Is cooked cabbage keto friendly?

Cabbage is a popular vegetable that is often used in keto diets. It is low in carbohydrates and can fit into a ketogenic lifestyle. But is cooked cabbage also keto friendly? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts andcarb content of cooked cabbage to find out.

Nutrition Facts of Raw and Cooked Cabbage

First, let’s examine the nutrition facts of raw and cooked cabbage per 100 grams:

Nutrient Raw Cabbage Cooked Cabbage
Calories 25 29
Net Carbs 3.1 g 4.4 g
Fiber 2.5 g 2.9 g
Sugar 1.4 g 1.8 g

As you can see, raw and cooked cabbage are very low in net carbohydrates. Cooked cabbage contains slightly more net carbs and sugar compared to raw, but the differences are minimal.

Effects of Cooking on Cabbage

When cabbage is cooked, some changes happen to the vegetable on a chemical level. The main effects of cooking cabbage include:

  • Softens the texture – Cooking softens and partially breaks down cabbage’s cell walls.
  • Enhances flavor – Cooked cabbage has a more mellow, sweet flavor than raw.
  • Increases digestibility – The softer cooked texture and cell wall changes make cooked cabbage easier to digest.
  • Retains nutrients – Many nutrients like vitamin C and folate are heat sensitive and degrade during cooking. However, cooked cabbage retains a good nutritional profile.
  • Inactivates enzymes – Compounds in raw cabbage can interfere with thyroid function for some. Cooking inactivates these enzymes.

Overall, cooking provides both benefits and drawbacks nutritionally. But for low carb diets, the impact is minimal.

Net Carbs in Cooked Cabbage

Here are the net carb counts in 1 cup chopped, cooked cabbage (156 grams):

  • Total carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams

With just 4 grams of net carbs per cup, cooked cabbage can easily fit into a keto diet. It’s on par with low carb vegetables like zucchini, spinach, and kale.

Keto Macros in Cooked Cabbage

Let’s look at the macros in 1 cup cooked cabbage:

  • Calories: 33
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Net carbs: 4 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g

Cabbage is very low in calories, fat, and protein. Its main macronutrient is net carbs. The ratio works out to:

  • 4% calories from fat
  • 48% calories from net carbs
  • 18% calories from protein

This macro ratio aligns well with a keto diet. Keto macros often aim for 70-80% calories from fat, 15-25% from protein, and 5-10% from net carbs.

Glycemic Index of Cooked Cabbage

The glycemic index (GI) measures how much a food raises blood sugar. Low GI foods less than 55 have a minimal impact on blood glucose.

Cooked cabbage has an estimated GI of 10. This very low GI food will not spike blood sugar levels.

Keto Vegetable Comparisons

How does cooked cabbage compare to other popular low carb vegetables?

Vegetable Net Carbs Glycemic Index
Cabbage (cooked) 4 g 10
Broccoli (cooked) 3 g 10
Asparagus (cooked) 4 g 15
Zucchini (cooked) 3 g 15

Cooked cabbage has a similar low carb, low GI profile as other popular keto veggies. This makes it a smart choice for low carb and ketogenic meal plans.

Keto Cabbage Recipes

Here are some tasty keto-friendly recipe ideas using cooked cabbage:

  • Cabbage stir fry – Saute cabbage with garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce or coconut aminos. Add protein of choice like chicken, beef, or shrimp.
  • Stuffed cabbage rolls – Wrap ground meat and seasonings in cabbage leaves and bake with tomato sauce.
  • Egg roll in a bowl – “Unwrap” egg rolls by cooking ground meat and shredded cabbage with ginger, garlic andAsian seasonings.
  • Cabbage soup – Simmer cabbage with bone broth, onions, and seasoning. Top withCheddar cheese or bacon.
  • Sauteed cabbage and kielbasa – Brown sliced cabbage and Polish sausage.Season simply with salt and pepper.
  • Braised cabbage – Melt butter in a pan, add chopped cabbage and a splash of broth. Simmer until tender.

The options are endless for low carb cabbage dishes. Its mild flavor pairs well with meat, cheese, garlic, ginger, butter, olive oil, nuts, and all kinds of herbs and spices.

Potential Digestive Effects

For some people, eating large amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables like cabbage may contribute to digestive issues like bloating and gas. This is due to the high fiber and raffinose sugar content.

Cooking cabbage breaks down some of the raffinose sugars and fiber, making it easier on digestion. So cooked cabbage may be better tolerated than raw.

Nutritional Benefits

Here are some of the top nutrients found in cooked cabbage:

  • Vitamin C – 1 cup cooked cabbage has over 50% DV. Supportsimmunity and tissue health.
  • Vitamin K – Provides over 60% DV. Important for blood clotting.
  • Folate – Provides 10% DV. Crucial for pregnancy andred blood cell production.
  • Potassium – 10% DV per cup. Helps regulate fluid balance and heart function.
  • Antioxidants – Contains beneficial compounds like kaempferol, quercetin, and sulforaphane.

Cooked cabbage retains a good amount of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (though lower than raw).

Downsides of Cooked Cabbage

There are a couple potential downsides to cooked cabbage:

  • Lower nutrient content than raw – Water-soluble vitamins like C and B-vitamins are reduced with cooking.
  • Higher net carb content – Cooking can increase net carbs by softening fiber.
  • Not ideal for thyroid issues – Cooked cabbage may provide goitrogens that interfere with thyroid function in sensitive individuals.

However, for most people following a keto diet, these are not major concerns and cooked cabbage remains a smart low carb choice.

Is Cooked Cabbage Keto?

Based on its low carb content, excellent nutrition, and versatility, cooked cabbage is an excellent keto-friendly vegetable.

Here is a summary:

  • Very low in net carbs and calories
  • Provides fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Has a very low glycemic index and won’t spike blood sugar
  • Can be incorporated into all kinds of keto recipes
  • Offers similar nutrition profile to other keto veggies

While cooking does lower some of the nutrient content of raw cabbage, the differences are not significant enough to make cooked cabbage off-limits for a ketogenic diet.

For best results, enjoy a balance of both raw and cooked cabbage to obtain optimal nutrition.

Healthy Keto Cabbage Side Dishes

Here are some nutritious and tasty keto-friendly side dishes featuring cooked cabbage:

1. Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon

  • Cook chopped bacon in a pan until crispy.
  • Add chopped cabbage and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

2. Creamy Roasted Cabbage Wedges

  • Cut a head of cabbage into thick wedges.
  • Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, top with Parmesan and cream cheese.

3. Cheesy Cabbage Gratin

  • Chop cabbage and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a baking dish and top with heavy cream and shredded cheese.
  • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes until bubbly and browned.

Potential Health Benefits

In addition to its stellar nutrient profile, studies suggest cooked cabbage offers some potential health benefits:

  • Supports digestion – Fermentable fiber feeds gut bacteria and helps prevent constipation.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Contains compounds that help regulate inflammatoryprocesses.
  • Antioxidant properties – May reduce oxidative stress and lower risk of certain cancers.
  • Detoxification support – Compounds help activate and regulate detoxification enzymes.
  • Blood sugar control – The fiber slows digestion, preventing unhealthy spikes in blood sugar.

Keep in mind that many of these benefits are based on preliminary research. But cooked cabbage appears to be highly nutritious and beneficial as part of a healthy diet.

Common Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cooked cabbage and the keto diet:

1. Does cooked cabbage cause gas?

For some people, cabbage is one of the vegetables most associated with gassiness and bloating. Cooking cabbage thoroughly softens the vegetable and makes it easier to digest and less likely to cause issues. Adding fennel, cumin, ginger or caraway seeds to cooked cabbage dishes can also help reduce gas.

2. What are good cooked cabbage substitutes?

If cabbage doesn’t agree with you, try swapping it for cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or kale in recipes. These all work well as substituted for cooked cabbage.

3. How long does cooked cabbage last?

Cooked cabbage will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To extend the shelf life, freeze cooked cabbage for 2-3 months.

4. What nutrients are lost when cooking cabbage?

Cooking cabbage reduces some vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins. Mineral content remains stable. Light steaming or sautéing helps preserve more nutrients than boiling.

5. Does cooking cabbage reduce goitrogens?

Goitrogens are compounds found in raw cruciferous veggies that may interfere with thyroid function. Cooking cabbage inactivates these goitrogenic compounds. Those with thyroid issues may tolerate cooked cabbage better.


Cooked cabbage is an excellent low carb vegetable for keto. With only 4 grams of net carbs and 29 calories per cooked cup, it fits seamlessly into ketogenic meal plans.

While cooking does lower some heat-sensitive nutrients in cabbage, it retains a stellar nutritional profile. Cooked cabbage provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds. It has a very low glycemic index as well, making it ideal for regulating blood sugar.

Cabbage’s mild flavor allows it to work in all sorts of keto recipes from soups and stir fries to casseroles and side dishes. Cook cabbage by steaming, sautéing, braising, roasting, or boiling for tender texture with a mellow sweetness.

For the most nutrients, enjoy cabbage both raw and cooked. But cooked cabbage is certainly keto diet approved. Its versatility, nutrition, and satisfaction makes it a budget-friendly staple low carb vegetable.

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