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When starting a diet, or even if you have been on a diet for a long time, knowing what foods comply with the diet’s restrictions can be very difficult. For people starting the low-carb diet known as keto, it can be incredibly difficult to understand what you are and are not allowed to eat.
Table of Contents
- What is a keto diet?
- What is a plantain?
- Resistant starch
- Plantain alternatives and substitutes
- Plantains are NOT keto-friendly
What is a keto diet?
A keto diet, also known as ketogenic, is a low-carb and high-fat diet that offers multiple health benefits. It is very similar to any other low-carb diet such as Atkins and involves dramatically reducing the number of carbohydrates that you consume and replacing them with fat. This drastic change in diet puts your body in a metabolic state known as ketosis. During this process, the body burns fat incredibly efficiently and turns fat into ketones which supply energy to the brain.
Health benefits of keto
A ketogenic diet is known to have many health benefits and can be very helpful for losing weight quickly. It is looked at as one of the more drastic diets and can be incredibly difficult to get used to at first. The health benefits include:
- Reduced chance of heart disease
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Less vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease
- Lower frequency of epileptic outbreaks
- Lowers the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
The health benefits are surprising for a diet that simply limits your carb intake.
Most people who have a keto diet will limit themselves to only 50 grams of carbs a day. This is a good number as it is easy to not exceed, while also keeping you in ketosis. After around 2-3 months of being on a keto diet, you can have more carbs on a special occasion such as a wedding or a birthday, as your body is used to the diet. However, it is important that afterward you immediately return to the keto diet.
What is a plantain?
Plantain is a type of banana that is commonly referred to as cooking banana or green banana. The skin is thicker and tougher than a regular banana and they are usually cooked before consumption. WIthout being cooked, the taste of plantain can be unpleasant, unlike a banana which tastes good no matter if it is cooked or not. Compared to other members of the banana family, plantains are not sweet and have the flavor profile of a combination of a banana and a potato. Due to this difference in taste, a banana is much more than just an extremely ripened version of plantain.
Plantains get most of their carbs from primarily starch which is why they are so difficult to eat without being cooked first. Bananas get their carbs from sugar, which is why they are sweet but also more readily edible.
Is a plantain keto friendly?
For a product to be keto-friendly, it has to have low carbs. The recommended carb limit, or carb allowance, for people on a keto diet, is 25g per day. A single plantain has 53g net carbs in it which is your carb limit for two entire days. This makes plantain not keto-friendly as it is a primarily carbohydrate-based food, and will throw your body out of ketosis if consumed.
The same goes for sliced plantains, ripe plantains, fried plantains, and raw plantains. It is imperative that you understand you cannot eat plantains while on a keto diet. If you really want to eat one during your diet, you can eat 1/4th of a medium-sized plantain. If you are also being careful about the rest of the nutrition found in once, as they become fully ripened their carb levels stay the same but the sugar levels rise while the starch levels decrease.
The main reason why plantains are not keto-friendly is that they contain a high number of resistant starch. Anyone familiar with a keto diet will immediately be alarmed when they hear the word starch as it is a synonym for carbs and sugar, which makes it feared in a low-carb diet. Resistant starch is a rare type of starch that gets its name due to being resistant to digestion.
Many people will say that resistant starch does not boost your insulin levels, so it is keto-safe but this is negated as it does boost your insulin sensitivity. Resistant starch is also excluded from net carbs.
Despite not being keto-friendly, resistant starch can be quite helpful for your gut. This is because it has prebiotic qualities that feed the good bacteria found in your digestive tract and gut, which significantly boosts your health. This has a downside which is resistant starch is only found in raw plantains, which are not pleasant in the slightest to eat. Once cooked, plantains no longer hold these benefits and therefore you should instead spend your carb allowance on something more worthwhile.
Plantain alternatives and substitutes
While plantains are almost guaranteed to kick you out of ketosis, there are a few substitutes and alternatives that you can snack on instead, without risking your diet.
Cauliflower is as versatile and adaptable as a potato and is famed in the keto diet for how easy it is to add to meals. It can be fried, roasted, baked, and cooked however you like. On top of this, it is also a low-carb ingredient that can be used to make rice which opens up even more keto-friendly ideas for dishes. Per 100g of cauliflower, you get only 3g of net carbs, which means you can eat a lot of cauliflower without being kicked out of ketosis.
If you boil and mash cauliflower, it can be the perfect keto-friendly alternative to mashed potatoes. Add some seasonings and sour cream and you are onto a winner.
Not only are they a good substitute, but cauliflower also has a lot of antioxidants that help you fight off free radicals.
Daikon is an East Asian ingredient that translates to “big root” and can be used as a great alternative to water chestnuts. It can also be used as a substitute for plantains and has a striking resemblance to a carrot without as many carbs.
Daikon is proven to improve digestive health and is also rich in other minerals and micronutrients. It is also a rich source of Vitamin C and has 25% of your daily recommended amount.
Daikon can be prepared similar to a radish, and only has 9 grams of net carbs in it.
While it may not be the most physically appealing vegetable, kohlrabi tastes almost exactly like plantain and is loaded with minerals and nutrients. On top of this, a 100g serving of kohlrabi has only 2.5 grams of net carbs and is also ridiculously low in calories. Kohlrabi is also an insanely high source of vitamin C and just one cup has 93% of your daily amount in it. Kohlrabi is also known to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
A zucchini ranks highly on the keto-friendly list of vegetables and that is because it is a perfect substitute for noodles. If you cut them finely and press them with paper towels, they can be brushed with olive oil and baked, which makes them taste and act exactly like noodles. However, they have almost none of the carbs found in noodles. An entire cup of chopped zucchini only has 2.6 grams of net carbs and is also incredibly high in vitamin A and C.
Plantains are NOT keto-friendly
Unfortunately, plantains are not keto-friendly and just one plantain is more than two days worth of a keto diet’s carb allowance. This is because plantains have a high amount of resistant starch in them which is made of carbs and sugar, which will kick your body out of ketosis. This metabolic state is helpful for losing weight and producing ketones that supply energy to your brain.
While you cannot eat plantains, keto-friendly alternatives are always available and can also be more beneficial for you thanks to their low calories and high vitamin levels.
Is plantain a low-carb food?
A single plantain has 53 grams of carbohydrates in it, which is roughly just over two days’ worth of a keto diet’s recommended carb allowance.
Is plantain high in carbs?
Plantains have an insanely high amount of carbs. They are also very high in resistant starch which can improve gut health but is unpleasant to eat.
Is eating plantain good for weight loss?
Plantain is low in calories but high in carbs, which means it can be good for some people but anyone partaking in a keto diet for weight loss should avoid plantain at all costs as the carb levels are far too high.
Can you eat bananas on keto?
Bananas and plantains should not be eaten on keto as they both have very high levels of carbohydrates. A keto diet is mainly about lowering carbs so that your body goes into ketosis so eating a banana will ruin this.