Is Garlic Keto? Carbs, Calories and Tips

Since ancient times, garlic has been widely used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. It contains sulfur compounds that are believed to positively affect health. But what about its compatibility with a low-carb diet? The keto diet includes a large number of vegetables on its food list, but most of them are green leafy vegetables. So is garlic keto?

Yes, garlic is keto in small amounts. In general, it contains a lot of carbohydrates. Still, we usually use garlic as a seasoning to enhance the flavor of various dishes. If so, you can add garlic to your keto diet in small amounts.

How many carbs are in garlic? What amount of garlic can you eat in a day? Does garlic have benefits for your health? You will find out all the answers to these questions in our article. Keep reading to find out more!

What Is Garlic?

Garlic is a plant from the amaryllis family. The closest relatives of garlic are different types of onions; slightly more distant ones are bulbous flowers such as daffodils and snowdrops. Garlic is used as a medicinal plant and as a delicious aromatic seasoning that has some pungency when raw. It has a distinctive aroma and intense scent. The aroma of garlic is slightly sweet and can range from spicy (smaller cloves) to milder and nutty (larger cloves). With prolonged cooking or frying, garlic loses most of its spicy taste and flavor. In contrast, fresh cloves taste more intense than dried garlic.

The aromatic garlic cloves are usually eaten raw or cooked, depending on your taste: whole, minced, or pressed. They generally suit all spicy dishes and have an overall flavor-enhancing effect. Garlic is delicious in keto tomato saucesketo hummus, curries, tomato dishes, various soups, rice and noodle dishes, and boiled grains. It goes well with potatoes, avocados, olives, mushrooms, and various other vegetables. It is also great for use in marinades. Garlic opens up its aroma best with herbs from Mediterranean cuisine (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, sage), as well as ginger, pepper, chili, and various curry spices.

Is Garlic Keto?

So, garlic is not one of the green leafy vegetables that are allowed on the keto diet. Is garlic keto? 100 grams of garlic contains:

  • 143 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of fat
  • 28 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 25 grams of net carbs.

Based on these numbers, we can say that garlic is not keto because 100 grams of it contains too many net carbs. However, how often do you eat 100 grams of garlic? I doubt you do. We usually use 1-2 cloves of garlic as a seasoning for our main dishes. 1-2 cloves of garlic contain about 3-4 net carbs, depending on their size, which is fine for a low-carb diet. Therefore, we can say that garlic is keto in moderate amounts. Moreover, it is a delicious addition to many keto dishes, as the aroma of garlic adds flavor and variety to them.

Garlic Health Benefits

Garlic has many beneficial properties. It strengthens the immune system, helps fight various colds, protects the cardiovascular system, and kills bacteria.

100 grams of garlic contains various vitamins and minerals (% of the daily value):

  • Vitamin E – 0.1 g (1%)
  • choline – 23.2 mg (4%)
  • vitamin C – 31.2 mg (35%)
  • iron – 1.7 mg (8%)
  • vitamin K – 1.7 mg (1%)
  • vitamin B6 – 1.2 mg (95%)
  • magnesium – 25 mg (7%)
  • calcium – 181 mg (18%)
  • phosphorus – 153 mg (20%)
  • manganese – 1.67 mg (80%)
  • copper – 300 mcg (30%).

Let’s take a closer look at the science-based benefits of garlic for your health.

Helps Fight Bacteria

The main active ingredient in garlic is allicin, which gives it a special bright smell. It is one of the first antibiotics that humanity has begun to use to treat various infections. Allicin has been shown to effectively kill staphylococcus aureus, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and parasites such as schistosomes or amoeba that cause dysentery. There are cases when, even before the invention of antibiotics, inhalation of fresh garlic helped in the treatment of tuberculosis [1]. It has also been proven that allicin works well even against multidrug-resistant pathogens [2].

In this case, allicin is a volatile compound that spreads through the gas environment. Therefore, garlic does not need to be applied to the affected area. Instead, it enters your respiratory tract and lungs with your breath, including from the stomach.

In fact, it is not allicin itself that is contained in garlic, but its precursor, which is converted to allicin by mechanical action during chopping, chewing, slicing, or grinding. It is a very unstable substance, and it quickly volatilizes or disintegrates. At a temperature of 73F degrees, it collapses in 16 hours, and when cooking above 170F, it collapses almost instantly.

Therefore, to achieve an antibacterial effect, you must eat garlic fresh. The surest way to tell if there is any allicin in the garlic is to smell it. If the aroma is weak, then such garlic has less benefit.

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Garlic reduces the health risks associated with high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets in several ways. It slows down the total production of cholesterol and stimulates the absorption of “bad” cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension [3]. A 4-year study showed that people who received 900 mg of garlic powder per day increased their “good” cholesterol levels by 8%, and their “bad” cholesterol levels decreased by 4%. Moreover, their blood pressure decreased by 7% [4].

However, this does not mean that you can eat processed foods that raise bad cholesterol and try to neutralize these effects by adding garlic to your nutrition. In addition, foods containing trans fats and sugars are not healthy foods, even if you eat them with garlic.

Helps Fight Colds

We all know that garlic is useful for various colds. But how exactly does garlic help you deal with these ailments? Colds are affected by another special property of allicin – effectiveness against various respiratory tract diseases. In addition, one large study found that taking a daily garlic supplement reduced the incidence of colds by 63%. The average duration of common cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from five days in the placebo group to one and a half days in the group of people regularly taking garlic [5].

Another experiment showed that 2.5 grams of aged garlic per day reduced the number of cold or flu days by 61% [6]. Thus, we can conclude that regular use of raw garlic helps your body to recover faster from respiratory diseases.

Reduces the Risk of Gallstone Disease

A group of substances found in garlic helps thin bile and prevents gallstones [7]. Most often, gallstone disease develops due to too large amounts of unhealthy fat in the diet. So this is another scientific reason for eating garlic along with bacon and other high-fat foods.

Protects Heart and Liver

Garlic is good for the human cardiovascular system and has a beneficial effect on lowering blood cholesterol levels. It is useful for high blood pressure and reduces the risk of clots in blood vessels. In addition, studies have shown that substances contained in garlic increase the production of liver enzymes necessary for the metabolism of drugs [8]. Garlic has also been shown to protect the liver from drug toxins and heavy metals [9].

Contraindications to Garlic

You should limit the use of garlic for exacerbations of gastrointestinal tract diseases, such as gastritis, stomach, and duodenal ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Besides, individual intolerances and allergic reactions that provoke indigestion are also possible.

Can overeating garlic harm you? It is unlikely that such a useful product cannot do harm if consumed in too large quantities. Garlic belongs to a group of foods called “bitterness”: onions, garlic, mustard, arugula, etc. They have good choleretic properties, but this process should not be left uncontrolled. Do not overuse garlic for stones in the gallbladder and duct system. It is better to consult a gastroenterologist about it because, in this way, you will be able to adequately assess the possible benefits and risks.

Large amounts of garlic can increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulants. In this case, you need to be very careful when treating food additives with garlic.

Yummy Bonus: Keto Garlic Bread

Missing garlic breadsticks on keto? Want to make a sandwich but worry about carbohydrates? A simple step-by-step garlic keto bread recipe is a must-have for anyone on a keto diet. Soft, tender, flavorful, crispy… Easy to prepare, serve with soups, make bruschetta, or just use as a low-carb snack. This delicious treat has just 1 g of carbs per one bun.

Cooking time: 65 min

Servings: 10 buns (20 slices of bread)

Ingredients

  • Almond flour 125 g
  • Boiling water 100 ml
  • Butter 100 g
  • Egg white 3 pcs
  • Psyllium 5 tbsp
  • Chopped parsley 2 tbsp
  • A clove of garlic 2 pcs
  • Apple cider vinegar 2 tsp
  • Baking powder 2 tsp
  • Sea salt 1 tsp

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add vinegar, egg whites, and boiling water to the dry ingredients. Mix this combination with a blender for 30-60 seconds.

Form 10 balls of dough with wet hands and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Grease the dough with butter and place it in the oven.

Then bake the rolls on the lower shelf in the oven for 40-50 minutes. The buns are ready when the crust is hard, and you will hear a dull sound when tapping on the bottom. The exact baking time depends on your oven, and I recommend baking the buns without convection.

While the bread is baking, cook the garlic butter. Take soft butter, squeeze the garlic into it, and add parsley and a pinch of salt. Stir well and refrigerate. Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool. Take the garlic butter from the refrigerator, cut the cooled buns in half, and spread the garlic butter on each half.

Turn on the oven at 420F and bake the garlic bread for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy this delicious bread with cheese, vegetables, or ham and try different combinations. I like to add some pesto, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Conclusion

As you can see, garlic is a very healthy addition to your keto diet as it contains many healthy substances. However, keep in mind that just like carrots on keto, you can only eat small amounts of garlic, no more than 1-2 cloves per day. So use garlic as a flavorful addition to different low-carb foods and enjoy variety during your keto diet!

 

Sources:

  1. Reiter, J., Borlinghaus, J., Dörner, P., Schröder, W., Gruhlke, M.C., Klaas, M., & Slusarenko, A.J. (2020). Investigation of the deposition behaviour and antibacterial effectivity of allicin aerosols and vapour using a lung model. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 19, 1541-1549. (https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2019.8387)
  2. Magryś, A., Olender, A., & Tchórzewska, D. (2021). Antibacterial properties of Allium sativum L. against the most emerging multidrug-resistant bacteria and its synergy with antibiotics. Archives of microbiology203(5), 2257–2268. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00203-021-02248-z)
  3. M. Zahid Ashraf, M.E. Hussain, M. Fahim, Antiatherosclerotic effects of dietary supplementations of garlic and turmeric: Restoration of endothelial function in rats, Life Sciences, Volume 77, Issue 8, 2005, Pages 837-857, ISSN 0024-3205, (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2004.11.039
  4. Siegel G, Walter A, Engel S, Walper A, Michel F. Pleiotropic effects of garlic, Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946). 1999 ;149(8-10):217-224. (PMID: 10483684)
  5. Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;18(4):189-93. (doi:10.1007/BF02850113. PMID: 11697022.)
  6. Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE, Creasy RA, Stanilka JM, Percival SS. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;31(3):337-44. (doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.11.019.) Epub 2012 Jan 24. PMID: 22280901.
  7. Vidyashankar S, Sambaiah K, Srinivasan K. Dietary garlic and onion reduce the incidence of atherogenic diet-induced cholesterol gallstones in experimental mice. Br J Nutr. 2009 Jun;101(11):1621-9. (doi:10.1017/S0007114508118748.) Epub 2008 Nov 5. PMID: 18983715.
  8. Craig D. Fisher, Lisa M. Augustine, Jonathan M. Maher, David M. Nelson, Angela L. Slitt, Curtis D. Klaassen, Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, and Nathan J. Cherrington. Drug Metabolism and Disposition June 2007, 35 (6) 995-1000; (DOI:https://doi.org/10.1124/dmd.106.014340)
  9. Fanelli SL, Castro GD, de Toranzo EG, Castro JA. Mechanisms of the preventive properties of some garlic components in the carbon tetrachloride-promoted oxidative stress. Diallyl sulfide; diallyl disulfide; allyl mercaptan, and allyl methyl sulfide. Research Communications in Molecular Pathology and Pharmacology. 1998 Nov;102(2):163-174. (PMID: 10100508.)

About

Ana Rinkevich is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and weight loss. Over the past 10 years, she has used various methods to deal with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and eating disorders. Proud keto follower for 6 years - lost 100 pounds and fought insulin resistance. Ana shares her experience, tips, and motivation to help people use eating habits for better health and harmony with the body.