All Mexican dishes, may they be tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or fajitas, are all incomplete without one ingredient: tortillas!
But are corn tortillas keto friendly?
Unfortunately, no. Traditional corn tortillas are not completely suitable for a keto diet. Corn tortilla intake can quickly exceed your daily carb intake and kick you out of ketosis by piling up.
But there is no need to lose hope: there are certain ways you can include these Mexican staples into your diet without harming your ketosis.
Let's delve deeper into these delicacies to learn how!
Corn Tortillas and the Ketogenic Diet
Let us take a look at the nutritional profile of one serving size – about 24 grams – of tortillas to determine their suitability for keto diets:
|Calories from Fat||6.2|
|Total Fat||0.7 grams (1% Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie diet)|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 grams (1% Daily Value)|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.3 grams|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.2 grams|
|Cholesterol||0 milligrams (0% Daily Value)|
|Sodium||11 milligrams (0% Daily Value)|
|Potassium||45 milligrams (1% Daily Value)|
|Total Carbohydrates||11 grams (4% Daily Value)|
|Dietary Fiber||1.5 grams (6% Daily Value)|
Thus, we can derive from the table illustrated above that one traditional corn tortilla contains about 140 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Although a corn tortilla can be an excellent source of protein, fiber, niacin, iron, and thiamine, it is not the most keto-friendly option out there.
A regular keto diet recommends limiting your daily net carb intake between 20 to 50 grams, which means that consuming more than two ounces of tortillas may kick you out of ketosis.
Although the answer to “are corn tortillas keto friendly?” is a no, you can turn it into a yes by consuming them sparingly and allowing yourself only a taste to tickle your tastebuds.
Keto-friendly Corn Tortillas Recipe for a Ketogenic Diet
The best way to incorporate a corn tortilla into your diet is by making a keto-friendly batch at home. But that is not as arduous as it sounds: let us take a look at an easy and straightforward recipe that you can use to make healthy and keto-friendly corn tortillas:
|Coconut Flour||2 tablespoons|
|Almond Flour||1 cup|
|Psyllium husk powder||2 tablespoons|
|Lukewarm Water||½ cup|
- Add all the above-mentioned dry ingredients into a bowl, including almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, and salt. Whisk everything together until well mixed.
- Take another bowl and add the wet ingredients mentioned above, including the egg and lukewarm water. Whisk everything together until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient bowl slowly, and continue mixing. Continue the process until all the dry ingredients are added and well mixed with the wet ones.
- Take a large non-stick pan or skillet and preheat it over medium heat after adding a small quantity of oil. Olive oil is one of the best healthy and keto-friendly options you can use here.
- Scoop about ¼ of the mixture using a spoon or an ice cream scoop and spread it out over the skillet in a thin circle. Cook the batter for about a minute or until the edges become golden brown.
- Flip your tortilla and cook for another minute on the other side until the sides turn golden brown.
- Remove the cooked tortilla from the pan and continue with the process until you have used all your batter.
- Serve your keto-friendly corn tortillas fresh. You can also store them in the refrigerator for about a week once they are at room temperature, but make sure to place them in an air-tight container.
- You can reheat your frozen keto-friendly, low-carb corn tortillas whenever you want to on a dry skillet over medium heat.
Snacks made with Corn Tortillas
Corn tortillas are not just suitable for a small lunch or dinner; you can also use them to make keto-friendly snacks that can spice up your low-carb keto diet. Guacamole is one of the most popular snacks you can make with your corn tortillas!
Not only is guacamole healthy and delicious, but it is also effortless to make with corn tortillas. Let's take a look at its recipe!
|Avocados||3 (Large and firm)|
|Red onion||¼ cup|
|Fresh cilantro||2 tablespoons|
|Sea salt||½ teaspoon|
|Black pepper||¼ tablespoon (Ground)|
|Bacon||2 strips (Optional)|
- Knife and cutting board
- Bowl and fork
- Take your skillet and heat it on medium heat. Fry the bacon strips until they turn crispy (you can skip this part if you wish to avoid adding bacon to your guac). Set your crispy fried bacon aside on a piece of paper towel to allow it to soak up the grease.
- Cut your avocados in half and remove the pits carefully. Scoop all the avocados out into a large mixing bowl and mash it all up with a fork until it is as smooth as you desire.
- Peel your red onions and dice them finely. Do the same to your cilantro and garlic; you can either mince the garlic finely or run it through a garlic press for ease.
- Add the minced garlic, red onions, and cilantro to the bowl with the mashed avocado. Add sea salt, cayenne, and black pepper to the bowl.
- Squeeze the juice from the lime over the bowl, and mix everything together. It is best that you let your keto-friendly guacamole sit for a while to allow the flavors to seep into each other. You can serve it immediately if you do not have the time!
- Drizzle a bit of lime juice or salt as per your taste to finish your healthy, low-carb, keto-friendly guacamole off! Pair it with some keto-friendly corn tortillas, and you are good to go!
You can also pair it with some low-carb baked, keto-friendly tortilla chips, the recipe for which is as follows:
|Low-carb, keto-friendly corn tortillas||3|
|Olive Oil||1 ½ teaspoon|
|Coarse ground sea salt||1 teaspoon|
- Avocado or Olive spray oil
- Baking Sheet
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Pastry Brush
- Heat your oven to 350°. Take a baking sheet and grease it with a keto-friendly avocado or oil spray.
- Take your keto-friendly corn tortillas and place them flat on a cutting board. Place ½ teaspoon of olive oil in the center of each, and spread the oil evenly around all three tortillas using the pastry brush. Once the oil is distributed evenly, cut each corn tortilla into eight equal triangular wedges.
- Spread the wedges on the baking sheet evenly and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt. Pop them in the preheated oven for about five minutes, and then pull them to check their readiness. If they are crispy and firm with a slightly brownish hue on the edges, you are good to go. If not, pop them in the oven for another two minutes.
- Remove your fully baked tortilla chips from the baking sheet. Depending upon their thickness, you can pop the ones that still need to be done back in the oven.
- Dip your freshly baked keto-friendly corn tortilla chips in your low-carb guacamole and enjoy a delicious snack without the fear of hurting your ketosis!
Corn Tortilla Substitutions
If you are not a big fan of your corn tortillas or are looking for some other alternatives, we have good news. There are multiple keto-friendly alternatives for corn tortillas, including the following:
- Portobello mushroom caps
- Zucchini noodles
- Cheese wrappers
- Almond flour tortillas
- Cauliflower tortillas
- Lettuce wraps
No matter which alternative you choose, you can find innumerable possibilities for satisfying and healthy keto-friendly Mexican dishes and snacks when on a keto diet!
Choosing the Best Corn Tortillas for the Ketogenic Diet
Store-bought corn tortillas differ from homemade ones primarily because of their ingredients. Non-GMO, organic corn tortillas generally have a few ingredients, such as stone ground, organic yellow corn masa flour, water, lime, and organic guar gum.
If you wish to keep your gluten intake in check, you do not need to worry about corn masa flour as it is finely stone-ground corn flour instead of plain wheat flour.
In contrast, traditional store-manufactured corn tortillas possess more preservatives and ingredients than their organic counterparts. Although these additives do not harm your keto lifestyle, they may be unnecessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Most corn and flour tortillas manufactured commercially have preservatives and additives in their ingredient list, so the best way to ensure that your tortillas are healthy and keto-friendly is to compare the packaging labels on different options.
If none of the options work for you, you can always switch to healthy, homemade, and keto-friendly corn tortillas using the recipe mentioned above!
When buying commercially made corn tortillas, it is important to keep a lookout for the following ingredients:
- Amylase (enzymatic powder)
- Cellulose gum (used as a stabilizer and thickening agent)
- Xanthan gum and guar gum (used as thickeners)
- Phosphoric Acid (manages pH levels in foods)
- Propionic Acid (prevents mold formation)
- Benzoic Acid (allows a longer shelf life)
All the above-mentioned ingredients are gluten-free, but they must make up 2% or less of the total ingredient list. The shelf life of regular or low-carb corn tortillas also depends upon these ingredients.
Although the most suitable option for choosing the best keto-friendly corn tortilla for yourself is comparing the ingredients, you should also keep the following tips in mind:
- Read through the nutritional information mentioned on the tortilla packaging.
- Consider the quantity per serving. Certain tortilla manufacturers consider two tortillas as one serving, whereas others list one tortilla as one serving.
- Consider the tortilla's size. Since tortillas come in multiple sizes, which can impact your carb intake. A small or street taco may have fewer carbohydrates than a larger version, which can affect your keto lifestyle.
- Consider the primary ingredients of your tortillas. Although whole-grain tortillas typically contain more fiber and thus have a lower net carb count, whole wheat and whole-grain tortilla options are not as keto-friendly as their corn counterparts.
Storing Corn Tortillas on the Ketogenic Diet
Corn tortillas' shelf life depends on how and where you store them. For instance, an unopened package of store-bought corn tortillas stored in the pantry at room temperature can last between seven and ten days.
However, homemade tortillas only last for a short time primarily because they do not contain the multiple preservatives present in their commercially-manufactured counterparts but also because they are not packaged as meticulously as store-bought are.
Nonetheless, the shelf life of store-bought corn tortillas decreases as you open the package and expose them to germs, moisture, and heat.
It is advisable to stick them up in the freezer or refrigerator after opening, as frozen corn tortillas generally last longer. The sterile and low-temperature environment in a refrigerator hampers their spoiling rate, ensuring that they remain usable even after the expiration date mentioned on their package.
You can store corn tortillas in the refrigerator for about six to eight weeks, provided you keep them in an air-tight and well-sealed container. If you freeze them in such an air-tight container, they may even last several months!
Corn Tortillas and Weight Loss on the Ketogenic Diet
When consumed in small quantities, corn tortillas are not detrimental to weight loss if you are not on a strict ketogenic diet that completely prohibits carbs.
You can definitely lose weight if you switch to corn tortillas, especially if you are habitual in eating flour tortillas. With fewer carbs and calories, corn tortillas can help you reduce your overall carb intake and subsequently shed a few pounds.
Corn tortillas can also help you manage your portion size as they tend to be smaller than their flour counterparts.
With a regular corn tortilla sitting around 12 to 15 grams of net carbs per ounce, one small tortilla may not essentially kick you out of ketosis. Although one small tortilla may not seem to be much when it comes to filling you up, it sure can satisfy your cravings while on a low-calorie diet.
Corn Tortillas and Blood Sugar Control on the Ketogenic Diet
Individuals with chronic high blood glucose levels are prone to dramatic blood sugar spikes, especially after consuming foods with a high glycemic index. Therefore, it is crucial to opt for high-fiber, non-starchy food options with low glycemic index values that can manage their blood sugar levels.
Corn tortillas score relatively lower on the glycemic index scale, even lower than flour tortillas, and thus are less likely to cause blood glucose spikes.
However, they do contain additives and preservatives – such as bleaching agents – to increase their shelf life, and thus may not be a very healthy option for individuals with high blood sugar levels.
Nevertheless, corn tortillas contain a suitable amount of carbs and sodium content, which does not make them harmful for those with a high blood sugar level, provided they are consumed in adequate quantities.
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not all evil: particular amounts are crucial to fuel the body. But it is advisable to keep your carb intake in check, as they can affect the body's blood sugar regulatory system and may elevate your risk of hypoglycemia or diabetes.
Other Potential Benefits of Corn Tortillas on the Ketogenic Diet
Although the answer to “are corn tortillas keto friendly?” is a no, they are not all that bad.
Corn tortillas have several nutritional benefits, which make them a healthy supplement to your keto diet. Since corn is a whole grain, it boasts a high fiber value, along with good potassium, magnesium, and several other crucial minerals and vitamin count.
They can help you meet your nutritional requirements without compromising your permissible daily carb intake. Corn is also considered a complex carbohydrate, which means that it releases energy gradually, keeping your blood sugar levels in moderation and preventing a sudden spike.
Corn tortillas also boost metabolism and digestion because of their high fiber count. Since they possess a relatively moderate fat and carb count, they may also promote heart health.
Possible Drawbacks of Corn Tortillas on the Ketogenic Diet
Although suitable in minute quantities, there are better options than corn tortillas for those following a strict no-carb diet. Although their glycemic index is relatively low, commercially manufactured corn tortillas may contain ingredients that can prove harmful to your health.
Local store-bought tortillas may also contain substances such as sodium benzoate, enriched bleached white flour, dough conditioners, corn starch, cellulose gum, and sorbic acid, which may act as potential allergens for some people.
Individuals intolerant or wishing to avoid gluten should also ideally steer clear of corn tortillas, as certain ingredients present in them may cause undesirable side effects such as headaches, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, skin issues, anxiety, fatigue, or more.
If you were looking for a positive answer to “are corn tortillas keto friendly?”, we have some bad news.
Corn tortillas are typically not keto friendly if you are following a strict no-carb diet, but they do not essentially kick you out of ketosis if you consume them in small quantities.
One of the most healthy and keto-friendly ways of incorporating these delicacies into your diet is by making them at home and avoiding additives and preservatives that may make them undesirable.
If you are looking to buy keto-friendly commercially manufactured corn tortillas, the best option would be to compare the ingredient list and nutritional facts of different products before you make a decision. Good research goes a long way to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle without compromising on tasty food options!
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below: