One of the easiest ways to navigate through a keto diet is by increasing your protein uptake. If you're looking for something keto friendly to eat while you're on the go, gyro meat might be the ideal option.
Before you do start consuming gyro meat, there's one elephant in the room that needs to be addressed! Is gyro meat keto friendly? Yes, it's keto friendly because of the low carb content and high levels of both fat and protein.
However, there are quite a few variations of gyro meat available in the market. There's a few things you need to pay attention too before you can make it a permanent fixture in your keto diet.
Keep reading to find out more about is gyro meat keto friendly, and should you incorporate it in your diet or not!
What Is Gyro Meat?
Gyro meat was first prepared in Bursa, Turkey back during the 19th century. It originated from the era of the Ottoman Empire and was initially referred to as doner kebab.
Interestingly, it was first made with lamb meat and was introduced by the people of Anatolia and the Middle East.
It can be considered a fusion of the Greek and Turkey cuisine and is widely popular throughout the world.
It's traditionally prepared by cooking meat on a vertical rotisserie or any cooking appliance with a rotating spit. Once cooked it is sliced into thin sheets and served wrapped.
Moreover, it is also consumed by stuffing in pita bread. Different ingredients are added while making gyro meat including tomato, onion tzatziki and fried potatoes. Depending on the region it is either made with pork, chicken, lamb, or beef.
Considering the Greek roots of the gyro meat, the traditional recipe uses pork and got the name Gyro. Later on in the 1970s, it became a famous fast food in Athens along with different regions of the world including Chicago and New York.
However, the American version of gyros are made with fine grounded beef and mixed with lamb. Spices like oregano, cumin, thyme, rosemary and other spices are also added as seasonings.
Gyros are famous for their classic Mediterranean flavor which usually comes from the fresh veggies like red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, yogurt, and tzatziki. Moreover, the meat is seasoned before going to the skewer which gives it a fragrant, and deliciously minty taste.
Gyro meat is undoubtedly delicious, but since keto diets generally focus on the carbs, fats, and protein composition, let’s look at what’s in gyro meat.
Nutrition Of Gyro Meat:
A typical 2 ounce serving of gyro meat (beef and lamb) contains the following nutrients:
|Net carbs||5.1 g|
|Sugar alcohols||0 g|
|Vitamin A||0.2 mcg|
|Vitamin B1||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B3||1.5 mg|
|Vitamin B5, B6||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1 mcg|
|Vitamin D||0.3 mcg|
|Vitamin K||1.1 mcg|
|Vitamin E||0.2 mg|
Gyro meat is extremely nutrient dense. It is low in net carbs, high in protein, fats, and contains zero sugars. It is a rich source of different vitamins and essential minerals that can help meet your nutritional needs.
An interesting thing about nutritional needs being met is that it can help improve the metabolism of foods in your body. This goes perfectly for people who have weight loss goals on the ketogenic diet as increased metabolism means your body will process foods better and quickly.
As mentioned earlier, there are different variations of gyro meat in terms of the meat used. The above nutritional values were for gyro meat with lamb and beef. On the contrary, gyro meat with chicken has different amount of carbs, protein and fats.
Here’s what a 2 ounce serving of gyro meat with chicken contains:
|Net carbs||0.9 g|
Similar to gyro meat with beef and lamb, the chicken version also contains essential minerals and vitamins (A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, D, E, K). But as you can see, the amount of carbs is way too small compared to gyro meat with beef and lamb.
This allows you to opt for a gyro meat variation that will best suit the ketogenic diet without missing out on gyro meat.
Now that you have an insight into the nutritional composition of different variations of gyro meat, let’s look at how keto friendly it is.
Keto Friendliness Of Gyro Meat:
For a food to fit into the ketogenic diet, it has to be low in carbs, high in fats and proteins. According to the nutritional composition of gyro meat, it checks all the boxes for keto friendliness and can safely be added to keto diets.
This is because a 2 ounce serving only has 5.1 grams of carbs for the beef and lamb version whereas the chicken version has 0.9 grams of net carbs. While both variations are keto friendly, the chicken version of gyro meat is comparatively safer than the beef and lamb version.
However, the safety of gyro meat also depends on your approach to keto diets. If you’re limited to 20 grams of carbs per day, consuming too much of gyro meat will increase the likelihood of pushing your body out of ketosis.
Regardless of whether you’re at 20 grams or 50 grams of net carbs intake, it is crucial to control your portions. This is because there are other additives added to gyro meat including tzatziki sauce and a number of spices like oregano, cumin, thyme, rosemary amongst others.
Each of the added ingredients comes with additional carbs. For instance the tzatziki sauce (fusion of olive oil, garlic, dill, cucumbers) used in gyro meat is high in carbs. Consuming too much of this sauce or gyro meat in general will cover more than half of your allowed carbs limit.
This will increase the risks of pushing your body out of ketosis which goes against your weight loss goals.
Portion Control And Serving Suggestions:
For weight loss goals on the keto diets, a calorie deficit is required. In fact, without appropriate portion control, you will simply fail to meet your weight loss goals. If you fail to control your portions you will not only kick yourself out of ketosis but also risk gaining weight.
You need to be mindful of when you should eat food and not because you have food available at hand. Ideally, you need to consume low carb foods the entire day as it will keep your sugar levels regulated and ensure that you’re not consuming high amounts of sugar based foods.
