Not going to lie; there aren't many people that enjoy eating capers. Most people would rather just have olives!
However, for some people, the unique tartness of a caper can really help elevate many dishes. For people that love capers, they often wonder whether they can incorporate them into their keto diet.
Are capers keto? Yes, they are! Although devoid of a high-fat content, they are low on net carbs – about 2 grams per 100 grams of capers. Hence, capers can be devoured when on this low-carb, high-fat diet.
Don’t know much about capers? Don’t worry; Keep reading to learn more about it, what makes it keto-friendly and how you can incorporate it into your diet.
What are Capers?
Contrary to popular belief, despite the fact that they are often used as vegetables in dishes, they are actually fruits!
Also, don’t confuse them with caper berries – which, although driven from the same plants, are different from capers. Capers are flower buds that are plucked from Capparis spinosa – a prickly bush that is indigenous to the Mediterranean and Asia.
To make capers, the flower buds are plucked when they are still unripe and later dried, preserved, and cured in salt or brine. These curing processes are what give capers their distinct savory and tarty flavor.
There are different types of capers available in stores, depending on where they are in their life cycle. This includes Nonpareilles, Surfines, Capucines, Capotes, Fines, and Gruesas.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Capers
Overall, capers are a low-calorie food that has vitamins A, K, E, copper, iron, and magnesium, to name a few nutrients. However, since they aren’t consumed in huge quantities due to their taste and use, it is seldom that their nutrients will add to your daily nutrient intake much.
Additionally, as it is cured in brine, you must eat it in moderation to avoid overconsumption of salt.
Are Capers Keto Friendly?
Let’s come back to the question I posed in the beginning – is capers keto? While I have answered it shortly, if you aren’t familiar with the world of keto, my explanation might have gone over your head. So, let’s give context to this question by understanding the ketosis process.
Ketosis 101: What is Keto?
A keto diet is quite different from all the other weight-loss regimes out there. This is because there is a clear science behind it – which is why there are such clear distinctions about what you need to avoid on this diet.
To understand keto, you must first understand how your body breaks down food for energy. Every time you consume food, the protein and fat element of it gets stored in the body while the carbs are broken down to produce energy.
A keto diet challenges this process. By limiting your carb intake and increasing fat intake, the keto diet tries to replace fat as a source of energy rather than carbs. In the absence of carbs to break down, the body is forced to resort to breaking down fat instead, leading to weight loss.
Generally, in a keto diet, your daily calories should come from 70 percent fat, 10 percent carbs, and 20 percent protein.
Bringing back the Capers: Why are capers keto?
Now that you know the science behind it, I am sure you can answer why are capers keto yourself. But, just to reiterate, capers are keto because they have very low net carbs concentration. Hence, eating them won’t increase your daily carb intake enough to kick you out of ketosis.
Additionally, because they are not processed or contain harmful ingredients, they help in following a “clean” keto rather than a “dirty” one (which allows you to eat processed food if you are willing to accept fewer benefits of the diet).
However, at the same time, capers are very low in fat as well. So, this fruit, while being keto-friendly, shouldn’t be relied on solely during a keto diet. You need to supplement it with other food items that contain healthy fats, like virgin olive oil or butter.
Capers: Nutritional profile
You might be wondering, what does exactly “low net carb” mean? What quantity is low? And how much of the other nutrients does caper have? Merely stating whether or not are capers keto might not convince you if you like everything being backed by data.
According to USDA, 100 grams of canned capers contain:
- 83.8 grams of water
- 23 kCal of energy
- 2.36 grams of protein
- 0.86 grams of fat
- 4.89 grams of carbs, including 1.69 grams of net carbs
- 40 milligrams of calcium
- 1.67 milligrams of iron
- 33 milligrams of magnesium
- 10 milligrams of phosphorous
- 40 milligrams of potassium
- 2350 milligrams of sodium
- 0.32 milligrams of zinc
- 0.374 milligrams of copper
- 0.078 milligrams of manganese
- 4.3 milligrams of vitamin C
- 23 micrograms of folate
- 7 micrograms of vitamin A
- 24.6 micrograms of vitamin K
As you can see, the sodium concentration is quite high compared to other nutrients. This is what primarily puts a cap on the number of capers you can consume without it negatively impacting your health. The stated low net carb also gives credibility to why are capers keto.
How to Incorporate Capers into your Diet?
Unlike some of the other food items that can be enjoyed on their own, capers should ideally be just one of the many things that you eat during your keto diet. They should be added with other keto-friendly ingredients to make a dish that you can safely enjoy during your keto diet.
Here are some of my favorite keto-friendly recipes that incorporate capers in them.
1. Keto Chicken Piccata
This recipe requires 2 pounds of boneless thinly sliced chicken breast, four tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, three tablespoons of almond flour, and three tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese for the main dish.
For the sauce, you need half a cup of chicken broth, half a cup of white wine vinegar, half a lemon to squeeze out the juice, and one-quarter cup of drained capers.
Begin by pounding the chicken and seasoning it with pepper, salt, and garlic powder, and set it aside. In a bowl, add almond flour as well as the parmesan cheese and mix until combined. On a large skillet that has been heated on a medium-high, add butter and allow it to melt.
Simultaneously, coat the seasoned chicken breast in the flour mixture created and add the chicken pieces to the skillet that has melted butter. Cook until it is cooked through. This usually takes up to four minutes per side.
Once cooked, set it aside and start preparing the sauce by adding two tablespoons of butter, chicken broth, capers, lemon juice, and vinegar to the skillet and cooking it for 4 minutes for the sauce to become reduced.
Once the sauce is ready, add the cooked chicken to the pan again and let it simmer in the sauce for up to five minutes for it to be infused with flavor. And voila, you are done! Overall, this dish has 20 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 57 grams of protein – keto enough, right?
2. Tuna Salad with Capers
Do you want a quick meal that has capers rather than a proper dinner? If so, you might want to try a salad instead. And this tuna salad is the easiest recipe out there.
This recipe requires four oz of tuna, half a cup of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of capers, half a leek that has been finely chopped, half a teaspoon of chili flakes, and salt and pepper for seasoning.
Strain the water away from the tuna and set it aside. In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, capers, leek, and chili flakes, along with salt and pepper. Mix it all together and add the tuna to it and mix well. Your salad is ready.
By now, I am sure you are an expert yourself on the question, “are capers keto”? Hint: they are!
But just because they are keto doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to eat a lot of them. In fact, you should eat capers in moderation because of their high salt concentration, as mentioned above. Just add a handful to it to a keto-friendly recipe, and be assured that this decision won’t surge your carb intake.
And along with capers, don’t forget to add other keto-friendly items to your diet. Are you unsure about what this might include? Don’t worry; I have you covered for this as well!
Ever since I began my keto diet, I have gotten into a habit of researching about and documenting my findings about which food items are keto and which are not. Head on over there to satisfy your curiosity as well.
And for the rest of you, capers or no capers, I hope your keto diet is successful!
Please click on one of the links below to learn more about keto friendly foods: