There’s often much confusion about plantains, they aren’t quite like bananas, somewhat similar to a potato, and some may even confuse a plantain for a vegetable. It’s tricky because plantains are fruits, but most countries who eat them use them like they would a vegetable, and vegetables are keto-friendly right?
Plantains are a type of banana consisting of starch with 57 grams of carbohydrates for one medium size (179g) serving. Like bananas, plantains are not keto-friendly and shouldn't be consumed as part of a keto diet due to the large carb content relative to their serving size.
In this article, I’ll go over more about plantains, how many carbs are in plantains, their health benefits, and then dive into how you may POSSIBLY be able to include green plantains into your diet.
Can You Eat Plantains On Keto?
Plantains are a staple outside of the United States, primarily grown in India, Africa, Egypt, and tropical America.
However, unless you happen to be from one of these areas or made your way there at some point, plantains may be an exotic food to you.
You may have seen plantains at your local grocery store, but unlike bananas, plantains are not nearly as sweet. You can think of a plantain as a starchier banana, almost similar to a potato.
And just like a banana or a potato, plantains are primarily carbohydrate-based food, making it not ideal for eating while following a standard ketogenic diet (SKD).
Although, athletes or individuals that may be following a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) may find plantains a useful food during the strategic carb-load implemented every so often.
How Many Carbs In Plantains
So just how many carbohydrates are in plantains? A 1 cup serving (154g) of sliced plantains has 48 grams of carbohydrates. 1
With most individuals restricting their carbohydrates between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs, you may see how this particular fruit is not exactly ideal while following a keto diet, similar to something like pineapple.
Of course, if you want to eat a small 1 oz (28g) serving of plantains, that would only set you back ~9 grams of net carbs, but would that sliver of plantains be worth it?
It might be for some.
Plantain Nutrition Facts
Nutritionally, cooked plantains are pretty similar to a potato, a rich source of fiber, and relatively high in potassium.
Here are just some of the nutrition facts, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2
|Plantains||Serving Size (100g)|
Are Any Plantains Keto Friendly?
Are green plantains keto friendly? Green plantains are primarily starch (carbohydrates), making them not keto friendly. However, I’ll expand on this in the next section since this may cause people some confusion.
Are fried plantains keto friendly? Fried plantains, while higher in fat, are still high in carbohydrates, thus not keto-friendly.
Are sweet plantains keto friendly? Very ripe plantains often taste much more delicious than the green ones (raw). Plantains are similar to bananas in that the riper it is, the more sugar it has, which is what makes it sweet. Unfortunately, sweet plantains are not keto-friendly.
Are yellow plantains keto friendly? Yellow plantains are more ripened versions of green plantains but still require cooking to be edible. Yellow plantains contain a higher proportion of sugar to starch than green plantains and are not keto-friendly.
Are black plantains keto friendly? Black plantains are an extremely ripened version of plantain and the only version that is edible without the need to cook it. However, similar to all plantain varieties, black plantains are also not keto-friendly.
Green Plantains and Keto
There may be confusion when it comes to green plantains and whether they are keto friendly.
And for that, I’ll blame all the gurus out there trying to come up with something smart to say about green bananas or plantains.
They want to open up people to more confusion and tell people they have “resistant starch,” which technically are resistant to digestion, hence the name “resistant” starch.
So similar to fiber, resistant starches function similar to soluble, fermentable fiber, and would not count toward your “net carbohydrates.”
And here’s the problem, while that is true, once you cook the plantain, the resistant starches are destroyed.
HOWEVER, it’s possible to cool these foods and almost “recapture” the resistant starch content. Still, nobody could tell you the exact amount of carbs to resistant starches there are once that process is said and done.
If you want to roll the dice on that one, let me know how it goes.
That said, about two-thirds of green plantains are resistant-starches BEFORE cooking, meaning that the same 100g serving went form 48 grams to only 16 grams of digestible carbs.
But here’s the rub on that one, eating a green plantain raw is pretty much like eating a raw potato.
I don’t know about you, but a raw potato doesn’t sound appetizing to me.
But you do you.
Benefits Of Resistant Starch
So maybe you want to take the chance to cook your green plantain then cooling it to test the waters… or perhaps you like the taste of raw potatoes; in either case, here are the benefits of resistant starches.
Studies have shown that resistant starch can help with: 3 4 5
- Weight loss
- Heart health
- Improve blood sugar
- Insulin sensitivity
- Digestive health
Many of the health benefits are seen after consuming between 15-30 grams of resistant starch, so take that for what you will.
If you’re the experimenting type, you could give green plantains a try in various quantities while testing your blood glucose and ketone levels to see what your “threshold” might be.
Some other foods that contain resistant starch include: 6
- Green bananas
- Oats (cooked and cooled)
- Rice (cooked and cooled)
- Potatoes (cooked and cooled)
- Beans and legumes
In general, plantains are not keto-friendly, especially when cooked, which is what makes them edible.
However, green plantains, either raw or cooked and then cooled, provide varying amounts of resistant starch which act similar to fiber.
This means, you may be able to eat green plantains raw or cooked and then cooled, but if remaining ketosis is of importance to you, I would exercise caution.
Still, even if you choose to include raw green plantains or try to cook and then cool them, you should do so in limited quantities because not ALL of the carbohydrates are considered resistant starches.