Are Capers Keto Friendly? Low Carb & Net Carbs Explained

are capers keto


Capers have been a popular ingredient in various cuisines worldwide for centuries. From Mediterranean dishes to Asian cuisine, these little green buds pack a big punch when it comes to flavor. But with the rising popularity of the ketogenic diet, many wonder if capers are keto-friendly.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that has gained popularity recently due to its potential health benefits, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control. The diet requires followers to limit their carbohydrate intake to a minimum, so knowing which foods are low in carbs and which aren’t is essential. This article will explore whether capers are keto-friendly and provide seven crucial facts you need to know. So, let’s dive in!

What are Capers?

Fresh Capers

If you enjoy food, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with capers. These tiny, green flower buds are a popular ingredient in many cuisines. They are known for their tangy and slightly salty flavor. But what exactly are capers, and are they keto-friendly? Let’s dive into the details.

Capers are the unopened flower buds of the caper bush, native to the Mediterranean region. They are typically harvested by hand and then preserved in vinegar or salt. There are several types of capers, including non-pareil, capucines, and surfines, each with a unique taste and texture. Non-pareil capers are the smallest and most prized for their delicate flavor. At the same time, capucines are slightly larger and have a more robust taste.

Capers often flavor dishes like pasta sauces, salads, and fish dishes. They can be used in unmodified form or chopped and added to recipes. Capers can also be used to make caper berries, which are the larger fruit of the caper bush and have a milder flavor than capers. But the question remains: are capers keto-friendly? Let’s find out in the next section.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a popular diet that has gained attention in recent years. It is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to put the body into a state of ketosis, which burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This is achieved by drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake while keeping protein intake moderate.

The macronutrient ratios of the ketogenic diet typically involve consuming around 70-80% of calories from fat, 20-25% of calories from protein, and only 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates. This allows the body to enter a state of ketosis, which begins to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose.

The ketogenic diet has become famous for weight loss because it promotes fat-burning and reduces appetite. In addition, it has been shown to have other health benefits, such as improving blood sugar control, reducing inflammation, and potentially even reducing the risk of certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Nutritional Information of Capers

Capers may be small in size, but they pack a nutritional punch. A tablespoon of canned capers contains just two calories: 0.2 grams of protein, 0.4 grams of carbs, and 0.3 grams of fiber. Sodium is the most prominent nutrient in capers, with a tablespoon containing 9% of the Daily Value (DV). Sodium plays a crucial role in regulating fluid balance and blood pressure levels. In addition, capers are a source of copper, an essential mineral in iron metabolism, energy production, and brain function. They also contain small amounts of vitamin K, a micronutrient that plays a role in blood clotting and bone health.

Capers are a good fit compared to the ketogenic diet’s macronutrient ratios. The ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. A tablespoon of capers contains virtually no fat and only a tiny amount of protein, making them an ideal addition to a keto meal plan. The carbohydrate content of capers is also relatively low, with only 0.4 grams per tablespoon. This makes capers an excellent choice for those following a keto diet, as they can add flavor and texture to dishes without adding too many carbs.

A tablespoon (9 grams) of canned capers contains (1):

  • Calories: 2
  • Protein: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 0.4 grams
  • Fiber: 0.3 grams
  • Sodium: 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Copper: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 1% of the DV
  • Iron: 1% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 1% of the DV

Are Capers Keto Friendly?

In short, Yes, they are! Capers are low in carbs and fat, making them a great addition to a ketogenic diet. With only 0.4 grams of carbs per tablespoon, capers are an excellent choice for anyone looking to stay within their daily carb limit. Plus, they provide some healthy fats and a range of vitamins and minerals, making them nutritious.

Incorporating capers into a ketogenic diet is easy and delicious. They can be a flavor enhancer in various dishes, from salads and omelets to pasta sauces and roasted vegetables. One of the easiest ways to incorporate capers into your diet is to sprinkle them over a dish as a finishing touch. This adds a flavor and texture that can take a meal to the next level.

Another great way to use capers is in sauces and dressings. A simple caper vinaigrette can be made with olive oil, vinegar, and a few tablespoons of chopped capers. This can be used as a salad dressing or drizzled over grilled meats and vegetables. Capers can add flavor to meat dishes, such as chicken or fish, by incorporating them into a pan sauce or marinade. Capers are versatile and delicious ingredients easily incorporated into a ketogenic diet.

Health Benefits of Capers

Capers are a nutrient-dense food that may offer various health benefits. One of the most notable benefits of capers is their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body that can cause oxidative stress and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. In addition to antioxidants, capers contain flavonoids, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may help to reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.

Capers may also have a positive impact on heart health. Studies have shown that capers may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease(2). This is likely due to their high content of quercetin. This flavonoid has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects. Additionally, capers are an excellent source of potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

In addition to their potential cardiovascular benefits, capers may aid digestion(3). They contain compounds that have been shown to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can help to improve overall digestion and nutrient absorption. Furthermore, capers’ high fiber content can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. Capers are a tasty and nutritious addition to any diet and may offer various health benefits when consumed regularly.

Risks and Precautions of Eating Capers

While capers have numerous health benefits, they also come with some potential risks and precautions that individuals should be aware of. One of the main concerns is the high sodium content in capers. A tablespoon of canned capers contains 9% of sodium’s daily value (DV). This amount can add up quickly for people on a low-sodium diet and may lead to high blood pressure or other health problems. It’s important to note that capers can also be high in histamine, triggering allergic reactions in some people.

Individuals with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications should also be cautious when consuming capers. Capers have blood-thinning properties, meaning they can interact with anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin. Additionally, capers can lower blood sugar levels, which can concern people with diabetes who are taking medications to control their blood sugar. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.

In conclusion, while capers are a healthy and flavorful addition to many dishes, they must be aware of their consumption’s potential risks and precautions. People on a low-sodium diet or with allergies should be careful when consuming capers. Individuals with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications should speak with their healthcare provider before adding capers to their diet.

Cooking with Capers and Tips for a Ketogenic Diet

Salmon with Capers
Salmon with Capers

Capers have a tangy, salty flavor that can add depth and complexity to various dishes. They’re versatile and can be used in savory and sweet recipes, making them a great ingredient to experiment with in the kitchen.

When using capers in a ketogenic diet, keeping their high sodium content in mind is essential. Try rinsing capers in water before using them in a recipe to reduce sodium intake. You can also look for low-sodium or salt-free capers at your local grocery store.
Here are some tips for incorporating capers into a ketogenic diet:

  • Add them to a salad: Capers can add flavor and texture to a simple salad. Add them to a Caesar or Greek salad for a tasty and keto-friendly lunch.
  • Use them as a topping: Capers can be a great addition to various toppings, including pizza, eggs, and avocado toast.
  • Make a sauce: Capers can make a quick and easy sauce that pairs well with fish, chicken, or steak. Sauté them in butter or oil with garlic and lemon juice for a flavorful and keto-friendly sauce.
  • Snack on them: Capers can be a tasty and nutritious snack. Rinse and dry them before eating.

Capers can be a delicious and nutritious addition to a ketogenic diet. Just be sure to keep their high sodium content in mind and enjoy them in moderation.


In conclusion, capers are a flavorful and nutritious addition to any diet. They are low in calories, carbs, and fat, making them an excellent option for those following a ketogenic diet. They are also rich in fiber, copper, vitamin K, and other essential nutrients, contributing to their potential health benefits.

Capers have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could improve heart health, digestion, and overall well-being. However, it’s essential to note that they are high in sodium, which could concern individuals on a sodium-restricted diet. People with allergies to plants in the Capparaceae family, such as mustard, may also want to avoid capers.

Overall, capers can be a great addition to a ketogenic diet. They can be used in various dishes, including salads, sauces, and marinades, to add flavor and texture without adding many carbs. In keto-friendly recipes, you can also use capers to replace high-carb ingredients like bread crumbs or pasta. Just make sure to check the sodium content and incorporate them in moderation.

Incorporating capers into your keto meal plan can help you add flavor and nutrition to your diet. With their low-carb content and potential health benefits, capers are an excellent choice for those following a ketogenic diet. Try incorporating them into your next meal and see how they can elevate your keto dishes.


(1)USDA – Capers, canned

(2) Health Benefits of Capers – WebMD

(3) 12 Amazing Benefits Of Capers For Skin, Hair And Health

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