Being a foodie can be a nightmare when you are dieting. It is much more depressing for us to stay away from our favorite delicacies than others. This is why I was pleasantly surprised with the number of food choices given in keto diets!
A quick search of the grocery shop aisle will tell you that there are a plethora of keto-friendly food options out there. This makes this diet much easier to follow through.
But, when it comes to meat, confusion persists. For starters, as someone who loves Pepperoni pizza a tad too much, I wondered, “is pepperoni keto?” And the answer turned out to be, yes, it is!
However, just like everything else in keto, certain considerations must be met when eating meat as part of the diet. Let’s delve deeper into the topic, shall we?
Is Pepperoni really keto-friendly?
To understand whether or not is pepperoni keto friendly in all shapes and sizes, it is first imperative to know what the meat is and how it is made.
Unraveling the favorite pizza topping: What is Pepperoni?
Regardless of where you are in the world, the chances are either you or someone you know swears by Pepperoni as their favorite pizza topping. Such has been the power of the meat among pizza enthusiasts for a long time!
So, what is Pepperoni, and how is it made?
Well, the meat is a mixture of lean beef and very finely ground pork. Additional spices are added to the mixture to give it a kick, including cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika.
The mixture is then mixed with salt, ice, and nitrite and chilled at a maximum of 4 degrees Celsius before being cut into very finely chopped slices. The curing process that it undergoes with nitrite causes the color of the meat to change to brick-red, giving it the signature pepperoni look.
The Nutritional Profile: What’s in it for us?
According to My Food Data, a serving size of Pepperoni is usually 85g of the meat. And this serving size contains 39.3 grams of fat, out of which 75 percent of the fat is saturated in nature. Its cholesterol content is 82.5 milligrams.
It also has approximately 1345 milligrams of sodium, 16.4 grams of protein, 1.1 milligrams of iron, 16.2 milligrams of calcium, 134 milligrams of phosphorous, and 232.9 milligrams of potassium, and a negligible quantity of carbohydrates.
Why is pepperoni keto friendly?
I mentioned in the beginning that the meat is keto friendly. But the question may arise, why is Pepperoni ok on keto when so many other things are not? What makes this meat so special?
Well, the answer is mentioned in the subsection above. Can you identify it? I’ll give you a hint – go back to the process of a keto diet. In keto, you eat low-carb food so that your body breaks down fat and protein for energy, thereby accelerating weight loss.
In Pepperoni, you get barely any carbs and a healthy mix of other nutrients like protein, fat, and multiple minerals. Hence, it does not affect your ketosis negatively and instead helps it!
Incorporating Pepperoni in a keto diet: 3 ways to do it
I also mentioned that there are certain considerations to eating Pepperoni in keto. You can only eat it as a snack every now and then. Eating it every day as a meal can lead to a spike in cholesterol levels since the meat contains quite a lot of it!
For people like me who can’t swear off of Pepperoni completely and wish to incorporate it as part of their keto diet, here are ways you can do it:
- Eat it as keto chips by heating the Pepperoni in an oven so that they get crispy.
- Bake pepperoni rolls by using fathead dough, almond flour, egg, and cheese.
- Make keto-friendly mini pizza bites with dough, cheese, low-carb marinara sauce, etc.
Can you make a keto-friendly pepperoni pizza?
What is Pepperoni worth if it cannot be placed as a pizza topping in a classic pizza? After all, it has gained popularity because of this use.
However, a traditional pizza is a keto nightmare. I am talking about the one that is made with white flour and yeast. Albeit tasty, the crust of such pizzas alone has over 33g of carbs! And we haven’t even added the carbs included in sauce and cheese yet.
Naturally, pizzas are not recommended as part of the keto diet. So, is pepperoni keto when added to a pizza? It is when you make it the right way!
You might have noticed that I did mention mini pizza bites as a potential keto snack. This is because such pizzas contain an alternative crust. This crust is made of almond flour, mozzarella, cream cheese, and a pinch of salt.
What makes a food keto-friendly?
In a keto diet, you need to look for the right balance of nutrients. According to Health Line, the keto diet of 2000 calories should ideally contain 60 percent fat, at most 35 percent protein, and 10 percent carbs so that the energy is mainly derived from fat and protein.
When looking and different snacks, first look at the nutritional content of these three nutrients. However, aside from this information, you need to also look at what the snack is made of.
For starters, even if something has a low carb, the type of carb and its source matter. Similarly, if the majority of fat is saturated, it is actually bad for the diet! Not to mention certain artificial additives cause an insulin spike in the body, thereby impacting your ketosis adversely.
Ingredients to avoid
Here are some of the ingredients you might want to avoid when on a keto diet:
- Sugar and syrups like castor sugar, corn sugar, malt syrup, carob syrup, etc.
- Special sugars like maltodextrin, dextrose, isoglucose, lactose, galactose, etc.
- Grains, wheat, and thickeners, like barley, oats, bran, farina, cornstarch, lentil, etc.
- Trans fat and processed, refined oil like soybean and canola, etc.
- Sugar alternatives like Alitame, Saccharine, Cyclamate, Neotame, etc.
Know that they might be written in technical forms as well, so doing a quick search about the ingredients always helps in knowing what they really are.
It’s hard being on a diet. I never thought that I would have to worry so much before eating snacks.
It also never crossed my mind that a day would come where I would be wondering if Pepperoni is keto before having it. I’ll be honest with you; I am glad it is keto-friendly, even if it is to be eaten occasionally!
Even on a diet, I struggle to imagine my life without the bite-sized chunks of meat. I am sure you have such a relationship with at least one food item!
If you are on a similar boat as me, don’t worry, you are not alone. Also, know that the end is worth the struggle, so stay put! And the next time you have any keto-related questions, come back here for guidance! The chances are I, too, have had similar worries.
Till then, good luck with your diet! May the force of healthy proteins and fats be with you.
To find out more about what other foods are keto friendly, click on one of the links below: