Nothing is more comforting than enjoying a bowl of warm, decadent lobster bisque when there's a chill outside- especially if you're a seafood lover.
But is lobster bisque keto? And can you enjoy this classic French cuisine while sticking to your low-carb diet? Let's jump in and find out!
- What is Lobster Bisque?
- Nutritional Content of Lobster Bisque
- The Ketogenic Diet and Soups
- Is Lobster Bisque Keto Friendly?
- How to include Lobster Bisque in the Ketogenic Diet?
- Potential Health Benefits of Lobster Bisque.
- Potential Downsides of Eating Lobster Bisque on a Ketogenic Diet.
What is Lobster Bisque?
Before you learn whether “is lobster bisque keto” or not (or if you can make it keto), let's take a look at the dish itself and its ingredients.
Lobster bisque is a decadent, classic seafood appetizer and one of the more popular French bisque recipes. It has a smooth, rich, and creamy broth made from fresh cream, tomatoes, lobster shells, and wine.
While most lobster bisques have the same basic broth, they can vary in flavor depending on the seasonings and whether you use lobster shells or meat.
Most delicious lobster bisques contain chopped lobster meat, tomato puree, heavy cream, flour, fish stock, white wine, and fresh herbs. Veggies like garlic, celery, onion, and carrots can be added (individually or together) as well.
The go-to spices for bisques include salt, pepper, garlic powder, bay leaf, chives, thyme, and tarragon.
For people doing keto or other meat-based diets, you can add extra lobster meat cooked in garlic butter to meet your protein intake.
Plus, bisques work well with both fresh and frozen lobster meat, so if seafood isn’t readily available where you live, you can still make the recipe by ordering frozen meat.
However, frozen lobster needs to be thawed in the refrigerator overnight so it won’t water down the broth when cooking.
Bisque is Different from Other Soups.
Bisques are often confused with regular ol' soups, but there's a stark difference between the two- soups are served in a variety of textures while bisques are always thick, creamy, and refined.
Bisques are typically made from seafood like shrimp, lobsters and crayfish. Shells from crustaceans can be used to thicken the bisque too, as opposed to starch, which is a key component of most soups.
So it's safe to say bisques are more of a specialty soup- they contain a higher value of fat content as opposed to carbs like noodles. A normal serving of bisque is usually higher in calories.
Bisque is also different from chowder. While they're both creamy, rich, and warm, chowder is more chunky while bisque is more incorporated and silky.
Traditional lobster or clam chowder has chopped ingredients (including veggies) and contains more chicken or fish stock than heavy cream.
Chowder is typically served with crackers and contains chunky veggies like potatoes, giving it a higher carb content. It's less of an appetizer and more of a complete hearty meal.
Nutritional Content of Lobster Bisque
Below I've added the nutritional content in a cup of traditional Panera lobster bisque (we discuss keto-friendly ones below). The calorie content varies depending on whether the bisque is store-bought or homemade, but the macros estimate is more or less similar.
*The %Daily Value reflects intake in a normal macro distribution (which is 45-65% carbs, 20-35% fats, and 15-35% proteins).
The protein and fat content can vary depending on how much butter or meat you're adding. To make it fat-heavy, extra cream can be included.
We can discern that one cup of lobster bisque has around 40% your daily carbohydrate intake on a ketogenic diet, and 17% of your daily total fat intake (63% of saturated fat intake, which rounds to about 30g/day normally). However, studies show that increased saturated fat consumption has little effect on cardiovascular health.
Keep reading to find out whether is lobster bisque keto or not.
The Ketogenic Diet and Soups
On a normal diet, your body’s preferred source of energy is glucose. However, when you don’t consume enough carbohydrates (grains, legumes, vegetables), your body sends signals to the liver.
The liver then converts stored fats to ketone bodies, allowing all your cells an alternative fuel. This metabolic state of high ketone bodies is called ketosis, and achieving this is the first goal in a ketogenic diet.
While burning fat is the best way to lose a few pounds, getting your liver to produce ketone bodies can be tricky in the beginning.
To kickstart ketosis, it’s necessary to cut down your carb intake to a minimum- a typical 2000-calorie diet should have no more than 40-50 grams of carbs.
Eating too much protein can also interfere with ketosis. A good range of macros for a 2000-calorie diet would be 40-45g carbs, 70-75g proteins, and 160-165g fat.
Ketosis can take a couple days to achieve and the diet can be hard in the beginning (just one banana has 27g of carbs!), but it yields many benefits. Doctors recommend a keto diet to patients with epilepsy, and there’s some research supporting keto being beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
Keto yields good results for most people looking to shed a few pounds, unless you have an underlying health condition, in which case changes to your diet need to be ran by your doctor.
Why Soups are Great for Keto?
Because the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat approach to fuel your body, creamy foods like soups are a solid option for people following the diet.
Soups are a great way for keto beginners and can be whipped up in no time. Especially during winters, this cozy meal will keep you nourished and hydrated, and keep you feeling full. I recommend eating soup for lunch or appetizers before dinner, so you feel more full and don't want to eat grains and starch.
Of course, not every soup is keto-friendly. Potato soup, for example, has a high starch content. However, it's easy to swap ingredients out for one another in soups. You can replace potatoes with cauliflower (1 cup of cauliflower has around 5.3g of carbs), and add greens like celery, zucchini, etc. Keep in mind that cauliflower can cause bloating, so begin with small portions.
Remember that keto doesn't mean you have to cut out veggies completely– you can eat things like broccoli and spinach and simmer them in a broth. Cream of spinach soup is a yummy, super keto-friendly option that's rich in good fats, iron, and protein.
Veggie soups are a fine source of vitamins, fiber, and some minerals you may be missing if you have a strict ketogenic diet plan. Sautéing the veggies in some olive oil before combining with flavorful stock-based broths adds a great depth of flavor.
Besides cream-based soups, a french onion soup can also be keto-friendly, if you remove the bread of course. Replace the bread with extra cheese and buttery onions.
Other benefits of adding soups to your keto diet include.
- Economical– Buying steaks everyday can break your wallet- soups and stews help make the most out of your proteins.
- Adaptable– Most soups have a simple base of stock and cream- the rest is up to you. Feel like seafood? Add fish stock and shellfish. Tired of chicken? Add spinach and cauliflower instead.
- Easy To Whip Up– Although broth that simmers for a longer time tastes better, soups can be whipped up quickly and left on the stove without needing to check every couple minutes.
Is Lobster Bisque Keto Friendly?
Onto the main question- is lobster bisque keto? The answer is a very ecstatic YES! This decadent savory meal is good for enjoying a silky, warm soup while maintaining your ketosis as it's rich in fats and protein. Most seafood is perfectly fine to consume in a keto diet.
How to include Lobster Bisque in the Ketogenic Diet?
A serving of lobster bisque from your average restaurant makes up some 40-45% of your daily carbohydrate limit, thanks to the blended veggies like carrots and onions. While it's perfectly fine for keto, it does limit your portion size of other carb sources throughout the day.
If you make the bisque at home, you can cut this carb content even more and add some more lean meat, making it more suitable for a keto diet plan.
Instead of bread, you can serve lobster bisque with keto-friendly foods like mushrooms. Shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms are low in carbs and can be eaten with bisques stir fried or roasted in the oven with some cheese, bacon, and herbs.
Other than that, you can swap Worcestershire sauce out for a low carb version. You can find it in most departmental stores or prepare it at home.
Because you need to always look out for sneaky veggies in a keto diet, I'm sharing a delicious low-carb, buttery bisque recipe with chunks of garlicky lobster meat.
This meal can be prepared with just frozen lobster meat or the fresh one with shell (feel free to add the shell for extra flavor).
- Start by cooking your lobster in salted boiling water. Lobster tails and claws are preferred for bisques. It should take 10 minutes for the lobster to turn bright red- as soon as that happens, take it out and put it in a bowl to cool.
- Next, chop up a cup of celery, your scallions, and 3 cloves of garlic. Ditch the carrots as they are carb-rich. All these veggies combined shouldn't make more than 15g of sugar.
- Cook the scallions in butter until fragrant, then add garlic and sautée. Now add your celery. Add 1½ tsp of thyme and tarragon. Add your bay leaf and tomato paste as well.
- Once the pan looks blackened, deglaze with white wine and low-carb chicken or fish stock (5-6 cups). Add your salt and Worcestershire now.
- Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Blend the soup with your immersion blender (or a regular one), then stir in some heavy cream (a cup or more, depending on your taste).
- Sauté your lobster meat (2-2.5 lbs) in some garlic and butter and add to the bisque. Serve by squeezing some lemon wedges and adding freshly ground black pepper.
This recipe makes a good 4-6 servings, cutting down the regular 18-20g carbs to about 10-12g, as you swap out carrot for scallion and use low-carb stock and Worcestershire.
Potential Health Benefits of Lobster Bisque.
So now that we've answered “is lobster bisque keto?”, let's jump into some benefits keto dieters can yield from eating lobster.
First things first, lobster is definitely high in cholesterol (one 3 oz. serving makes 60% of your daily cholesterol intake off keto). However, it has less saturated fats than red meat, which increases blood levels of LDL or “bad cholesterol”, so it's an overall healthy option.
Next, lobster is a powerful source of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These are crucial for heart health and promote low blood pressure, prevent plaque formation, and lower risk of developing heart diseases. Omega-3 acids also promote mental health and lower anxiety and aggression.
Lobster also has trace elements like copper and selenium. Because you cut out many vegetables and fruits on a keto diet, these minerals can go missing. Luckily, eating seafood helps make up for the loss. Copper promotes cell growth and selenium is an anti-cancer agent. The iron and copper in lobster are also necessary to avoid anemia.
Potential Downsides of Eating Lobster Bisque on a Ketogenic Diet.
Just like with other foods, craving (and eating) lobster bisque often has some downsides too.
While the high saturated fat content doesn't go against the keto guidelines, just a cup of lobster bisque has 700-800g of sodium. This is 25-30% of the recommended sodium intake in a well-formulated ketogenic diet.
If you're going to eat more bisque or have other salty foods throughout the day (which most keto meals are), you'll definitely want to cut back on the salt you're cooking with. Consistently eating a high-sodium diet can lead to hypertension, heart diseases, and overwork your kidneys.
Lobster bisque also has a good amount of cholesterol, so people sensitive to high intakes of this fat should best avoid it.
Other problems with eating lobster include allergies and foodborne illnesses. Lobster is highly perishable and undercooked lobster has bacteria that cause nausea, diarrhea, and cramps among a myriad of other things. Good preparation is key here.
Lobsters are also common allergenics, so if you are allergic to other kinds of seafood and develop anaphylaxis, eat this dish with caution. It's a good idea to get an allergy test before trying out lobster.
Lastly, eating lobster excessively can also mess with your health. Lobster has some level of mercury in it, and while FDA approves it safe-to-consume, you shouldn't have more than three servings a week.
So, is lobster bisque keto? The short answer is yes- lobster itself has no carbs and the cream base is low in carbs too.
However, depending on where you get the bisque from, there might be added vegetables, which can increase your carb intake. As such, you won't be able to eat a bigger portion of the soup or enjoy other veggies or fruits.
That's why I recommend you try the keto-friendly lobster bisque recipe. It has less carbs than your average bisque, and you can add more meat and cream to make it rich in fats. Lobster is a no-carb source of omega-3, which is good for heart health.
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below:
Is Seafood Boil Keto Friendly?
Is Clam Chowder Keto Friendly?