Is eggplant a low carb vegetable?

Eggplant is a popular vegetable that is a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world. With its rich, meaty texture and versatility, eggplant can be enjoyed in everything from appetizers to main dishes and even desserts.

In recent years, low carb diets like keto and paleo have surged in popularity as a way to lose weight, improve health, and better manage conditions like diabetes. This has sparked interest in the carb content of popular foods like eggplant.

So is eggplant low carb? The short answer is yes. Eggplant is low in digestible carbs and can be incorporated into low carb, keto, and paleo diets.

Eggplant Nutrition Facts

Here are the basic nutrition facts for 1 cup (82g) of raw eggplant cubes:

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 4g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Net carbs: 2g

As you can see, eggplant is very low in calories and carbs by volume. A standard serving of 1 cup provides just 4g total carbs and 2g of digestible net carbs.

This puts eggplant firmly in the category of low carb vegetables, meaning it can be included in low carb, ketogenic and paleo diets.

Eggplant Carbs vs. Other Vegetables

To provide some context, here’s how the carb content of eggplant compares to other common vegetables:

Vegetable Net Carbs per 1 Cup
Eggplant 2g
Broccoli 5g
Carrots 8g
Red Bell Pepper 5g
Onion 9g
Tomato 4g

Eggplant clocks in at just 2g net carbs per serving, which is less than most other veggies. The only comparable low carb veggie is tomato.

So eggplant definitely ranks among the lowest carb options in the produce aisle and farmers market.

Fiber Content of Eggplant

One reason eggplant is low in net digestible carbs is its high fiber content.

A 1 cup serving contains 2g of dietary fiber. That’s 8% of the recommended daily value.

Fiber moves through the body undigested, promoting fullness and healthy digestion without any calories or blood sugar impact. It also feeds the healthy gut bacteria in your microbiome.

This high fiber content helps subtract from eggplant’s total carbs and make its net carb count very low.

Glycemic Index of Eggplant

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar to rise after eating it.

Foods are ranked on a scale of 0–100 based on how they compare to pure glucose.

Low glycemic foods have a GI of 55 or less. These foods only cause a gradual, mild uptick in blood sugar.

High GI foods (70+) rapidly spike blood glucose and insulin levels. They’re linked to overeating, fat storage, and diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Eggplant has an extremely low glycemic index of just 15.

This means the carbohydrates in eggplant are very slowly digested. Eggplant only causes a slight, sustained rise in blood sugar that’s unlikely to disrupt metabolic health.

Its stellar glycemic profile makes eggplant an excellent choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, and other metabolic conditions involving blood sugar regulation.

Nutrients in Eggplant

Beyond its low carb and low glycemic properties, eggplant delivers a host of beneficial plant nutrients:


Eggplant gets its deep purple hue from antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. These give eggplant powerful free radical scavenging activity that protects cells from oxidative damage.

Chlorogenic acid

This polyphenol antioxidant may lower blood pressure, combat inflammation, and support healthy cholesterol levels.


Nasunin is a potent antioxidant found specifically in the peel of eggplants. It helps protect brain cell membranes against damage and may support brain health.

Vitamin C

While not remarkably high in vitamin C, eggplant provides some of this essential nutrient. Vitamin C supports immune function and collagen synthesis.


Eggplant contains moderate levels of manganese, a trace mineral that acts as a cofactor for important enzymes related to bone development and metabolism.


In addition to the specific polyphenols mentioned above, eggplant contains a total polyphenol concentration of around 100 mg per 100 grams. Polyphenols are micronutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.


Eggplant provides over 100mg of potassium per cup. Potassium supports healthy fluid balance, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve function.

Cooked vs. Raw Eggplant Carbs

The nutrition values for eggplant cited so far apply to raw eggplant.

But most people eat cooked eggplant, often after salting and draining to remove bitterness and excess water.

Does cooking significantly change the carb content?

According to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked, drained and cubed eggplant contains:

  • Calories: 35
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Net carbs: 4g

As you can see, cooking doubles the total and net carb counts. The fiber content also increases.

Even after cooking, though, the net carb count remains low at just 4g per cup.

This makes cooked eggplant a bit higher in carbs than raw, but still low enough for most low carb diets if eaten in moderation.

Eggplant Carb Count on Keto

The ketogenic or “keto” diet restricts net carbs to 20–50g per day to achieve nutritional ketosis.

With 4g net carbs in a generous 1 cup serving, eggplant can fit into just about any keto diet.

It provides bulk and satiety without excessive carbs. Eggplant is a versatile low carb addition to keto recipes.

Some examples of keto-friendly ways to enjoy eggplant:

  • Baba ghanoush – Charred eggplant dip
  • Eggplant parmesan
  • Stuffed eggplant
  • Eggplant lasagna
  • Ratatouille with zucchini and peppers
  • Eggplant curry

When pairing with other veggies, just account for their carb counts too. Low carb options include zucchini, spinach, tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Eggplant on Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is based on foods presumed to have been available and eaten regularly during early human evolution.

While debatable, most versions of paleo avoid grains, beans, processed foods, and dairy.

As a vegetable, eggplant aligns perfectly with paleo principles. It provides fiber, nutrients, and satiety without starchy carbs or other exclusions.

Enjoying eggplant on paleo is as simple as substituting it for higher carb ingredients in any recipe:

  • Eggplant hummus instead of chickpea hummus
  • Eggplant pizza crust instead of grain-based crust
  • Baked eggplant fries instead of potato fries

Eggplant is a clever way for paleo dieters to enjoy the meaty, substantial texture missing from many grain-free recipes.

Low Carb Substitutes for Eggplant

For people avoiding nightshades or eggplant itself, these make suitable low carb vegetable swaps:

  • Mushrooms – Portobello caps can mimic eggplant in dishes like lasagna or parmesan.
  • Celery root – Grated celery root makes a great substitute for eggplant in ragu or stir fries.
  • Cauliflower – Roast florets until soft and use like eggplant in curry.
  • Zucchini – Spiralized or cubed raw zucchini works for ratatouille.
  • Hearts of palm – Sliced hearts of palm a great eggplant parm substitute.

Each of these alternatives supplies fewer than 5g net carbs per cup so they keep recipes low carb.

Eggplant Recipe Ideas

Here are some tasty and creative ways to enjoy low carb eggplant:

Baba Ghanoush

Char eggplant over an open flame until collapse and mash into a smoky eggplant dip. Pair with cut veggies or use as a sandwich spread.

Eggplant Lasagna

Slice eggplant into thin lengthwise strips. Layer with tomato sauce and cheese to make a classic lasagna without the pasta.

Greek Moussaka

A Greek casserole with layers of eggplant, spiced meat sauce, and creamy béchamel sauce. A comfort food treat.

Low Carb Eggplant Pizza

Top thick slices of roasted eggplant with sauce and cheese for a delicious pizza crust substitute.

Eggplant Fries

Toss eggplant wedges in olive oil, bread them with almond flour, and bake until crispy. A great swap for French fries.

Teriyaki Stir Fry

Stir fry eggplant cubes with bell peppers, broccoli, chicken or beef, and teriyaki sauce. Serve over cauliflower rice.

Eggplant Rollatini

Breadcrumb and stuff wafer thin eggplant medallions for an elegant stuffed eggplant appetizer.

Health Benefits of Eggplant

Beyond its stellar low carb macros, eggplant offers an array of potential wellness benefits:

May promote weight loss

With few calories and carbs per serving, eggplant can support healthy weight loss and maintenance without hunger.

Helps lower cholesterol

Eggplant contains chlorogenic acid, which may support healthy LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Rich in antioxidants

Eggplant provides antioxidants like nasunin and anthocyanins that combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

May reduce risk of cancer

Eggplant is high in fiber and polyphenols that may protect against colon, prostate, breast, and other cancers.

Boosts cognition

The antioxidant nasunin in eggplant peel helps protect brain cell membranes and may enhance cognitive function.

Regulates blood sugar

With a very low glycemic index, eggplant only causes a slight rise in blood sugar that’s safe for diabetes.

Supports digestion

The fiber in eggplant promotes regularity, gut health, and healthy bowel movements.

Risks and Side Effects

Eggplant is generally very safe. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Nightshade sensitivity – Eggplant is a nightshade vegetable, so those with sensitivities may experience digestive upset.
  • Oxalates – Eggplant contains oxalic acid, which can contribute to kidney stones in those prone to them.
  • Salting – Heavy salting to remove bitterness can increase sodium intake dramatically.
  • Allergies – Eggplant allergies are rare but possible.

To minimize risks, monitor your individual tolerance. Peeling eggplant may help reduce oxalates. And opt for low or no salt eggplant dishes.

The Bottom Line

So in summary, is eggplant a low carb vegetable? The answer is a resounding yes.

With only 2g of digestible net carbs and 4g net carbs when cooked per cup, eggplant is one of the lowest carb veggies around.

It can be freely enjoyed as part of low carb, ketogenic, and paleo eating plans.

Eggplant also provides an array of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that offer health perks beyond its awesome macros.

This tasty, versatile nightshade is a stellar way to replace starchy veggies and add delicious volume to low carb meals and recipes.

So if you’re watching carbs for whatever reason, there’s no reason to shy away from the eggplant. Embrace its meaty, substantial goodness in curries, bakes, fries, lasagnas, and more.

Eggplant is most definitely a low carb superstar veggie.

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