Keto diet concept

Are Microgreens Keto Friendly?

Most people follow a ketogenic — or keto — diet to lose weight.

In their All About The Keto Diet: A Beginners Guide, the folks over at describe the ketogenic diet as “a low carb, high fat diet that turns your body into a fat-burning machine.”

Meeting the Keto diet’s requirements means cutting out many healthy foods, and that can make it difficult to meet your micronutrient needs.

That’s where microgreens come in.

They contain greater amounts of nutrients and health-promoting micronutrients than their mature counterparts, up to 40 times more, according to one recent study.

Salads with proteins like poultry, seeds, nuts, olive oil dressing, and some broccoli microgreens make for a great Keto meal.

But any Keto meal plan you make can incorporate microgreens to get essential micronutrients.

The keto diet emphasizes high-fat foods, moderate protein, and restricts carbohydrates, making microgreens, with very low carbohydrate, and 40 times more health-promoting micronutrients than regular greens, and keto a perfect combination.


You can continue reading the article below, or download the PDF version:

The Ketogenic Diet


In 1921, Dr. Russel Wilder, MD, of the Mayo Clinic instituted a protocol to treat epilepsy patients with a diet he was as effective as fasting.

Based on his successful results, Dr. Wilder invented the phrase “ketogenic diet.”

The Ketogenic diet became popular in the early 2000s when it got national coverage from NBC‐TV’s Dateline.


The ketogenic diet aims to induce ketosis in your body.

Ketosis is normal.

When you don’t have enough glucose for energy, you burn stored fats instead.

This results in a build-up of acids called ketones within you.

High Fat, Low Carb

Your digestive system is a giant food processor.

It breaks down starches and sugars mechanically (e.g. chewing) and chemically (e.g. enzymes) into the single unit glucose, fructose, and/or galactose.

It absorbs them into your bloodstream and transports them for use as energy.


Human Food Processor
Figure 1. Breaking down starches and sugars


In normal circumstances, your body’s cells use glucose as their primary form of energy.

Dietary carbohydrates produce glucose, including:

  • sugar– such as fruits and milk or yogurt, and
  • starchy foods– such as bread and pasta.

However, it takes more work to turn fat into energy than it takes to turn carbs into energy.

When you switch to a very high-fat, low-carb diet, you stop using glucose and use fatty acids and ketones for energy. Because of this, a ketogenic diet can help speed up weight loss.

The Ketogenic Calculator

The Mayo Clinic invented the Ketogenic Diet calculation used today: 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrates per day, and the rest of the calories in fat.

“The ketogenic — or keto — diet emphasizes high-fat foods, moderate protein, and restricts carbohydrates”, according to Jason Ewoldt, RDN, LD, a wellness dietitian at Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program (HLP).

High-fat foods Proteins Carbohydrates
60-80% 15-20% 5-10%
Fewer fats for weigh loss More protein for weigh loss < 50 g/day
Nuts, seeds, cheese, plain Greek yogurt, non-starchy and fibrous vegetables, oils Smaller amounts of meats, eggs, and fish

Keto Diet Variations

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) identifies meals high in fat. However, there are several different versions practiced on every continent.


Keto Diet Description
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD) This is a very low-carbohydrate with moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It contains 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and only 10 percent carbohydrates.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) This diet involves periods of higher-carbohydrates in between the ketogenic diet cycles, for example, five ketogenic days followed by two high-carbohydrate days as a cycle.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) This diet permits adding additional carbohydrates around the periods of the intensive physical workout.
High-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) This diet includes more protein and the ratio of around 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein and five percent carbohydrates, but it is still a very high-fat diet.
Very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) This diet comprises 90% (50kg) of calories from fat and only 10% of daily energy from carbohydrates and proteins.

VLCKD is a nutritional protocol that resembles fasting through a marked restriction of daily carbohydrate intake, lower than 30 g/day (13% of total energy intake) along with a relative increase in the proportions of fat (44%) and protein (43%) and a total daily energy intake <=800 kcal


These are just guidelines.

Does it work for weight loss?

You should be okay with fewer fats and more protein, in terms of weight loss.

It takes two to three weeks for you to start fat burning (ketosis). Once your body adapts, you become efficient at burning high amounts of fats for energy.

However, long term there is little difference between a ketogenic diet and a higher carbohydrate diet.

Want to learn more about the Keto Diet? Then head over to our friends at the Porch, and check out their article, The Experts’ Guide to a Ketogenic Lifestyle.  We found this to be one of the most comprehensive works about the Ketogenic diet and lifestyle on the Internet.

Microgreens and Keto

Eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day is eating less than four slices of bread.

In fact, it took Tracey a couple weeks to get there.

Also, because the saturated fat content is high, coupled with limited amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, physicians and nutrition experts do not consider Keto a long-term diet.

And according to the Mayo Clinic “meeting the diet’s requirements means cutting out many healthy foods, making it difficult to meet your micronutrient needs.”

Low-Carb Microgreens

Unlike mature plants, microgreens respire during the germination process.

Cotyledon cells in the “seed leaves” metabolize stored carbohydrates and do so until they drain carbohydrate resources, and the seedling is mature.

As it depletes carbohydrate sources, the cotyledons wither.

Since growers harvest microgreens at the cotyledon stage, they contain very little carbohydrates.

Most microgreens are low in carbs.

This is Where Microgreens Excel

Scientists consider microgreens to be live food.

They contain a wide range of vital life force nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and oxygen), live enzymes, and a great source of antioxidants.

They may help you extend Keto diets by meeting your micronutrient needs as suggested by the Mayo Clinic.


Microgreens Micronutrient Chart
Table 2. Growth, and nutritional composition profile of Brassica microgreens


In a research study of microgreen nutrition, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish had the highest concentrations of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.

Microgreens such as lettuce, broccoli and cabbage, are all suitable for the keto diet.

Use These Microgreens Sparingly

In another study, bull’s China rose radish, pepper cress, and Dijon mustard showed a high sugar concentration of 10.3, 8.8, and 7.7 g/kg.

This however is low compared to mature plants.

Peppercress has a sugar concentration of 44 g/kg.

Nonetheless use them sparingly.

Ketogenic Microgreen Recipes

With the popularity of the Keto diet today and some of its micronutrient deficiencies, microgreens are well-positioned to fill that gap.

And perhaps extend the Keto diet for persons all over the world who are obese and looking to lose weight.

Maybe you are thinking about starting a Keto diet, maybe you already have.

Whatever your reasons, adding microgreens to your diet is a great nutritional enhancement.

So, I went looking for Keto diet recipes that would pop your taste buds with some added microgreens.

Salads are one of my favorite ways to eat microgreens. You can either mix them with lettuce or other greens, or have them by themselves.

Get you copy of my book Eat Now! with 15 Keto-friendly Microgreen salads.

Eat Now! 15 Savory Microgreens Pocket Recipes
Below is one of my favorites from the book.

Microgreen Salad with Tahini Dressing

When I introduce people to microgreens for the first time, this is the dish I serve. It is easy to make and is delicious.

Microgreen Salad with Tahini Dressing
Figure 3. Broccoli Microgreens Salad

Broccoli Microgreen Salad with Tahini Dressing

When I introduce people to microgreens for the first time, this is the dish I serve. It is easy to make and is delicious.

  • Author: Andrew Neves
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 0 min
  • Total Time: 15 min
  • Yield: 1 Person 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 tray Broccoli microgreens
  • 1/3 cup Tahini (sesame seed, lemon juice, salt, yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tbsp Ground Black Pepper (or to taste)


  1. Cut and wash the microgreens.
  2. Mix the tahini, water, lemon juice, onion, salt, and pepper until smooth
  3. Add dressing to microgreens and serve!


It’s that easy.

Keywords: microgreens nutrition, microgreens recipes, broccoli microgreens

The Charlie Foundation

A team of doctors created the Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies in 1994 “to provide information about diet therapies for people with epilepsy, other neurological disorders and select cancers.”

The Charlie Foundation also has many great Keto recipes. Go here:

Microgreens are Keto Friendly

You can incorporate microgreens into your Keto meal plan to get essential micronutrients.

Varieties of Microgreens:

  • Brassicaceae family: Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, radish and arugula
  • Asteraceae family: Lettuce, endive, chicory and radicchio
  • Apiaceae family: Dill, carrot, fennel and celery
  • Amaryllidaceae family: Garlic, onion, leek
  • Amaranthaceae family: Amaranth, quinoa swiss chard, beet and spinach
  • Cucurbitaceae family: Melon, cucumber and squash

Yes, microgreens are more than Keto friendly. They should be a part of your Keto diet.

Let us know what you think. Share with your friends and family.

Very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD)

Other references:

Wilder RM. (1921) The effect on ketonemia on the course of epilepsy. Mayo Clinical Bulletin 2:307.

Peterman MG. (1925) The ketogenic diet in epilepsy. JAMA 84:1979–1983.

Xiao, Z.; Lester, G. E.; Luo, Y.; Wang, Q. Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2012, 60 (31), 7644−7651

I’ve learned a lot about microgreens, how good they are for you, and what you can do with them. Check out my guide, “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens.”

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