Is Chinese eggplant high in carbs?

Quick Answers

Chinese eggplant, also known as Asian eggplant or slim eggplant, is a type of eggplant popular in Chinese cuisine. Like other eggplant varieties, Chinese eggplant is relatively low in carbohydrates. A 1-cup serving of boiled Chinese eggplant contains around 5 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of the carbohydrates come from fiber, with only 1 gram coming from sugar. This makes Chinese eggplant a low-glycemic, diabetic-friendly vegetable. Compared to western eggplant varieties like globe eggplant, Chinese eggplant tends to be lower in carbs. So in summary:

  • Chinese eggplant is low in total carbohydrates, with around 5 grams per cup cooked
  • Most of the carbs come from fiber, not sugar
  • Chinese eggplant is lower in carbs than western varieties like globe eggplant
  • It has a glycemic index of 20, making it a low-glycemic food

Nutrition Facts of Chinese Eggplant

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (96g) of boiled Chinese eggplant:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 21
Protein 0.8g
Carbohydrates 5g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 1g
Fat 0.2g

As you can see, a 1-cup serving of cooked Chinese eggplant provides just 5 grams of total carbohydrates. Out of that, 4 grams come from fiber while only 1 gram comes from sugar.

This carb breakdown makes Chinese eggplant a low-carb vegetable choice. Compared to high-carb veggies like potatoes and corn, Chinese eggplant provides a much smaller dose of digestible carbs and sugar.

Chinese Eggplant Carbs vs. Other Eggplant Varieties

Chinese eggplant tends to be lower in carbs compared to popular western varieties like globe eggplant, Italian eggplant, and Japanese eggplant.

Here’s a comparison of the carb content in 1-cup serving of different cooked eggplant types:

Eggplant Variety Total Carbs Net Carbs
Chinese eggplant 5g 1g
Globe eggplant 7g 3g
Italian eggplant 8g 4g
Japanese eggplant 6g 2g

As you can see, Chinese eggplant provides around 2-3 fewer grams of digestible, net carbs than other varieties.

The smaller size and thinner skin of Chinese eggplant means you get less carb-heavy eggplant flesh in each serving. So if you’re looking for the lowest-carb eggplant option, Chinese eggplant is a good choice.

Chinese Eggplant’s Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar to rise after eating it. Foods are ranked from 0 to 100 based on their glycemic index value.

Low-GI foods (55 or below) cause a gradual, mild rise in blood sugar. High-GI foods (70 or above) trigger a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin.

Chinese eggplant has a remarkably low glycemic index of just 20. This means it’s digested very slowly and has minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

For comparison, here are the GI values of some other common foods:

Food Glycemic Index
Chinese eggplant 20
Broccoli 15
Strawberries 40
Brown rice 55
White bread 70
French fries 75
Soda 80

With its extremely low glycemic index, Chinese eggplant is an excellent choice for managing diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Its ability to minimize spikes in blood glucose makes it safe even for diabetics to enjoy.

Ways to Enjoy Chinese Eggplant

Chinese eggplant is extremely versatile and can be prepared in many delicious ways while retaining its low-carb nutrition. Here are some healthy cooking methods and serving ideas:


Steaming or boiling Chinese eggplant retains the most nutrients. Simply cut into chunks, slices, or halves and steam or boil until tender. Season with garlic, lemon juice, herbs, or soy sauce.


Thinly slice Chinese eggplant and stir-fry with protein, veggies, and sauce for a fast, healthy meal. Try combinations like eggplant with ground turkey and zucchini or shrimp and bell peppers.


Grilled Chinese eggplant gets deliciously smoky and charred. Brush slices with olive oil and grill until softened and browned. Top with feta, tomatoes, and basil.


Dice Chinese eggplant and add to vegetarian or meat-based curries. It holds up well to bold curry spices and coconut milk.


Add chunks of Chinese eggplant to soups and stews for texture and extra nutrients. It works great in minestrone, vegetable chili, or lentil soup.


Make a delicious Italian caponata salad with Chinese eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Serves as a side or vegetarian main dish.

Baba Ghanoush

For a lower-carb version of this Middle Eastern dip, use Chinese instead of globe eggplant. Roast eggplant, blend with tahini, garlic, and olive oil.

Pasta Alternatives

Replace high-carb pasta with long strips or spirals of Chinese eggplant for a ketogenic or gluten-free meal. Works great with tomato sauce, pesto, or tofu ricotta.

Health Benefits of Chinese Eggplant

In addition to its stellar low-carb macronutrient profile, Chinese eggplant offers a variety of valuable micronutrients and health-promoting compounds:

Dietary Fiber

With 4 grams of fiber in each cup, Chinese eggplant can promote digestive and heart health. Fiber also slows digestion, which stabilizes blood sugar.


Chinese eggplant provides over 10% of the RDI for potassium per serving. This mineral is essential for blood pressure control, muscle function, and heart health.


Eggplants contain chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that may protect cells against damage and lower inflammation. Darker varieties like Chinese eggplant are highest.


This unique antioxidant found in all eggplants has been shown in research to protect brain cell membranes from damage.

Anticancer Effects

Research indicates chlorogenic acid and other compounds in eggplants exhibit anticancer activity, inhibiting tumor cell growth.

Skin Benefits

Eggplant contains vitamin C and phytonutrients that improve skin hydration and may protect against UV damage.

So enjoying Chinese eggplant provides nutrients that go far beyond its stellar carb counts. It’s a well-rounded healthy choice most diets can benefit from.

Tips to Pick and Store Chinese Eggplant

Picking high-quality Chinese eggplants and storing them properly will ensure you get the most nutrition from each serving:

  • Look for smooth, shiny skin without bruises or scratches.
  • Opt for smaller, thinner eggplants which tend to be more tender and less bitter.
  • Ensure a vibrant purple hue. Dull color can indicate age.
  • Store whole eggplants at room temperature for no more than 1-2 days.
  • Refrigerate cut eggplant in airtight container for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze chopped eggplant for 3-6 months.

Proper handling prevents excess bitterness in the eggplant flesh. Enjoy this versatile low-carb veggie often by incorporating into a variety of dishes.

Low-Carb Eggplant Recipe Inspiration

Here are a few delicious recipe ideas that highlight the nutrition benefits of Chinese eggplant:

Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry

Stir fry sliced Chinese eggplant with shrimp, bell peppers, snow peas, and soy-ginger sauce for a fast, healthy meal. Serve over quinoa or cauliflower rice.

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Toss grilled eggplant slices with mixed greens, feta, tomatoes, olives, and red wine vinaigrette.


Saute Chinese eggplant with zucchini, bell peppers, onions, garlic, basil, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Top with parmesan.

Eggplant Manicotti

Replace pasta with long strips of Chinese eggplant, stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Layer sliced eggplant, lentils, tomato sauce, and white sauce in a casserole dish. Bake until bubbling.

Baba Ghanoush

For a lower-carb twist, use Chinese instead of globe eggplant to make this smoky dip.

Teriyaki Eggplant Burgers

Puree steamed Chinese eggplant with ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and teriyaki sauce. Form into patties and pan fry.

The possibilities are endless for preparing Chinese eggplant in low-carb, creative ways the whole family can enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is eggplant a carb?

Eggplants do contain carbohydrates, but are relatively low compared to starchy vegetables. A 1-cup serving of cooked eggplant has about 5-8 grams of carbs depending on variety. Since much of those carbs come from fiber, eggplants have a low glycemic impact.

Is eggplant keto-friendly?

Most types of eggplant, including Chinese, can fit into a keto diet. With only 1 gram of digestible carbs per cup, eggplant is a great low-carb substitute for higher-carb vegetables. Enjoy it baked, roasted, grilled, or in keto-friendly recipes.

Is eggplant good for diabetics?

Yes, eggplant is an excellent choice for diabetics and pre-diabetics due to its low glycemic index of 20. Its fiber and water content allow eggplant to be digested slowly, avoiding spikes in blood sugar.

What is the lowest carb eggplant?

Chinese eggplant tends to be lowest in carbs, with only 5 total grams and 1 gram of digestible carbs per cup cooked. It’s slimmer and less dense than larger varieties.

What is the difference between Chinese and regular eggplant?

Chinese eggplant is smaller, longer, and more slender than traditional globe eggplant. It has thinner, more delicate skin, fewer seeds, and less bitter flavor. The smaller size means slightly fewer carbs and calories than globe.

The Bottom Line

With its low carb content, stellar nutrition, and culinary versatility, Chinese eggplant is an excellent addition to any eating pattern from keto to Mediterranean. Enjoy this delicious veggie fried, roasted, grilled, or baked into all sorts of dishes. Select fresh, unbruised eggplants, store properly, and incorporate often to reap its many benefits.

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