Mushrooms are one of the most polarizing foods. Some people really love them, while others really loathe them. Whether they are a delicacy or not is up to you to decide.
What is undisputed, however, is how healthy and nourishing they are. They provide a wide range of both macro and micronutrients. In some parts of the world, they are even used for medicinal purposes.
As you may know, a food being healthy does not mean it automatically qualifies for the ketogenic diet. Keto is all about low-carb living, and all foods on the diet have to meet that standard.
This article explores the nutrient composition of mushrooms to determine if they are a good part of a low-carb diet.
Mushrooms are used as a vegetable in cooking. They are, however, not a vegetable or even a plant at all! The mushroom is a fungus but has been used as a vegetable for centuries in many cuisines.
The range of mushroom varieties available on the market is very wide.
White mushrooms are, however, the most popular, making up about 90% of total mushroom consumption.
They are very versatile due to their neutral taste. For this reason, they can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from stews, soups, sandwiches, burgers, and stir-fries.
You can buy them fresh, frozen, dried, canned, or powdered depending on how you intend to use them.
Like any plant food, the mushroom is packed with nutrients. It is low in calories, carbs, and protein and high in vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in antioxidant co-factors, particularly selenium and copper.
Serving size: 1 cup of whole white button mushrooms (70 g)
One very interesting fact about mushrooms, is that they can convert UV rays from the sun into vitamin D. Just under 1.5 cups (100 g) of white, UV exposed mushrooms can provide you with your vitamin D requirements for the day.
The nutrition information above only applies to raw fresh white mushrooms. After cooking, mushrooms lose some of their volume (typically about 25%). Because of this volume loss, the carb content per gram increases. If you are cooking, measure your portion beforehand, while still raw, for more accurate measurements.
As you can see, mushrooms do have carbs, but the amount is pretty low.
Yes, you can. Fresh mushrooms do have carbs, but the amount per serving is low. With only 3 g of net carbs in a whole cup, they definitely deserve a spot on a low-carb diet.
Mushrooms are low-carb and very keto-friendly, and they are also extremely low in calories, making them ideal for weight loss diets.
You don't have to be looking to lose weight to enjoy this food, though. Anyone will benefit from the rich vitamin and mineral content.
In particular, the mushroom is a good source of vitamin D. Many people lack this vitamin, especially those living in cold regions without much sunlight, or those who spend most of the time indoors. It is also a good source of selenium, one of the most important antioxidant co-factors in the body.
Like with any other food, you have to also account for any additional ingredients, flavorings, and accompaniments that are added, as they may also contribute more carbs.
Frozen and canned varieties should have a similar nutrition composition to fresh ones. However, dried and powdered will certainly have a higher carb content.
You can have up to three (3) cups of fresh mushrooms a day. Three cups have about 5 g of net carbs. Remember to measure the vegetable when fresh, as it shrinks during cooking.
If your daily carb limit is 50 g, three cups contribute less than 10% of it. It is, however, very unlikely that you will eat three cups in one sitting.
If you have a lower daily carb limit like 30 g, you can have up to two cups, but one cup can also suffice. It should not be hard to control portion size, but if you really enjoy them, treat them like any other food and portion before eating.
There are tens of thousands of mushroom types, but the following are the most common.
Mushroom types, like many food groups, have a nearly identical nutrient composition. For this reason, they are all keto-friendly when fresh.
Food processing changes the nutrition composition of food, usually for the worse. Some of the common varieties of mushroom products include:
While mushrooms are very keto-friendly, it doesn’t hurt to have options. You may not feel like having them on some days, and they may simply not be available on others.
Meat is one of the easiest keto mushroom substitutes. For dishes like pasta, pizza, and some soups, pieces of beef or chicken can work just as well. Meat provides the same chewy texture in addition to rich flavor. You also get a bonus of extra protein if you add meat to your dishes.
As a side vegetable, there are countless vegetables that can work as mushroom replacements. You can use any non-starchy vegetable, such as:
All the above vegetables are just as nutritious and easy to prepare. You can even eat some of them raw.
If you still need some more guidance on how best to incorporate mushroom dishes on keto, we answer some of the questions you may have below.
There are so many low-carb mushroom recipes you can cook. You can make soups, sauces, stir-fries, and of course the classic garlic and butter combination.
To make garlic butter mushrooms, follow this easy recipe. In under 20 minutes, you will have yourself a delicious hearty keto dish.
For starters, any pizza with a flour crust is not keto-approved no matter what it is topped with. If you are making a keto pizza with a flourless crust (try using cauliflower!), then yes, you can enjoy a portobello mushroom topped pizza. You can also use portobello mushrooms as a novel pizza base, yum!
Yes, mushrooms and cream are excellent for keto. The cream provides fat while the mushrooms provide texture and additional nutrients like vitamin D and selenium.
Per 100 g, cooked white mushrooms offer about 3 g net carbs. The carb content may differ depending on what else has been added to the dish and the style of cooking used.
Yes, onions barely contain any carbs and mushrooms are very low in carbs as well. Besides, the quantity of onions used in cooking is usually so small it would not make a significant contribution to your carb intake.
Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup contains 8 g of net carbs per half-cup. The carb content comes from corn starch and wheat flour (used as thickeners). It’s always better to use unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients, but in a pinch this can be used.