Navigating what foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet can be a minefield, especially when you first begin your new diet and are still adapting.
Edamame beans are legumes with a unique and impressive nutritional profile.
However, if you’re not familiar with the nutritional value of edamame, you might be wondering: Is edamame keto?
In this article, I will explore whether edamame is suitable for consumption on the ketogenic diet, alongside why you might want to consider incorporating them into your diet.
Let’s get into it.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is often used for weight loss, although there are a variety of health benefits associated with it, too.
When you’re on the ketogenic diet, your body is flipped into ketosis. Ketosis is a process when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, so it burns fat instead.
You must sustain a low carb intake (around 50 grams of carbs or less per day) in order for your body to maintain ketosis, as failure to do so will result in your body resorting to burning carbs as opposed to fat for energy.
What Is Edamame?
Edamame is a whole soybean that hasn’t been allowed to mature and fall into the legume category.
They are green in color and tend to be used more like a vegetable, often being served in noodle dishes, salads, soups, and stews, or on their own.
Typically speaking, edamame beans are sold inside their inedible pods. That being said, you can buy bags of shelled edamame beans that don’t have the pods.
Edamame is often sold in sushi restaurants, as well as a variety of Japanese and Chinese restaurants, primarily as a starter or side.
There are a variety of different ways that you can cook edamame, as it can be boiled, blanched, steamed, microwaved, or pan-fried.
When it comes to the term ‘healthy,’ edamame is a controversial food.
While it is considered a healthy food by many, the many ways in which it can be served can affect the nutritional profile of edamame significantly.
In addition to this, edamame has a very interesting nutritional profile that muddies the water slightly when it comes to determining whether you’d like to include it in your ketogenic diet.
Is Edamame Keto?
Edamame is a legume, and legumes are typically thought of as being too rich in carbs to be part of a keto diet.
That being said, edamame beans are considered unique, which makes them a hot topic of debate within the ketogenic community.
This primarily comes down to the fact that as well as being a high-carb food, they are also rich in dietary fiber, helping to balance out their overall carbohydrate content.
This is important to mention because dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that moves through your body and adds bulk to your stool as opposed to being digested by your body.
However, this comes with the caveat that to remain suitable, edamame beans need to be prepared in conjunction with the ketogenic diet.
This comes down to the fact that not all preparations of edamame are suitable for the keto diet. As a result, it’s not right to say that edamame is keto, as in many instances it isn’t.
When ordering edamame in restaurants, the shells of edamame are often topped with salt and seasoned glazes.
When edamame is prepared this way, especially when it comes to recipes that use sugar or flour, this can significantly affect the overall carb count.
It can be difficult to get enough micronutrients into your diet on a strict keto diet, as diets like keto often exclude a variety of different vegetables.
Provided you eat edamame beans in moderation, they can make a good keto snack depending on your preferences.
However, many people on strict keto diets avoid them, instead preferring to eat other snacks that are lower in carbohydrates.
Whether you incorporate or exclude edamame beans from your ketogenic diet depends on how strict you are as a keto, but there are ways of preparing edamame while still ensuring that you remain in ketosis.
Why Should You Consider Adding Edamame To Your Keto Diet?
With such a unique nutritional profile, there are many benefits to including edamame in your diet that you might not have considered if you’re following a ketogenic diet.
For instance, edamame beans have a low glycemic index, meaning that they won’t spike your blood sugar like a variety of other carbs can.
In addition to this, edamame beans contain essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, and potassium, meaning they are great for helping to maintain your overall health. When you’re already on a strict diet such as keto, this can be a real boost.
Many people consider edamame a protein powerhouse.
This comes down to the fact that a ½ cup serving of edamame contains a whopping 8 grams of protein, making it an excellent source of protein and a great food for both vegetarians and vegans.
How Much Edamame Should You Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?
A successful ketogenic diet should consist of around 75% fat. A downside to edamame is that as a snack, it is relatively low in fat.
As a result, when it comes to snacking on it whilst on a ketogenic diet, you should make sure that you balance it out with other foods that are higher in fat.
These foods can include nuts such as macadamia nuts, avocados, and a variety of nut butters such as almond and peanut butter.
That being said, you can still enjoy edamame in moderation whilst following a keto diet you will just need to ensure that you prepare the edamame beans appropriately.
When eaten in moderation, edamame beans can be eaten on a ketogenic diet whilst still keeping you in ketosis.
However, despite the fact it can be considered keto, many ways of preparing edamame beans make them unsuitable for a ketogenic diet.
Where you stand on the debate and whether you incorporate edamame beans into your ketogenic diet is entirely up to you.
That being said, if you’re interested in incorporating edamame into your ketogenic diet in moderation and as a special treat occasionally, you will need to be careful to follow ketogenic guidelines to ensure that it is still a suitable choice.