Is Sauerkraut Keto?

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Written by Rahul Malpe, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Sauerkraut is becoming increasingly popular due to its probiotic content and other proclaimed health benefits. Fermented foods are coming onto more people’s radar as a way to boost health and digestion. 

However, due to how sauerkraut is prepared, processed, and packaged, the level of nutrients it contains varies.

In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about this popular food, including whether it is suitable for a keto diet. We'll touch upon its nutritional aspects, the benefits of eating it, how much you eat on keto, and what other alternatives are out there.

What is sauerkraut?

It is shredded cabbage that has been fermented. It contains different strains of lactic acid bacteria, such as Pediococcus, Leuconostoc, and Lactobacillus. The fermentation process gives this food its distinctive sour flavor and also creates beneficial probiotic bacteria. 

This food has a long history of use as a food and medicine, dating back to at least the 3rd century BC. It was traditionally made in earthenware crocks or barrels and buried in the ground to ferment. Today, it is more commonly made in stainless steel tanks and sold in jars or cans. 

This food is a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and other minerals. It also contains probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. 

It can be eaten cold or warm, and is often used as a condiment or side dish. It is a key ingredient in the traditional German dish sauerbraten (pot roast). 

Just be aware if you do heat it too much you will kill some (or all) of the probiotics.

Sauerkraut nutrition facts

1 cup of this food contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 140 g (1 cup) - 

  • Calories: 55 kcal
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Net carbs: 1.9 g
  • Total carbs: 5.8 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 1.3 g

It contains vitamin K - 19 mg per 1 cup (you need between 90-120 mcg/day). This vitamin helps with blood clotting and bone-building. Vitamin K directly influences the production of prothrombin, which facilitates blood clotting. 

It contains folate -  Folate is readily available in fermented cabbage. During early pregnancy, this nutrient is essential for reducing the risk of brain and spine birth defects. The role of folate in the formation of red blood cells and the growth and function of the cells is also crucial. 

It contains vitamin A - Vitamin A found in this food reduces inflammation and maintains good vision. As well as supporting growth and development, vitamin A also plays a role in cell regeneration.

It may help prevent cancer - A compound found in cabbage that may contribute to cancer prevention is known as sulforaphane. It works by potentially blocking an enzyme involved in cancer development. Nevertheless, further research is required before sauerkraut can be proven to prevent cancer.

Brain health may benefit - Probiotic foods, like sauerkraut, have been shown to support cognitive functions, improve memory, and relieve anxiety and stress symptoms. Fermented foodstuffs have also been shown to increase the absorption of certain minerals, such as zinc and magnesium, which play a role in regulating your mental health.

Can support your immune system  - In one cup of this dish, you will find 21 mg of vitamin C. A major function of vitamin C is to support the functions of the body's immune system. As an antioxidant, it also reduces inflammation and supports immunity by fighting free radicals within the body.



Can you have sauerkraut on a keto diet?

There are only 1.9 g of net carbs in 1 cup of this dish, which makes sauerkraut keto-friendly. It is also low in calories. 

There are even fewer carbs in this food than in other cabbage products. This is because lactic acid is produced during fermentation in cabbage, which further reduces net carbs. 

You can combine it with a wide variety of dishes and enjoy it as a snack or meal. You can use it in keto recipes without worrying about adding too many carbs.

How much sauerkraut on the keto diet can you have?

You can have as much of this food as you like. The fermentation process of making it actually lowers the carb content, making it a great food to eat when trying to maintain ketosis

However, it's important to check the label to make sure there are no added sugars or other ingredients that could increase the carb count, like apples, potatoes, or wine.

What kind of sauerkraut can you have on keto?

There are many different versions of this fermented dish available on the keto diet, including German and Polish sauerkraut. 

Each of these options has its own unique flavor and nutritional profile, depending on the ingredients. All are a great source of probiotics and antioxidants, making it a good option for those looking to improve gut health, but keto dieters will need to take a closer look at the nutrition information and ingredients for each type.

The German version is typically made with white cabbage, caraway seeds, and juniper berries, so it is usually very low in carbs. However, the Bavarian kind from the southern part of the country may have added sugar.

The Polish type can be made with shredded carrots or beets, which will definitely increase the carbohydrates.

Each brand you can buy at the store may use different ingredients, so check the label!




What can you have this food with?

One positive factor about this food is that it can be eaten with many different recipes as per your preference. Here are some delicious keto-friendly sauerkraut recipes:

  • Pork and sauerkraut bowls: These tasty bowls feature succulent pork tenderloin, sauerkraut, and creamy mashed cauliflower.
  • Chicken skillet: This flavorful dish is made with chicken breasts, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and onions. It's perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
  • Sausage soup: This hearty soup is perfect for a cold winter day. It features sausage, sauerkraut, and carrots.
  • Salmon with sauerkraut: This healthy and flavorful recipe features pan-seared salmon with sauerkraut and dill.

Keto-friendly sauerkraut alternatives

When it comes to probiotic-rich fermented foods that are keto-friendly, this is only one of the foods available. There are a number of other delicious options out there that can add some zing to your meal plan while also supporting gut health. 

  • Kimchi, for example, is a Korean staple that is made from fermented cabbage and a variety of other vegetables. It has a distinctively spicy flavor and can be enjoyed on its own or as a condiment for other dishes. 
  • Another option is tempeh, a fermented soy product that originated in Indonesia. It has a nutty flavor and firm texture, making it a great meat alternative in sandwiches and salads. 
  • And don't forget about tempeh's cousin, natto. This Japanese dish is made from fermented soybeans and has a sticky, gooey texture that some people love and others not so much. 

No matter what your taste preferences are, there's sure to be fermented meal or snack out there that you'll enjoy.



The following is a list of additional questions you may have about this dish on keto that we will attempt to answer each of them.

Fermented foods are created when bacteria or yeast break down carbohydrates in the food, which produces lactic acid. This process gives the end product its distinctive sour taste and also makes it a rich source of probiotics. 

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed. They are often referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria, as they help to support the digestive system. In addition, probiotics have been linked to a reduced risk of allergies and skin conditions such as eczema. This dish also contains a variety of beneficial vitamins like vitamins A, C, K, and folate, and is low in calories, meaning it’s a great way to bulk up your meals without worrying about going over your calorie count for the day.

Probiotic supplements are specially formulated to provide the beneficial bacteria that may contribute to your health. Most probiotic supplements contain strains of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, which are known to contribute to human health and can be included in the keto diet because they have the ability to survive in low-carb environments. 

Probiotic supplements can be found in many different forms, including capsules, powders, and liquids. But, you don’t have to take a supplement because probiotics are also naturally found in yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. (Just remember to keep track of your carbs when eating some of these foods, like yogurt.)

The word comes from German, but the dish is also very popular in Eastern Europe and Russia, and it is actually believed to have originated in China! 

These are foods that have been fermented (making them a source of beneficial probiotics) and are also low in carbs. Some of the best keto-friendly fermented snacks and meals include sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh.

Yes, most brands are low in carbs and keto-compliant. However, you should always check the label before purchasing, as some products on the market contain added sugar or other ingredients that can increase the amount of carbohydrates.

This food is high in sodium, so you don’t want to eat unlimited amounts of it. 1 cup has 925 mg of sodium. Adults are recommended to eat no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day, so 1 cup of sauerkraut would be a little less than 40% of your daily allowance.