Types of pickle
Cucumber: There are two basic types of pickled cucumbers; sweet or sour. Dill and sour pickles have far fewer carbs than the sweet or bread and butter types. That’s because of how they are made. It’s important to either read the recipe or read the labels to know if they will be on your diet.
All sweet pickles are usually made with sugar. It is part of the preservation process; sugar is a preservative as well as salt. With added sugar, the carb content goes up to around thirty grams a serving.
Dill and other sour pickles don’t use sugar. That’s why they have the tang to them. Like cucumbers, they only have one point one net carbs, so they can be eaten on the keto diet in moderate amounts. There are other reasons to make sure you don’t go overboard with them. (4)
Ginger: Pickled ginger is a condiment in some Asian countries. Those who enjoy sushi… even if it is California rolls… have seen the shaved slices served with the sushi. How many of those who weren’t raised eating them do so is hard to tell.
However, as they come in the package, they are unlikely to be keto friendly. Granting only a small amount is eaten, they are pickled with sugar. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them. You may have to make your own at home, but they can go back on the menu. (5) (6)
Asparagus: This is one that isn’t keto friendly. Pickled asparagus uses sugar as part of the pickling process, so there are a lot of added grams of carbs. If eating asparagus, it is better to eat them steamed rather than pickled. (7)
Green beans: Pickled green beans are keto friendly as they don’t contain any sugar. In fact, they can be quite spicy as red pepper mustard seeds are two of the ingredients. Many consider this the best way to prepare the beans. (8)
Can you eat pickles on a low carb diet?
There is a myth that you cannot eat pickles, especially on keto. This myth is not based on science, just the observation that pickles contain lectins. These lectins are thought by some to reduce the weight loss generated by the keto diet.
Research does not support this. There is zero evidence that plant lectins cause weight gain or that pickles can cause weight gain. There are exceptions, of course. The sweet pickles could knock you out of ketosis, and eating too much of anything can reduce weight loss.
Are pickles good for weight loss?
As a rule, yes they are. Naturally, those that don’t use a lot of sugar are better for weight loss than those that do. However, pickles are usually a condiment, not a side dish. Only a few people will eat a full cup of them at a time.
What makes a difference is how they are made. If you buy commercial pickles, look for cold packed pickles in the refrigerator case. Clausen’s is a wonderful brand, and the only dills that come into our house. They also get scarfed fast. We go through about two jars a month.
Always read the labels. Read the nutrition label first, so you can see if they have added sugars. This will always raise the carb level and reduce the benefits of eating them. There is another ingredient to watch and that’s sodium.
The keto diet causes water loss. There is a thought that sodium will help stem that, because it tends to cause water gain. However, the damage the sodium can do while it’s in your body is heavy, so it is best to try to keep the amounts down.
Once you are done with the nutrition label, read the ingredients label. Products that stick to a few ingredients tend to be better; especially if they don’t go into the chemistry set. Once chemicals start to be added, problems can come in. Look for anything with the suffix –ose. That’s a sugar.
Look for maltodextrin, also. It doesn’t have the suffix, but it is also sugar. This will be included on the nutrition list, but many of these added sugars are unhealthy even for those who are at ideal body weight. They can kill any diet you might be on.
For those who like to cook and work with food, making pickles yourself is a good idea. Some of the recipes are really simple, and all you have to do is stick them in the fridge. Canning is a little more complicated, but can still be done at home.
Are there any health benefits to pickles?
The research into pickles tends to focus on those made from cucumbers. While it is limited, some suggestions have come out of the laboratory. As long as the pickles are eaten in moderation, they do provide some benefits.
Electrolytes: Some athletes swear by pickle juice for an after workout beverage. There isn’t a lot of proof that it will restore electrolytes, as the only one found in most pickle juice is sodium. However, there is some evidence that it might be a suitable way of improving the balance if only a few sips are used.
Personally, the preference here is for a sports’ drink. These have a balance of electrolytes and can be purchased sugar free. It doesn’t have quite the sodium content and the taste is far better.
Cramp relief: Muscle cramps can be painful. They can wake up someone who is sound asleep, they can occur after strenuous exercise and there isn’t a lot that can be done. A study was done on well hydrated men, and it had interesting results.
