Is Edamame Keto?
Written by Tony Lozzi
on January 05, 2021
Is edamame keto
Yes - sort of. First and foremost, edamame is a legume, and strictly speaking, we don't want beans on a keto diet. Even though most beans are packed with fiber and protein, they're just too carby to eat and still reasonably maintain ketosis. The difference between black or kidney beans and edamame, however, is the fiber profile. Edamame packs significantly more fiber than most other legumes - around 4 of the 9 grams of carbs per serving are fiber.
So while you shouldn't be eating edamame with each meal, it is a healthy side or snack - in moderation.
Keto rating of edamame: Okay
It's ok in small amounts. Edamame is the type of food that you sometimes just crave. Something about the ritual of popping the salty pods and getting the plump little beans inside is very satisfying. Still, a half-cup serving of hulled beans is 9 carbs and 4 fiber. If you're keeping your carbs in the "target" area of 20g or less net carbs per day, that's 1/4 of your allotment for some soybeans.
Edamame is healthy, to be sure - it's nutritious and protein-packed - but it's still a bean and should be treated as such.
Examining edamame for keto dieters
Edamame is nutritionally dense and there are many health benefits to including it in your diet. The most basic fact is that it's full of antioxidant phytochemicals and a large amount of your daily vitamin A, as well as a great amount of protein per serving - roughly 11g per 1/2 cup of shelled beans.
The fiber in these soybeans does a lot of work, too - beyond just making them a little better for your carb count, fiber is incredibly important for your body, both in ketosis and not. Your good gut bacteria crave fiber; while you can't really get energy from it, it's their favorite food. Better food for them means more of the gut bacteria that help keep you healthy and losing weight. More of them means less of the bad bacteria that crave sugar and processed food.
Additionally, fiber does seem to have a positive effect on blood sugar, and it digests slowly, helping to keep you full for longer.
Are all methods of serving edamame the same for the keto diet?
The most common way people eat edamame is usually boiled or steamed, with the pods lightly salted. This method is the best way to eat edamame on the keto diet, for several reasons:
- Soybeans in the pod take longer to eat. Like sunflower seeds in the shells, this method keeps you from overeating them.
- Boiled or steamed edamame won't have any extra calories, carbs, or fat - just the beans and nothing but the beans.
- Eating them more slowly due to the intact shell means you'll get full faster, eating less of them overall.
There are some methods of preparation that fry edamame but that usually includes seed oils - which are almost all highly unhealthy - and breading of some type, which isn't keto. Additionally, you might find a type of soybean paste or mash made from edamame, and that concentrates the carbs, which will cause you to eat far more than you want to. This method also might subtract some of that vitally important fiber as well.
If you're eating edamame on keto, stick to boiled or steamed beans in the pod.
Edamame for the keto diet
The nice thing about edamame is that it's pretty easy to find frozen in most grocery stores. There are no specific brands that you should pay attention to - your store's brand of soybeans should be just fine. The one thing you might look for in the steamer bags since you can just throw these in the microwave and steam them without fussing around with pots and pans. These bags are often limited to two or three servings as well, so it would be harder to overeat.
Edamame nutritional facts for keto dieters
Per 1/2 cup (75 grams) serving:
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 4g
- Protein: 10g
- Carbs: 9g
- Sugar: 1.3g
- Dietary Fiber: 4g
- Sugar alcohols: 0g
Edamame products to try on keto
If you've got a traditional grocery store near you, frozen edamame should be easy to find. These are some of the better options, but if you can't find these exact ones, anything that just lists edamame and salt in the ingredients (whole bean pods or shelled ones) works just fine.
- These bags are 10oz, perfect for a family dinner or a snack with some leftovers. They steam directly in the bag and you can add your salt and then dump them out into a big bowl. Just remember to bring another bowl for your shells.
- While we suggest you make your own steamed edamame to control portion sizes, these bags are 1/2 cup servings (or just slightly more), so you can eat exact amounts and still feel good about it. They're great for on-the-go snacking when you don't have a microwave nearby.
- These are suggested with a warning - it is very easy to eat salty, crunchy edamame in excess, so be sure you portion these out. However, since they're dry-roasted, the net carb amount is very low. They're highly snackable which is both good and bad, but they're okay in moderation.
Edamame recipes for the keto diet
While edamame is delicious steamed and salted by itself, here are a few keto-friendly edamame recipes to try.
- This recipe uses soy sauce and the nutty flavor of toasted sesame oil to add some dimension to your normal boiled or steamed edamame without adding carbs.
- Mixing it up by adding a small amount of olive oil and your favorite spices can make edamame delicious and spicy!
- This recipe requires you to hull the soybeans so be mindful of the total serving size you're eating, but this crispy, savory recipe is great for adding to salads.
There really aren't many alternatives to edamame but chickpeas are a decent approximation. Chickpeas - or garbanzo beans - can be roasted and eaten like edamame, but again, in moderation. They also have a higher carb count per serving, so be mindful.
Soybeans in general have fewer carbs and more protein than other legumes, so canned black soybeans aren't a bad choice if you want something bean-adjacent on keto but without the carb counts.
Edamame is nutritious and fine for keto, in small amounts. The bacteria in your digestive tract will thank you for the healthy fiber snacks, and you'll stay full for a long time. They're gluten free, high in fiber and protein, and low in net carbs - perfect for when you simply can't eat another piece of bacon on keto.
Author: Tony Lozzi
Tony Lozzi is a keto adherent who lost over 200 pounds cutting carbs and lifting weights. He has researched low carb eating for over 10 years and runs www.fit2father.com, a keto blog dedicated to helping others lose weight with keto. He lives in the US with his wife, kids, and various cats.