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Can You Have Black Pepper On Keto [What You Should Know]

If there are two spices anyone has heard of, it's probably salt and pepper. That's because just about every dish you can fathom making or eating from a dining establishment uses or asks for salt and pepper in one form or another. 

I think I use salt and pepper in just about every single recipe. Even the Ancient Romans loved black pepper, with nearly 80% of the recipes from this cookbook written in 4 AD 1 

Is black pepper keto friendly? Black pepper is a keto friendly spice that is relatively low in carbohydrates and can be included while following a ketogenic diet. 

In this article, I'll go over how many carbs black pepper has, how it's made, any health benefits, and some keto friendly recipes to spice up your ketogenic dishes.

Is black pepper keto friendly pinterest

Is Ground Black Pepper Keto Friendly?

Similar to many other spices, such as garlic or ginger, black pepper is relatively low in carbohydrates and may be used to season your dishes while following a ketogenic diet.

Whether you're using whole peppercorns to make soups and stews or ground black pepper to season your food, black pepper in almost every form is keto friendly.

The only exception to when black pepper isn't keto friendly will be if it's used in conjunction with a carb-heavy sauce or dish of any kind.

Aside from the obvious, use black pepper to your heart's content (kind of).

Does Black Pepper Have Carbs?

The truth is, almost every spice or seasoning, including black pepper, has carbs in it. 

You're not likely to see a nutrition label, or if there is, it will usually say 0 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving. 

That's because according to the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), anything less than five calories a serving may list the food as having “zero” or “no” calories 2 

 A 1 teaspoon (2g) serving of black pepper has a total of 1.3g of carbohydrates, of which 0.5g coming in the form of dietary fiber. Therefore, a one teaspoon serving of black pepper has 0.8g of net carbs  3

Net carbohydrates refer to the number of carbohydrates left after subtracting any dietary fiber or sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. 

Since a serving, per the label, is typically a “dash” or such a trivial amount, it's usually listed as having 0 calories and 0 carbohydrates.

Unless you're using copious amounts of black pepper, you shouldn't have to worry about counting or tracking the amounts you use. 

This goes for all varieties of pepper and peppercorns, which includes:

  • Black Peppercorns
  • White Peppercorns
  • Green Peppercorns

However,r if you're using another keto-friendly spice like garlic, which you're likely to use more of, you may want to consider cutting back or including it in your net carb count for the day.

What's Black Pepper Made From?

Black pepper is something most of us likely grew up with and never gave much thought to.

I was surprised to learn that black peppercorns are a tiny fruit. Black peppercorns are the dried fruits of a flowering vine in the Piperaceae family. 

The vine is native to India but is presently grown in almost every tropical region. Vietnam is currently the lead exporter of black pepper providing around 35% of the world's supply. 

Why Black Pepper Is Good For You

Black pepper, often referred to as the “king of spices,” is more than just a kitchen staple. 

Black pepper has been used for thousands of years in ancient Ayurvedic medicine due to its high concentration of beneficial compounds 4 

Rich in piperine

Black pepper is rich in an antioxidant called piperine. 

Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants, such as those found in black pepper, may help guard against free radicals. 5

Excess free radical damage has been linked to major health problems such as heart disease, inflammation, and even certain cancers. 6

May improve blood sugar

Piperine, the main antioxidant found in black pepper, may help improve blood sugar metabolism. 7 

In a study with 86 overweight individuals, taking a piperine supplement and other compounds over an 8 week period resulted in improved insulin sensitivity 8

Boosts the absorption of nutrients

Many supplements on the market and home remedies use black pepper, Bioperine, or piperine to increase the absorption of other beneficial plant compounds, such as those found in turmeric, curcumin, and green tea.9 

This means you will get more out of the other nutrients consume when adding in piperine. Without piperine, you may only absorb a fraction of what you ingest.

May help with gut health

Similar to keto friendly probiotic foods like sauerkraut, black pepper may increase the good bacteria in your gut. The type of gut bacteria you have may be linked to things such as immune function and mood.10 

Keto-Friendly Recipes Using Black Pepper

We all know you can season your food with salt and pepper, but what else can you do with black pepper to take up your keto dishes a notch?

Here are a few of my favorite keto friendly black pepper recipes for those who love black pepper flavor and a little bit of heat.

Black pepper chicken

This recipe from Real Simple Good uses a variety of seasonings and sauces to create a dynamic stir-fry. Feel free to eat it with a side of veggies or on top of a bed of cauliflower rice to round it out.

I prefer to use chicken breast, simply because I like chicken breasts, but feel free to use chicken thighs or anything else.

Photo and recipe from Real Simple Good

Keto friendly black pepper chicken

Lemon pepper chicken wings

I've used a version of this recipe to make lemon-pepper wings for parties and gatherings. While the recipe calls for some flour, substitute your favorite keto-friendly flour in its place (I use almond or coconut flour).

Recipe courtesy of Divas Can Cook

Black pepper shrimp stir fry

If seafood is more your style, this keto-friendly recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together. 

Recipe courtesy of One Off Food

How To Make A Keto-Friendly Black Pepper Sauce

If you're interested in a super delicious sauce besides s1 steak sauce to pair alongside a nice ribeye or sirloin steak, give this video a watch that will take you to step by step in making the perfect keto mushroom pepper sauce.

The Takeaway

Using a spice like black pepper is perfectly o.k. while following a ketogenic diet. 

Black pepper is not only keto friendly, but it's delicious, versatile, and can be used in a variety of different ways to spice up your ketogenic meals.


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