Furthermore, the most important factor is the caloric composition of the foods you consume. A small 2 ounce serving of gyro meat contains a whopping 209.1 kCal (for beef and lamb based gyro meat) whereas 101.8 kCal (for chicken based gyro meat).
A standard sized pita gyro meat is over 360 grams. This means, it has over 484 calories and a whopping 48 grams of net carbs. If you consume a full serving, it will exceed your daily carbs limit by wide margins.
This is why it is crucial to stick to small servings like 2 ounces which only have 209.1 kCal (5.1 g of carbs) for the beef and lamb version or 101.8 kCal (0.9 g of carbs) for the chicken version. This way you will be able to safely enjoy gyro meat without risking ketosis.
Furthermore, it will also be aligned with your calorie deficit goals for the ketogenic diet. So, as long as you’re consuming a low number of carbs and following a calorie deficit you will be able to effectively achieve your weight loss goals.
Surprisingly, you can make your own version of keto friendly gyro meat. Yes, you read that correctly! Making your own keto friendly gyro meat allows you better control over the ingredients that you put in the recipe. Thus allowing you the freedom to control carbs better.
Recipe For Keto Friendly Gyro Meat With Tzatziki Sauce:
- Ground beef – must be grass fed ground beef (if possible, opt for a 85/15 fat ratio)
- Ground lamb – must be grass fed ground lamb.
- Eggs – 2 x large sized eggs stored at a room temperature.
- Onions – 1 x onion to add a Greek style flavor to your gyro meat (should be grated to ensure there are no large chunks of onions in the meat)
- Garlic – add according to your own preference.
- Milk – must be plain with no added sugars.
- Coconut flour – this is used to add structure to the gyro meat and helps absorb excess moisture from the meat.
- Spices – you can add spices according to your own preference. For a Greek style flavor, you can add oregano, thyme, dill, cumin, rosemary, marjoram all blended together.
- Start by making the sauce. This is because it requires time to marinate and the longer it sits, the tastier it will get. For making the sauce, grab a bowl and shred the cucumber using large sized grades.
- After shredding the cucumber, take a kitchen towel and place the shredded cucumber in it. Ring out the towel so that all of the water content is removed from the cucumbers. This is because water may affect the structure of the sauce and the overall taste as well.
- Once the cucumbers are prepared, add the rest of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix them thoroughly. Afterwards, put a cover on the bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the meat.
- For making gyro meat, mix all the meat ingredients in a bowl. Start by mixing them with your hands and work your way through until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- After the mixture is prepared, make small loaves from the meat and put them on a baking sheet (lined).
- Bake the loaves of meat and then slice it after words. For browning the meat, you should put it in a skillet until its color changes.
- Next, take out the sauce and enjoy your keto friendly homemade gyro meat!
With the homemade keto friendly gyro meat, you can try switching the ingredients such as the spices and seasonings.
Regardless of being homemade, you still need to control your portion sizes so that you stay within the daily limit of 30 – 50 grams of carbs per day.
As we discussed earlier, there are different variations and styles of gyro meat such as Greek and Mediterranean. Both of them are luscious and you’ll absolutely love them, but which style of gyro meat is more suitable for a ketogenic diet? Let’s dig in and find out.
Variations Of Gyro Meat That May Be Suitable For A Ketogenic Diet:
The most popular variations of gyro meat include Greek style and Mediterranean style. Greek style gyro meat is usually made with beef and lamb. The primary sauces used in Greek style gyro meat include tzatziki sauce which is what it is famous for.
Beef and lamb meat is considered low in net carbs, rich in fats and proteins. This is not only keto friendly in small amounts, but also provides you with some vitamins and minerals in micro amounts.
On the contrary, the Mediterranean style gyro meat which is also known as doner kebab is made with both beef and chicken depending on the recipe. However, instead of tzatziki sauce, there are other sauces like red doner sauce, creamy garlic yogurt sauce, and green mint sauce.
Both of them have a different taste due to different sauces being used in the ingredients.
In terms of the preparation method, both of them are prepared using a vertical rotisserie which heats up the meat gradually until cooked. However, since different styled gyro meat involves different ingredients, you will have to consider the overall net carbs in each style.
Compared to the Greek style, the Mediterranean style gyro meat may be more healthy for your ketosis as it is made with chicken (low carbs compared to beef and meat).
But, if you’re not a fan of the Mediterranean style gyro meat, you can make your own homemade Greek gyro meat using our keto friendly recipe mentioned above.
Conclusion – Is Gyro Meat Keto?
Gyro meat is keto friendly and perfectly fine for ketogenic diets in small amounts. Although the number of carbs is low in both Greek style gyro meat and Mediterranean style gyro meat but the number of calories is considered high in case of beef and lamb as compared to chicken gyro.
So, while gyro meat can be a part of the ketogenic diet, you should be mindful of the portion sizes and other ingredients that may be added. The overall sum of the carbs from all ingredients should be low and in-line with your ketogenic carbs limits. Otherwise, you will be risking ketosis.
Ideally, if you want to add gyro meat to your keto diets, you should opt for the chicken version of gyro meat. It is low in carbs 0.9 grams as compared to 5.1 grams in beef and lamb version (2 ounce serving). Furthermore, it still contains high amounts of fats and proteins that are perfect for your keto diet.
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below: