Struggling with onions and 10g carbs

(Karim Wassef) #1

I love onions.
I need to stay under 10g carbs per day (strictly).

Unfortunately, the net carbs in 1 cup of chopped onions (160g) is 12.3g

The penalty here is that with only a few more vegetable ingredients, and with a small portion (20% of a recipe), I can easily be over 10g.

For example, I make a dish with 1lb of asparagus, 1lb of portobello mushrooms and 1 onion… total cooked weight was ~ 1kg with 46g of carbs. If I take a 20% portion (200g), I’m at my limit.

Any fixes? Onion powder? Onion flavoring? Different kinds of fibrous onions? Ways to enhance the flavor with smaller quantities?

Does anyone else struggle with this? I’ve already given up tomatoes and limes because of the carb content. Onions and garlic are my holdouts.

(charlie3) #2

I’ve been “keto” or 2 years, not 20 total carbs, but 40 net carbs, mostly from non startchy vegetables and onion. In addition to the above, 40% of daily calories are burned by activity/exercise. I believe all those discretionary extra calories do more to make me fat adapted and in ketosis than cutting back to 20 total carbs and being inactive. I could be wrong but that’s what i do. The reason for the extra carbs is to avoid diet fatique.


I do 20g carbs. Is there a specific reason for the 10g?
Yeah- onions are a real problem. I like my food spicy. And onion powder won’t help. Full of the same carbs.

(Karim Wassef) #4

I run my own experiments and every body is different. I measure glucose and ketones before and after eating.

Unfortunately, more carbs raise my glucose and drop my ketones.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #5

All I can think of is using less bulb onion and adding green onion tops at the end. That’s probably not what you want. I quit bulb onion mostly and used dried flakes, they seem to have more flavor if you put them in at the end but it’s not the caramelized flavor of browned onion. Good to see you Karim. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Karim Wassef) #6

Excellent suggestion David! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.

That’s why you’re the chef!! :smiley:

(Bunny) #7

Personally I don’t count veggie carbs because they are too insignificant to my metabolism.

Maybe Subtract the fiber?

Maybe use less Onion?


Me too!


I’m not on the 20g thing, but have you directly seen a noticeable negative from going above that? I don’t really count the carbs from most veggies unless is something crazy like a potato.

I eat tomatoes all the time, never had a limb fall off or anything noticeable bad happens. Knowing your macros is important, but what actually happens in real life is important too.

(Karim Wassef) #9

Yes. As I said, I measure my glucose and ketones and track detailed weight and fat data.

Every body is different and unfortunately I’m very carb intolerant. My wife isn’t and my daughter isn’t.

Going even slightly over the 10g crashes my ketones quickly and puts me in sugar burning mode, then (this is the bad part), it makes me very hungry.

I water fast for weeks (Karim's Extended Fast Tracker - come along for the ride) and I don’t get as hungry as one meal with 20g of carbs will make me. I would rather eat nothing than do that.

It’s great that many people can stay in ketosis over 80g. I’m just not one of them. :smiley:

(Karim Wassef) #10

I did subtracts the fiber. The net carbs still severely limit my portions. 10g net is difficult.

Using less onions is obviously good but they’re kind of key to flavor.

One idea I had was to manually remove the onion from the dish after cooking but I’m not sure if that will actually remove the carbs or if they will have dissolved into the other foods.

Another idea is to find an alternative onion (as David recommended). I’m going to try scallions instead.

Maybe I can pre-sauté then in the pan to flavor the oil and then remove them before adding the other ingredients… then finish with onion flake or onion salt.

More ideas… is it possible to cool down the cooked onions to make their starch resistant (couldn’t find this for onions) then bring it to room temperature and add it back to the dish?


I always loved onions and always will eat them, probably.
I use garlic and lots of other spices too. It’s just amount amounts.
I don’t need much of them anymore. They aren’t only carby but very flavorful and onions are quite sweet as well and I don’t like my savory food too sweet. So I mostly use some onion powder (or rather my BBQ spice, it has onion powder, garlic powder, mustard seed powder, black pepper and more, it’s about every spice I like except red pepper) but a stew must have onions in this household. Still, it’s not extremely much despite my high-carber SO makes it. Onion is a spice for the meat. It’s nothing like my past when I easily used a whole BIG onion per 1-2 eggs in my scrambled eggs… :smiley: I stopped doing that during my low-carb then keto years and it’s fine, I wrote, onions are very flavorful, a little goes a long way. Sometimes I keep some fried onion in the fridge and use a little for dishes. No need for a whole onion for a single portion. Especially not with 10g net carbs, I overdo that amount with animal products alone very easily (I usually don’t as I try to avoid lactose but it would be ridiculously easy. even 20g would be easy)… But if I stick to meat and eggs, it’s around 5g. If it’s only meat, some onions fit in too. Considering 10g carbs seem to be your hard limit, carnivore (maybe relaxed or dirty or almost carnivore) comes to mind… You can make some special day with more veggies and meat if you like but it’s probably easiest if your default attitude is not eating plants. I couldn’t even do 20g when vegetables were on the menu except like now: spices, condiments, some onion in some meat dishes, even half a pickle sometimes… That works but some veggie dish wish multiple vegetables (even higher-carb like onion) and mushroom?! It’s not a dish for <10g net carbs unless you like tiny portions.

If I don’t need “proper” onions in a food but some kind would be nice (it’s spring when I like fresh new things and my beef soup is a tad boring), I use some spring onion (I keep them in a pot, they grows so quickly! they are pretty cute too), it’s mostly green leaves. It’s nice too just not like mature onion heads but it’s good, it’s green and not sweet… I dislike most green leaves but onions are fine. I do the same with garlic, by the way but garlic green leaves are much more similar to the bulb taste wise.

Onion flavored oil… I have that sometimes, better than nothing but it’s weak, simply using way less onions probably would be similar.



Total Carbohydrate1 g

Dietary fiber0.4 g

Sugar0 g

(Full Metal KETO AF) #13

I just though of something when you mentioned the sauté in oil and remove. In Asia sometimes they make an onion flavored oil. The use a lot of crisp fried onion and garlic in Indonesia. The oil gets a very strong onion or garlic flavor to it. Also in some Chinese cooking they use scallion oil. I would think most of the carbs and sugar remain in the fried onion and mostly other compounds flavor the oil but who knows for sure? You could drizzle the oil over the finished dish. Aromatics are a big part of taste sensation since the tongue can only really detect basic stuff, sugar, salt, sour, bitter, and “umami”. Everything else is smell. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Karim Wassef) #14

I am usually carnivore and even then, I struggle with portions of egg white, liver and shellfish. Their carb content needs to be just as tightly controlled. That’s especially sad because liver is a superfood for me.

(Karim Wassef) #15

I’m going to try that. It’s all about flavor really.

(Jill F.) #16

I love onions, like almost as much as bacon! I splurge about once a week and eat them on a salad or sauteed on a steak. Dont care too much if I go over my carbs eating onions or tomatoes once in a while. (I promise I did NOT get to an unhealthy weight prior to keto eating onions, lol)

(Karim Wassef) #17

Some people are luckier than others! :smiley:

(cerastez) #18

Add monk fruit sweetener and salt to whatever you are cooking and reduce the amount of onions. The sweetner and salt will make the onion taste seems stronger.

(Bob M) #19

To be honest, I’ve never once been concerned about the carbs in onions. I did not gain weight by eating onions.

(Pat) #20

According to Calorie King app onion is 5.5 g for one cup of chopped onion and this is for all types of onion. Are your cups American or Australian?