Can you eat KFC fried chicken on keto?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can eat KFC fried chicken on a keto diet, but you need to be mindful of your portion size. KFC chicken tenders and wings are lower carb options. Avoid breaded parts like Original Recipe chicken and remove the skin to lower the carb count. Overall, fried chicken is high in calories so enjoy it occasionally in moderation if you’re following a keto diet for weight loss.

Can You Eat Fried Foods on Keto?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. It’s designed to get your body into a state of ketosis, where you burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.

On keto, carb intake is typically limited to 50 grams of net carbs or fewer per day. Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols.

So can you eat fried foods like fried chicken on keto? The answer is yes, you can fit small portions of fried foods into a keto diet.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

– Breading drives up the carb count. Opt for fried foods without breading like grilled chicken wings.

– Frying adds a lot of fat and calories. Enjoy fried foods sparingly if weight loss is your goal.

– Fried foods may cause inflammation in some people. Pay attention to how your body reacts.

As long as you account for the carbs and calories, fried chicken can definitely be part of a keto eating plan. Moderation and smart choices are key.

KFC Nutrition Information

When ordering KFC chicken on a keto diet, your best bets are the grilled chicken options without breading. Here are some nutrition stats on popular KFC menu items (without skin):

KFC Menu Item Calories Fat (g) Protein (g) Net Carbs (g)
Grilled Chicken Breast 140 3 31 0
Grilled Chicken Wing (x6) 360 12 54 6
Fried Chicken Wing (x6) 690 48 42 6
Fried Chicken Tenders (x3) 270 12 24 6
Original Recipe Chicken 420 21 38 10

As you can see, fried chicken wings and tenders are your best bet if you want to enjoy some finger lickin’ fried chicken on keto. Six wings or three tenders will only set you back around 6 grams of net carbs.

Avoid breaded chicken like Original Recipe or Extra Crispy since the breading adds unnecessary carbs.

Tips for Ordering KFC Chicken on Keto

Here are some tips for ordering keto-friendly items at KFC:

– Choose grilled chicken when possible. It’s lower in fat than fried chicken. The grilled chicken breast is carb-free.

– Opt for chicken on the bone rather than breaded chicken fillets or tenders. Parts like wings, thighs and drumsticks are lower carb.

– Always remove the skin to decrease the fat and calorie content. Chicken skin drives up calories without offering much nutritional benefit.

– Stick with wings and tenders for fried chicken. They’re lower in carbs than other parts. Get extra crispy for max crunch.

– Skip the biscuits, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and desserts. They’re all very high carb options.

– For your side, opt for green beans, coleslaw (without added sugar), corn on the cob, or macaroni salad.

– Ask for any sauces or dressings on the side as they often contain added sugars. Avoid honey BBQ and sweet and sour sauce.

Healthiest Ways to Eat KFC Chicken on Keto

Here are some of healthiest ways to enjoy KFC chicken while sticking to a ketogenic diet:

– Oven Baked Wings – Season wings with salt, pepper and spices. Bake at 425F for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway. Crisp under broiler if needed.

– Grilled Chicken Salad – Top a green salad with grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, cheese, ranch or olive oil dressing.

– Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Use grilled or fried chicken tenders cut up and serve in butter lettuce cups with ranch and hot sauce.

– Chicken Soup – Cook chicken with bone broth, veggies and seasonings for a comforting keto chicken soup.

– Chicken Kebabs – Alternate chicken chunks with veggies like onions and peppers on skewers and grill.

– Chicken Stir Fry – Sauté chicken breast with broccoli, cauliflower rice and teriyaki or coconut aminos.

– Chicken Wings – Toss fried or baked wings in hot sauce or seasoning and serve with celery and ranch dip.

How Much Fried Chicken Can You Eat on Keto?

When eating keto, portion control is key, even for keto-friendly foods like fried chicken. Here are some general portion guidelines:

– 3-6 wings
– 2-3 chicken tenders or leg pieces
– 4-6 oz chicken breast (no skin)
– 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 a rotisserie chicken (no skin)

Even though these portions fit into a keto diet in terms of carbs, they can still be high in calories from fat or protein. Make sure to account for the calories if weight loss is your goal.

It’s best to limit yourself to 8-12 ounces of chicken total per day as part of a healthy keto diet, regardless of whether it’s fried or not. Spread this out over two meals at most.

