body uses fat as the primary source of energy during ketosis. So, to stay in ketosis, we should have foods that have low carbohydrate content. Going through the list of keto-friendly foods I cannot stop but wonder if onion was keto-safe?

I mean it is used in most of the tasty dishes all around the world. So, I did some research about its effectiveness in keto and whether it should knock you out of ketosis.

Onions are also known as the bulb onion or common onion which is a modified stem. It consists of a bulb-like structure with fleshy leaves surrounding it. Onions are one of the oldest cultivated crops dating it’s origin almost 5000years ago. It was first eaten by people before the invention of farming and its origin can be traced back to central Asia (present-day Iran and Pakistan).

Onions have been used throughout the world from ancient times not only as food but also as medicines.

Now, we know we can’t have a load of carbohydrates during ketosis and does the consumption of onions increase the carbohydrate levels in our body?

Onions can be consumed once you are in ketosis because it contains carbohydrates within the permissible limit of the keto diet. i.e. 20 gms /day. However, there are different types of onions with different carb content in them. We should be aware of the kind of onion we are having and eat accordingly.

Green onions also known as scallions are one of the best-suited onion for ketosis as it contains 4.4 gms of ‘ net’ carbs per 100gm of serving.

Yellow or brown onions are also keto-friendly and contain 6.1gms of ‘net’ carbs per 100gm serving.

How many onions can we consume per day during ketosis?

As we all know, we can consume onions as long as it does not exceed the permitted carbohydrate level in our body. Generally, 20 gms of carbs are allowed by our body to stay in ketosis, however, people involved in physical activities like sports can have a little more carb (around 50-60gms).

Sometimes we should prioritize the word ‘net’ put before carbs or any other nutrients. This is because in the nutrition labels the count of carbohydrates or any other nutrient is counted along with the fiber content. However, fibers are not digested by our body and as a result, do not affect the blood sugar levels or insulin levels.

Hence, we take out the fiber amount from the total and separately state the net carb amount. For example, a food product label states 15 gms total carbohydrate, of which 10gms are fiber. We would subtract the amount of fiber from the total amount of carbohydrates i.e. in this case 15. The 5 gms left are net carbs that affect the different aspects of our body like blood glucose or insulin.

Types of onions

Onions are of varied types. Listed below are the different kinds of onions with their net carbs count. Note down the carb content before having them in your diet so that you don’t have to move out of ketosis.

  1. Shallots are onions that are formed in clusters and look a lot like garlic structurally. The total amount of carbohydrates present is 17gms(in a 100gm serving) of which fiber content is 3.2gms leaving 13.8 gms net carbs.
  2. White onions are mild and sweet. They have relatively higher sugar content and have a low shelf life unless refrigerated. The total amount of carbohydrates present in a 100gms serving is 9.6gms of which 1.2gm is fiber content.Net carbs present are 8.4gms.
  3. Red onions have a mildly sweet flavor and are rich in antioxidants making it an excellent remedy for inflammations and other chronic diseases. They are also rich in fiber. The total amount of carbohydrates present per 100gms are 9.7gms of which 2.2 gms are fiber. Thus, the number of net carbs is 7.5gms.
  4. Sweet onions are a variety of onions with low sulfur and high water content making it less pungent than the other varieties. The total amount of carbohydrate per 100gms of serving is 8gm of which there is 0.1 g of fiber leaving 7.1gm of net carbs.
  5. Yellow or brown onions are used in dishes like stews, soups, and braises. They can also be used for their sweet taste after caramelization. The total amount of carbohydrates per 100gms of serving is 8.1 g of which 2gms are fiber. Net carbs present is 6.1gm.
  6. Scallions do not have a fully developed bulb unlike the other varieties of onion. They have the mildest taste among the other members and is the best option for ketosis amongst the other varieties due to its extremely low carb content. The total amount of carbs present in 100gms of serving is 7gms of which 2.6 grams is fiber. The net carb content is 4.4gms.

Nutritional profile

Onions are generally very low in calories. The main ingredients which make up onion by weight are water, carbohydrate, fibers and small amounts of proteins and fats. The nutritional information of 100 gms of raw chopped onions is as follows :

Calories: 40

Proteins: 1.1gms

Carbohydrates: 9.3gms

Sugar: 4.2gms

Fiber: 1.7gms

Fat: 0.1gms

Onions are also said to contain different kinds of minerals and vitamins which are essential for our bodily functions. Vitamin C is antioxidant and very useful in boosting the immune system in our body. It is also good for the skin and hair. Other Vitamins like Folate and Vitamin B6 are also present. Potassium which is an essential mineral useful for lowering blood pressure is also present in onions.

There are several antioxidants present in onions other than vitamin C. Onions are considered to be the main source of flavonoids especially a compound called quercetin. Various plant compounds are also found in onions like anthocyanins and thiosulfinates which restrict the growth of harmful microorganisms in the body.

Some health benefits of onion

Onions have been known for their medicinal properties since ancient times. They have been known to be quite healthy having an abundant number of antioxidants.

Onions are known for lowering blood sugar levels especially type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that people having 3.5ounces of onion daily had a significant lowering of blood sugar levels.

Women have a history of bone deterioration after menopause. This results in a decrease in bone density leading to other bone-related issues. Studies have proven intake of onions results in an increased bone mass.

Cancer causes death all around the world and is one of the leading causes of death throughout. Onions are said to be anti-cancer. Consumption of onions helps us in also reducing inflammation.

Keto-friendly ways to have onion

Onions are used in dishes to enhance the taste and also can be consumed in its raw state as salads.

Use onions in salads by shredding it instead of big circular pieces. This will give a mild taste and also reduce your carb intake.

Onions should not be overcooked as extra heat destroys the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals present in it. Always try and cook onions at a lower temperature with a minimum amount of heat.

Try and have non-caramelized onions. This is because caramelized onions tend to spike up the blood sugar levels in our body.


Onions are generally keto-friendly if you stick to a certain quantity. What we should keep in mind is that it is not the best option for keto even though it is keto safe because it has proteins and fats in trace amounts.

However, we should always include onions in our daily diet be it keto or any other because of the various amount of antioxidants, Vitamins and essential minerals present in it.

It has many health benefits. Even if its not the best option for keto, its importance in our diet cannot be ignored.

Also read Is corn keto friendly?

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