As far as health food goes, tomatoes are pretty amazing. They’re refreshing, low-calorie (22 calories per medium whole tomato), and chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants like vitamin A, C, K, which are all crazy good for you. But we had to ask, are tomatoes actually keto-friendly?
Since tomatoes are so healthy, you would think they’re perfect for the keto diet, right? Previously reported by Men’s Health, lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps protect your prostate and reduce free radicals that cause skin damage and aging.
Even better, if you cook your tomatoes, their lycopene levels go up, so enjoying fresh tomato sauce, tomato paste, and even ketchup boosts its protective factors.
Japanese researchers also found that tomatoes can help break down lipids in the bloodstream, reducing the risk of vascular diseases like stroke and heart disease.
It’d be remiss to say that rumors haven’t tried to slander the humble tomato’s reputation. Some folks claim that fruits and vegetables in the nightshade family (like tomatoes) are actually bad for you and can cause inflammation, but that simply isn’t true.
In a 2014 study from the Illinois Institute of Technology, subjects ate two meals: one containing tomatoes and another without. Researchers found that the subjects’ inflammation levels were actually significantly lower after the tomato meal.
With all of that said, are tomatoes still safe to have on the keto diet? This is what one of our nutrition experts had to say.
Can you eat tomatoes on the keto diet?
“Tomatoes are keto,” says Abby Langer, R.D., author of Good Food, Bad Diet. “They’re low in carbs, so they fit perfectly into keto.”
One whole medium tomato contains roughly 5 grams of carbohydrates, of which 1.5 grams are fiber and 3 grams are sugar.
If you’re eating keto, your goal is to enter a state of ketosis (a fat-burning state kickstarted by reducing your protein and carb intake). In this case, only 10 percent of your calorie intake should comes from carbs, leaving you to 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day to stay in that state. One tomato is barely a quarter of that limit, so there’s little to stress about.
Go ahead, have a tomato, or three.
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