Can I eat tomatoes on keto diet?

Quick Answer

Yes, tomatoes can be eaten on a keto diet. Tomatoes are low in carbohydrates and calories, making them a keto-friendly vegetable. One medium tomato contains around 5 grams of carbs, 4 of which are from sugar. This fits within the typical keto carb intake of less than 50 grams per day. Tomatoes provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants on keto.

An Overview of the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, often called keto for short, is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It aims to get the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. Here’s a quick rundown on how keto works:

– Carb intake is restricted to 30-50 grams of net carbs per day. Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber.
– Protein intake is moderate, typically around 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight.

– Fat intake is increased to account for 70-80% of total daily calories.
– By restricting carbs to such low levels, the body enters ketosis. In this state, fat is burned for fuel instead of carbs.
– Ketosis causes ketones to be produced by the liver and used for energy. This provides benefits for weight loss, mental performance, and more.

The keto diet originated as a medical treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. Today it’s most well-known for weight loss. Research shows keto is effective for burning fat, reducing appetite, boosting mental clarity, improving biomarkers for disease, and more.

Are Tomatoes Keto-Friendly?

Tomatoes are one of the best low-carb vegetables to eat on keto. Here are some key facts about the carb and nutrient profile of tomatoes:

– One medium tomato (123g) contains 4.8g of net carbs.
– Tomatoes are about 95% water and low in calories. One medium tomato has only 22 calories.

– The main carbs in tomatoes are natural sugars like glucose and fructose.
– Tomatoes provide vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene, an antioxidant.
– Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes tend to be a bit higher in carbs than regular sized tomatoes.

This carb and nutrient profile makes tomatoes a great choice for keto. They’re low enough in carbs to easily fit into a keto eating plan that limits carbs to 20-50g net carbs per day.

It’s easy to fit tomatoes into the diet. You can add slices to sandwiches, salad, or burgers, enjoy cherry tomatoes as a snack, or even drink tomato juice. Unless you eat tomatoes by the bucketload, it’s unlikely the carbs in tomatoes will knock you out of ketosis.

Benefits of Tomatoes on Keto

Adding tomatoes to your keto diet provides a range of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant compounds. Here are some of the top benefits of tomatoes on keto:

– Vitamin C – One medium tomato provides about 28% of the RDI for vitamin C, an essential nutrient and antioxidant. Vitamin C boosts immunity and helps make collagen for healthy skin and joints.

– Potassium – With 292mg per medium tomato, including tomatoes on keto helps you reach the recommended 4700mg daily potassium intake. Potassium supports heart health, fluid balance, bone strength, and muscle function.

– Lycopene – Tomatoes are the best dietary source of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid antioxidant that reduces inflammation, protects skin from sun damage, and may lower risk of prostate cancer.

– Vitamin K – Important for blood clotting and bone health, one tomato provides over 10% of the RDI for vitamin K.

– Vitamin B9 – Tomatoes contain some folate, providing 12% of the RDI per medium tomato, which assists in converting food into energy.

Overall, tomatoes provide a nutritious, low-carb way to obtain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds on the ketogenic diet. Adding them to your keto meal plan provides health protective benefits.

Are Tomatoes Keto-Friendly? The Carb Count

Let’s take a more detailed look at the carb content of common tomato varieties:

Tomato Type Net Carbs per Tomato
Medium tomato 4.8g
Large tomato 6.5g
Cherry tomatoes 5g
Grape tomatoes 6g
Roma tomato 5g

As you can see, carb counts are relatively low even for the sweetest tomato varieties like cherry and grape tomatoes, clocking in at around 5-6g net carbs per tomato.

This makes it easy to incorporate tomatoes into a keto diet plan while staying within carb limits. Unless you plan to eat tomatoes by the pound, it’s unlikely tomato carbs will overly impact ketosis.

Some people prefer to limit higher-carb fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, especially when first transitioning to keto. But tomatoes can fit into even a strict keto diet of just 20g daily net carbs, thanks to their low carb counts.

For most people following a standard keto diet with 50g of carbs or less per day, enjoying tomatoes in moderation is fine. Target lower carb veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumber, and zucchini most often, then incorporate moderate carb options like tomatoes to diversify your vegetable and nutrient intake.

Tomato Nutrition Facts

At around 20 calories and 4-6g net carbs per medium tomato, the carb to calorie ratio is very low. This makes tomatoes ideal for supporting weight loss on keto.

Tomatoes also provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 22 1%
Fat 0.3g 0%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Potassium 292mg 7%
Total carbs 5g 2%
Fiber 1g 3%
Sugar 4g
Protein 1g 1%
Vitamin C 28% 31%
Vitamin A 13% 14%
Vitamin K 12% 14%

Tomatoes provide vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A, all nutrients that many people can fall short on. The lycopene and other carotenoids in tomatoes also act as antioxidants.