The men were given an electric shock that put the muscles into spasm. This was repeated one week later. The men who drank pickle juice/ate pickles got relief much faster than those that didn’t. What made it interesting was that this didn’t work for those who just had water or sports’ drinks.
Why, they wondered. We don’t yet know, but there is something in the brine that seems to stop the cramps. The possible answer could be dill, which sometimes has that effect.
Blood sugar: Eating pickles from a vinegar base can help keep blood sugar levels stable. This is more than just good news for diabetics. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that extreme hunger can go along with it.
A drop in blood sugar levels is what causes this feeling. Eating a pickle can help restore sugar levels and get rid of the hunger pangs. They also contain fiber, which slows down the digestion process and prevents hunger from being a problem.
Antioxidants: No matter what vegetable has been pickled, they contain antioxidants. So do some of the herbs and spices used in the pickling process. While we need oxygen to live, it only benefits us if we breathe it in.
When oxygen is found wandering around the body outside of the bloodstream or lungs, it can do a lot of damage. It becomes a free radical, and it can do serious harm to every organ in the body. Antioxidants get rid of the free radicals, thus offering protection.
Brief history about pickles and pickling
Before the advent of refrigeration, there were only a few ways to preserve foods. One of those ways was to pickle food. Another way was to use salt. In a way, pickling and salt use are the same, as salt is needed for pickling.
Pickling was started before written history. Some fruits turn naturally to vinegar. Others can be made to go vinegary. Wine is well known for it, but apple cider was a favorite pickling vinegar. With the salt and sugar, everything could be pickled.
Before everything was wrapped in something sanitary, pickles would be found in large barrels in the general store. They could be bought in bulk or one pickle at a time. The same was done with other pickled objects.
Housewives made their own pickles. In fact, many still do. They grew the crops and pickled or canned the produce to get them through the winter. They had other means of preservation as well. Home canning was done with a water bath canner.
Those who lived in the country had a smoke house. In it, mostly meat was smoked, although occasionally other things would be. Cheese was also smoked from time to time and a few people like smoked vegetables.
Food preservation was a must, not just for economic reasons; there just wasn’t a lot of canned produce available at the general store. She who did not can her own went without. Children as young as five and six helped, especially when it came to pickles.
While there is some cooking involved in this chore, one of the things the children did was pick grape leaves. These were used to line the gigantic (ten to twenty gallon) crock pots used to make the pickles. More were placed on top after the last cucumber went in.
The USFDA has not approved any of these statements. This is for your information only. If you live outside the U.S., check your country’s food and drug administration to see if they have cleared any of the information. Germany’s Commission E is highly respected.
Before starting any diet, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will go over the options with you and help you choose the best diet for your needs. Some doctors approve of the keto diet; some don’t.
Whether or not your doctor approves of the diet, if you should choose keto it should be medically supervised. The doctor will want to have frequent blood tests to make sure that it is not causing damage to any other organs.
Should signs of problems develop, you may have to switch to a different diet. That would include an increase in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides or high blood pressure. These can develop with a diet that emphasizes protein and fats… even plant based protein and fats.
There are people that need the keto diet and people who shouldn’t even try it. On the need side, there are children with epilepsy that don’t respond to standard medicine. It has been found that the keto diet may help control the seizures.
People who are very obese are often started on the keto diet because it does produce rapid weight loss. Once enough weight is lost, they are switched to a low calorie, low fat diet. That will be used for the majority of the weight loss battle.
Diabetics should avoid the keto diet. The disease has already put a strain on the organs most likely to be damaged the diet, and adding the extra fat will make things worse. Diabetics also have to carefully watch sugar levels, and that means carbs from time to time in order to get back in balance.
People with heart disease or kidney disease should avoid this diet. Low fat and low sodium are the keys to keeping these problems at bay, and the keto diet doesn’t fit either.
Before eating huge amounts of pickles are drinking quantities of pickle juice, talk to both your doctor and your pharmacist. Some of the spices found in pickling could interact with medications or conditions. These two people can help you steer clear of any interactions.
Pickles have a rich history and have some good qualities. Eating them in small amounts is perfectly fine. Large quantities have side effects, such as water retention, high blood pressure and kidney damage from the sodium.
Home canning is fun, if you enjoy cooking. However, there are guidelines that need to be followed if you plan on storing the products outside of the fridge. They are easy to find online and will protect you and your family from food poisoning.