We all use spices in cooking. They add extra flavor and have the power to turn a common food into a fragrant and tasty one.
But have you ever thought that spices also contain carbohydrates? Although we normally use a very small amount, not all spices are the same and some may contain more carbohydrates than others. And when we talk about the keto diet, we don’t care how many carbs we eat. Because as we well know, they have an impact on the state of ketosis, when ketones fats and bodies are the main source of energy for the body.
A concrete example is garlic powder. Per 100g, it contains no less than 64g of carbohydrates net. Turned into a spoon (without a tip), this means 6g of carbohydrates. For someone trying to maintain less than 20g of carbs, it can be a challenge. Fortunately, not all spices contain the same number of carbohydrates.
And besides, some spices are incredibly healthy, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. That’s why some can have an anti-inflammatory effect, can increase metabolism and burning or help control blood sugar. Therefore, we should not exclude them from the diet, but to know them as well as possible, and to use the most carbohydrate-rich ones in moderation. At the end of this article is a table with the most used ingredients, in alphabetical order and the amount of net carbohydrates they contain in 100g, respectively a spoon and a teaspoon. The best spices are simple, herbal and necessarily without added sugar.
The most beneficial Spices
This spice, native to Asia, is known for its medicinal properties. It contains an active substance called curcumin, which has an antioxidant effect and helps reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric extract as a dietary supplement is most often used to treat joint pain (1). As a spice it has a slightly spicy and pungent taste, so in food it is enough to use a small amount. You can use it to prepare a delicious cauliflower pilaf recipe. Turmeric is a key ingredient in the curry mix and is often added to mustard.
2. Ceylon cinnamon
With a strong antioxidant and anti-microbial effect, Ceylon cinnamon (much more beneficial than Cassia) also helps maintain an optimal blood sugar level. It tastes sweet, pleasant and can be added to desserts (such as this gingerbread) or to drinks.
Cocoa is very rich in antioxidants, which are due to the characteristic bitter taste. It is a very good source of magnesium and iron. It also has antioxidant properties, improving mood and strength of concentration. To take full advantage of its qualities, choose non-fat cocoa, with which you can prepare healthy desserts, such as a chocolate mousse with avocado or delicious drinks, such as hot chocolate without sugar.
Pepper contains an active substance called piperine. Of all the varieties, black pepper has the highest content. Piperine has been shown clinically to help improve depression and insulin resistance, while increasing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients (2). That is why piperine is also found in the form of a food supplement in capsules, which are most often taken either alone for the absorption of nutrients in general, or together with another supplement, to stimulate its absorption.
Cayenne pepper contains even less carbohydrates than other types of pepper. It has a sharp taste, stimulates blood circulation and metabolism, intensifying fat burning.
Ginger is available in several forms (root, powder, pieces of ginger (candied or not) or added in candies and snacks). It is a good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, being very useful for relieving nausea and headaches (3). It has a slightly characteristic spicy taste.