Potential Downsides of Eating Fried Chicken on Keto

Here are a few potential downsides to keep in mind if you plan to regularly indulge in fried chicken on the keto diet:

– High in fat and calories – Fried chicken is a high fat, high calorie food. This can make it easy to go overboard on calories, leading to slower weight loss or weight gain. Be mindful of portions.

– May cause inflammation – Frying foods at high heat produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and oxidized fats that may cause inflammation in some individuals.

– Nutrient poor – Fried chicken is not a nutritious food. Focus on getting plenty of micronutrients from vegetables, nuts and other whole foods.

– Increased cravings – Greasy, salty foods may lead to cravings for other high carb foods like fries, biscuits or sugary drinks. Be cautious if prone to cravings.

– GI issues – Heavy fried foods may cause digestive upset like diarrhea, bloating or stomach pain in those prone to GI issues.

As long as you’re mindful of portions, fried chicken can be enjoyed on occasion as part of a healthy keto diet for most people. But don’t make it a daily habit.

Healthier Keto Swaps for Fried Chicken

If you want to enjoy the crispy, saucy flavors of fried chicken without all the carbs, fat and calories, try these healthier keto-friendly alternatives:

– Chicken wings baked with ranch seasoning or buffalo sauce

– Chicken tenders sautéed in olive oil with hot sauce

– Chicken drumsticks roasted with garlic and herbs

– Buttermilk chicken air-fried instead of deep fried

– Chicken salad lettuce wraps using roasted chicken

– Chicken kebabs with Parmesan crust or almond flour breading

– Crunchy chicken made with pork rinds or almond flour

– Grilled chicken coated in pesto or creamy spinach artichoke topping

With a little creativity, you can recreate the textures and flavors of fried chicken while keeping your keto diet on track.

Keto Diet Benefits

The keto diet comes with numerous health benefits that make it worth sticking to long term:

Weight Loss

Keto promotes weight loss in several ways:

– Suppresses appetite – High fat and low carb diet is very satisfying. Less hunger makes calorie restriction easier.

– Burns fat – Body switches to burning stored body fat on keto instead of glucose from carbs for fuel through ketosis.

– Water weight – Initial rapid weight loss is partly due to shedding excess water as glycogen stores are depleted.

– Leaner muscle mass – Keto spares loss of lean muscle compared to high carb diets. Muscle burns more calories than fat.

Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin

Keto improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity for those with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.

Other Health Benefits

Research shows keto may provide benefits for other conditions:

– Epilepsy – Keto can reduce seizures in epileptic children.

– PCOS – Low carb diets can regulate hormones and improve symptoms in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

– Acne – Lower insulin levels and reduced inflammation can clear up acne.

– Neurological diseases – Keto provides neuroprotective effects for conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

– Heart disease – Higher HDL and lower triglycerides improves heart disease risk factors.

Precautions with Keto Diet

The keto diet is very restrictive, so there are some precautions to be aware of:

– Consult your doctor before starting keto, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes.

– Supplement electrolytes – Low carb diets deplete sodium, potassium and magnesium, leading to keto flu symptoms.

– Drink plenty of water – Dehydration is common since carbs help retain fluid. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses a day.

– Eat enough calories – Too steep a calorie deficit can cause side effects like fatigue. Don’t go below 1200 calories daily.

– Monitor protein – Excessive protein intake can prevent ketosis. Get about 0.6-0.8 grams protein per pound of lean body mass.

– Don’t skimp on fat – Increase your fat intake to stay satisfied and meet your daily calorie needs. Quality fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado are encouraged.

– Pick healthy keto foods – Stick to real, minimally processed whole foods like meat, eggs, low carb veggies, full fat dairy and natural fats. Limit processed junk foods.


You can definitely incorporate small portions of KFC fried chicken into a healthy keto diet. Wings and tenders are your best low carb options. Skip breaded chicken or remove the skin to decrease carbs and calories.

Be mindful of your protein and calorie intake when enjoying greasy fried chicken to prevent weight gain. Alternate with more nutritious keto foods like avocado, nuts, vegetables and lean proteins.

Overall, fried chicken can be part of a well-formulated keto diet. Just enjoy it in moderation along with a variety of other low carb, high fat whole foods for optimal health.

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