For only around 20 calories and 4-5g net carbs, a tomato supplies high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This makes it easy to see why tomatoes are rated one of the most nutrient-dense low-carb vegetables.

Risks of Eating Too Many Tomatoes on Keto

Tomatoes are healthy and keto-friendly, but eating extremely high amounts could potentially cause issues:

– Could affect ketosis – Although tomatoes are low carb, eating enough of them can add up and kick you out ketosis if you go way over 50g net carbs per day. Stick to 1-2 medium tomatoes or under 2 cups per day.

– Irritate IBS – Some people with IBS report symptoms like diarrhea and cramping from raw tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes reduces these effects.

– Trigger acid reflux – Tomatoes’ acidity may worsen acid reflux. Avoid eating them late at night or close to lying down.

– Blood sugar effects – While low carb and low GI, very high tomato intake could spike blood sugars in prediabetics and type 2 diabetics not on keto.

– Nightshade concerns – Tomatoes are nightshades, which some claim exacerbate arthritis. Research doesn’t support nightshades worsening arthritis but individuals vary.

Within reasonable amounts of 1-2 fresh tomatoes per day, risks are minimal. But very high intakes could potentially irritate keto, IBS, GERD, or blood sugar levels in some circumstances.

Tips for Tomatoes on Keto

Here are some tips for enjoying tomatoes on a ketogenic diet:

– Try heirloom tomatoes for greater nutrient density and flavor. They tend to be lower carb than commercial tomatoes.

– Pair tomatoes with fats like olive oil, avocado, cheese, or creamy dressings to balance the carb impact.

– Roast or slow cook tomatoes to make sauces with concentrated flavor and carbs.

– Opt for tomatoes instead of higher-sugar tropical fruits or starchy vegetables.

– Limit higher-carb cherry and grape tomatoes, which contain 2g more carbs than other varieties.

– Track your daily net carbs to ensure you stay under 50g even with tomato intake.

– Pay attention to digestive or arthritis symptoms if concerned about nightshades like tomatoes.

With smart precautions like these, tomatoes can be part of a healthy low-carb keto diet providing beneficial nutrients.

Whole vs. Canned Tomatoes on Keto

Both whole fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes can fit into keto, but there are some differences:

Whole Tomatoes Canned Tomatoes
Carbs Around 5g net carbs per medium tomato Around 5g net carbs in 1/2 cup
Nutrients Higher in vitamin C and some antioxidants Comparable nutrients when canned in juice
Taste Fresh, bright tomato flavor Milder, more cooked flavor
Cost Higher cost when not in season Lower cost year-round
Convenience Require prep like slicing and seeding Ready to use from the can

While whole tomatoes are more nutritious, canned tomatoes in juice make a quick, affordable option. Canned crushed tomatoes help make excellent keto pizza, pasta, and zoodle sauces.

Keto Tomato Recipe Ideas

Here are some delicious ways to use tomatoes in keto recipes:


– Eggs baked in tomatoes instead of toast
– Tomato avocado scramble
– Keto shakshuka with tomatoes, peppers, and eggs
– Tomato basil breakfast casserole


– Caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil
– Tuna stuffed tomatoes
– Turkey burger topped with tomato slice
– Chicken salad stuffed tomatoes


– Chicken cacciatore with tomato sauce
– Keto pizza with tomato sauce and sliced tomatoes
– Meatballs in marinara sauce
– Zucchini lasagna with tomato slices
– Stuffed peppers with tomato sauce


– Tomato salad with tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, and balsamic
– Roasted cherry tomatoes
– Tomatoes sliced with olive oil, garlic, and parsley


– Tomato slices with mozzarella, olive oil, and seasonings
– Tomato juice
– Cherry tomatoes dipped in avocado dip or hummus

Condiments and Sauces

– Fresh salsa with tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro
– Keto marinara sauce
– Ketchup made with tomatoes (limit amounts)
– Diced tomatoes added into sauces and curries

With this wide range of recipe options, there are so many tasty ways to enjoy tomatoes and their health benefits as part of a keto diet.


Tomatoes offer an easy way to add color, flavor, nutrients, and variety to keto. With around 4-5g net carbs per medium tomato, they can be enjoyed in moderation on a ketogenic diet.

Tomatoes provide antioxidants like lycopene, plus high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and other beneficial plant compounds. Enjoy tomatoes roasted, in salads, in sauces, or sliced as a snack to take advantage of their diverse nutrition and health benefits.

While very high intakes could affect ketosis or aggravate some conditions like IBS for sensitive people, tomatoes are generally a keto-friendly food. When used moderately within a 50g net carb daily limit, tomatoes can be a nutritious addition to the ketogenic diet.

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