Are Bell Peppers Keto? Carbs and Calories in Bell Peppers


bell peppers carbs

Bell peppers are so versatile, they can be enjoyed both either raw or cooked.  Enjoy them stuffed, sautéed, or simply sliced and served raw with dip.  Red peppers can even be dried and ground into paprika.  

The bright colors and tangy flavor of bell peppers makes a wonderful addition to many dishes, sauces, soups, stews, and salads.  Green bell peppers are lower in carbs and have a sharper taste because they’re actually unripe peppers picked before maturity.  They turn orange and yellow as they begin to ripen on the vine and then bright red once they’re fully ripened.  At this stage, they’re at their sweetest.   

There is a wide range of powerful antioxidants found in bell peppers that help your body fight off chronic diseases, like cancer.  What’s more, these colourful veggies contain a substance called capsaicin that can actually raise your metabolism and burn fat.  In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into some of the research behind bell peppers and how they can aid in weight loss. 

If you’re following the latest low carb craze, you might be wondering if there is a place for bell peppers on your Keto diet menu.  Keep reading to find out about their carb content and learn how to incorporate them into low carb cooking. You’re sure to love the recipe for Keto Spicy Beef Stuffed Peppers included later in this article.

Is Bell Peppers Keto Friendly?

Most of the carbs in bell peppers come from natural sugars, such as glucose and fructose, so they’re not quite low in carbs… But, they’re not exactly high in carbs either.  One medium-sized pepper can contain around 4-7 grams of carbs, which falls somewhere in the middle on the carb scale.  Bell peppers also contain a decent amount of fiber, to help offset those carbs. 

If you’re watching carbs strictly, opt for the green variety of peppers over the red ones as green peppers contain fewer carbs.  While one cup of chopped red bell pepper contains 6 grams of carbs, the same amount of chopped green pepper contains only 5 grams of carbs.  Sure, it may not be very significant carb savings; but in the long run, every little bit counts.

How Many Carbs are in Bell Peppers?

One cup (149 grams) of chopped red pepper contains 9 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber.  If you’re following a strict low carb diet, you can consume bell peppers in moderation. 

How Many Calories are in Bell Peppers?             

A 3.5-ounce serving (100 grams) of raw, red bell peppers contains 31 calories.  If you munch on sliced raw bell peppers with dips like ranch dressing or hummus, it will significantly increase the calorie count.  If you’re watching your calories, measure out a serving size of dip and stick to a tablespoon or two.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 100 grams of Red Bell Pepper, chopped
Calories 28
Total Fat 0.2 grams 0%
Saturated fat 0 grams 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 grams
Monounsaturated fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams 0%
Sodium 2 milligrams 0%
Potassium 166 milligrams 4%
Total Carbohydrate 7 grams 2%
Dietary fiber 1.2 grams 4%
Sugar 4.4 grams
Protein 0.9 grams 1%
Vitamin A 58% Vitamin C 285%
Calcium 0% Iron 2%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 10%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 2%

Health Benefits

bell peppers calories

Overview of Nutrients

Bell peppers are rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C – One medium-sized red bell pepper offers over 150% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin C.  This veggie is one of the richest dietary sources of vitamin C on the planet!
  • Vitamin B6 – A vitamin used by your body to form healthy red blood cells.
  • Vitamin K1 – A form of vitamin K that is vital for bone health.  It also assists in blood coagulation, an essential process in wound healing.
  • Potassium – A mineral and an electrolyte that aids muscles function and promotes heart health.
  • Folate – Also called vitamin B9, a vitamin that is essential for your body, especially for women during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin E – A powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy nerves and muscles.  
  • Vitamin A – Also called beta carotene, this vitamin supports healthy eyesight, skin, and immunity.

A Powerhouse of Antioxidants

Bell peppers are also rich in the following antioxidants:

Capsanthin – Especially high in red bell peppers, this a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent inflammation, improves cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar.

Violaxanthin – A carotenoid antioxidant that helps lower the risk of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, infectious diseases, and cataracts.

Lutein – While abundant in green bell peppers, this antioxidant is not found in red or orange bell peppers. Adequate intake of this antioxidant supports eye health.

Quercetin – A polyphenol antioxidant that has been extensively researched for its ability to fight off chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.

Luteolin – Similar to quercetin, this polyphenol antioxidant that offers a number of health benefits, such as a lower risk of developing chronic diseases.

Supports Healthy Vision

Certain carotenoids found in bell peppers, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, promote healthy eyesight.  A large body of research indicates that adequate intake of these carotenoids reduces the risk of two common age-related eye diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration. Therefore adding bell peppers to your diet could help prevent visual impairments as you age.

Prevents Anemia

A common cause of anemia is iron deficiency, which can cause muscle weakness and lethargy.  Red bell peppers a good source of iron and especially high in vitamin C, a vitamin that helps your gut absorb iron from food.

Side Effects

bell peppers keto

When eaten in moderation, bell peppers do not have any adverse health effects. However, they may trigger allergies in some people.  Try to purchase organically grown produce and always wash your peppers well to remove any pesticides.

Keto Spicy Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of butter to grease the baking dish.
  • 4 bell peppers of any variety (green peppers are lower in carbs)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2  cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons  cumin
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Fresh chives, diced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease a medium-sized baking dish.
  2. Wash the peppers and cut them in half, lengthwise.  Discard the seeds.
  3. Place the peppers in the baking dish, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  4. Heat the rest of the other tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry until fragrant and translucent.
  5. Brown the ground beef until cooked through. Add the paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Stuff the peppers with a few spoonfuls of ground-beef mixture, sprinkle cheese on top and place in oven.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and slightly browned.
  9. Top- with fresh chopped chives and parsley and serve with a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy with a side salad or alongside cauliflower rice.

Related Questions:
Are Bell Peppers Good for Weight Loss?

Bell peppers are great for people who are trying to slim down because they add bulk to many dishes without adding too many extra calories.  Additionally, they contain a special fat-burning substance called capsaicin. 

A 2014 study conducted by the Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute at Maastricht University in the Netherlands reported that consuming red pepper with every meal increased feelings of satiety and reduced cravings.  The study found that the capsaicin in red peppers worked to suppress the appetites of participants, which led to lower overall caloric intake and weight loss.

When you bite into a spicy bell pepper, it causes your body’s temperature to rise.  It is a heat-producing food that causes your body’s temperature to rise, which tends to burn more calories.

A study published in 2003 by Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand found that women increased their metabolic rate for 30 minutes after eating fresh red chilli pepper.  The metabolic rate is the speed at which your body converts food into energy. When your metabolism speeds up, more nutrients get converted into energy, rather than stored as fat.

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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