Are Pickles Good for Low Carb Diets?


Dieting is never easy and it takes a tremendous amount of discipline. It’s even more difficult when you have no clue what you should and should not eat. So when I was recently asked if pickles are good for keto diets I hesitated before I responded and it was at that moment that I realized that I quite simply had no clue. My curiosity was peaked and I decided that I needed to know, not just for myself, but for those of you who may be wondering the exact same thing.

keto low carb pickles

So, are pickles (keto) low carb? Pickles are made from cucumbers, that have been preserved in a distinct solution (called brine) of vinegar, salt and special seasonings after having been fermented in naturally-occurring bacteria. Pickles contain no fat or protein and practically have no carbs whatsoever, which make them ideal for low carb diets.  What makes pickles so unique is that you can eat them alone or you can eat them with a host of other foods such as:

  • Tuna salad
  • Egg salad
  • Cheese
  • Thin slices of deli meat, for example, beef, ham or turkey. 

Carbs in Pickles:

You might consider having sour cucumber pickles in your keto diet vs sweet cucumber pickles. There are around 2.26 carbs in a portion of 100g of sour cucumber pickles.

Calories in Pickles:

As per the United States Department of Agriculture, there are 11 calories in sour cucumber pickles.

Pickles are delicious, low calorie, filling and quick.  So much so, that it is estimated that approximately 5 million pounds of pickles are consumed everyday around the entire world. 

Regardless of whether you eat pickles alone or whether you pair them with other foods, ultimately, you can still accomplish your overall weight loss goals.  

As you read further, I will explain to you which pickles are the best ones to use for low carb diets and we will also discuss whether or not pickle juice contains any carbs.

low carb keto pickles

What Are the Best Low Carb Pickles? When choosing pickles it is important to consider the salt content and the sugar content before consumption.  When on a low carb diet you do not necessarily need to eliminate salt, however, you must still monitor the intake.  However, you will have to eat a lot of pickles for it to be considered too much salt.  Be sure to check the ingredients for the sugar content.  Sweet pickles contain added sugar so they should be avoided in this instance.  Dill pickles and other sour pickles do not contain sugar.  Dill pickles or any other varieties of naturally fermented pickles would be ideal to use during keto diet for their low carbs.  There are commonly 5 different types of pickles which are:

  • Genuine Dill Pickles
  • Kosher Dill Pickles
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Bread and Butter Pickles (sweet yet briny)
  • Gherkin Pickles 

How Are Pickles Actually Made? The basic ingredients used to make pickles are cucumbers, acids, flavorings, colorants, preservatives and stabilizers.  The cucumbers are transformed into the pickles, whilst the other ingredients make up the pickle juice in which the pickles are stored.  After water, vinegar makes up most of the pickle juice, which is the main contributor to the pickles’ sour taste.  Generally, pickle companies use colorants, preservatives and stabilizers in order to extend the shelf life and also to increase uniformity across batches.

Although it may seem a bit complex the process of pickling has been around for ages and is actually quite simple.  Pickle making can be dated back as far as over 4000 years ago where they were made in India.  Even though we live in a modern era, the basic process is still the same today. 

Does Pickle Juice Have Carbs? Pickle juice is quickly becoming the drink of choice when it comes to replacing traditional sports drinks.  The number of carbs in pickle juice can differ based on what brand you purchase.  Unfortunately, the options are limited since they are not many brands available to choose from.  Primarily, the ingredients in pickle juice are water, vinegar, salt and natural dill flavor, none of which contain any calories or carbs.  One must be wary when purchasing pickle juice since they are some brands that include beets or other ingredients that contain sugar.  One other benefit of pickle juice is that it does not contain and fats or protein

What Are the Health Benefits of Pickle Juice?  Some people believe that pickle juice can aid in reducing menstrual cramps, preventing cancer, reducing the risk of heart disease, soothing sunburns and even curing hangovers.  However, there is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims.

low carb pickles

Some people drink pickle juice for sports related purposes, mainly to prevent muscle cramps and enhance post-workout hydration and aid in lower blood sugar levels if drank directly after meals.  The research conducted in this regard shows mixed effects and since many of the studies were small and limited it is hard to refute the potential health benefits of pickle juice.

Some pickle juice supplements may provide additional minerals.  For instance, Pickle Juice Company’s product includes added vitamin E, which protects blood cells, body tissue and vital fatty acids in the body. 

What Does Pickle Juice Taste Like? Pickle juice, if made at home, would taste just like the liquid from the pickles in the jar.  Because they are very few ingredients in pickle juice, as mentioned above, there is not a great difference in the taste.  Nonetheless, the juice from the store-bought pickles may have a larger amount of sodium and vinegar, which would ultimately give it a more powerful and briny taste.

How to Prepare Pickle Juice at Home? Pickle juice is relatively straightforward to make since they are not many ingredients required.  Generally, cooks use one or two parts water to one part vinegar.  Then salt and spices (usually dill) until the desired taste is achieved.  Sugar is optional.  The ingredients are then combined in a pot and heated on the stove.  Once the juice is finished place it to cool and then store it in the refrigerator.

If you are monitoring your sodium intake, pickle juice may not be the ideal choice in your diet since it is generally high in sodium (depending on the brand).  However, if made it home that sodium intake can be easily managed.

Related Questions:

What Pickles Are Sweet?  Generally speaking, sweet pickles are packed in a sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices.  Also, Bread and Butter pickles are sweet thinly sliced pickles made from cucumbers, onions and chopped green or red peppers.

Should Pickles Be Refrigerated?  Pickles that have been briefly cooked in brine, should always be refrigerated after opening the jar.  Although the salt and vinegar should keep them safe for a while, they will likely go bad if kept at room temperature before you can finish the entire jar.

How Long Do Pickle Cucumbers Last?  Usually, pickled cucumbers last between 1 to 2 years, whether it is opened or unopened (refrigerated). 

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