Is Maca Keto Friendly
Introduction To Maca and The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic (or Keto) diet has recently gained tremendous popularity for its potential to promote weight loss and improve overall well being. Although the results it can offer are indeed attractive, adhering to a keto diet can be quite a challenge, as it requires strict control of carbohydrate intake. One of the questions we often receive as maca specialists is whether or not maca root is “keto friendly.” To answer that question, it’s important to dive into maca root’s nutritional composition, potential benefits and impact on ketosis.
A Basic Understanding the "Keto" / Ketogenic Diet
Before jumping into the nutritional content of maca, let’s have a look at what the keto diet is. Any ketogenic diet is characterized by the consumption of foods that are relatively high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. This dietary approach causes the body to enter a state of ketosis, in which it relies on fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This is meant to support healthy body mass and to help people lose fat.
To maintain ketosis, it's crucial to limit daily carb intake to around 20-50 grams. That’s less than 25% of the typical recommended daily adult allowance for carbs (130g). When you consider that just 2 slices of whole wheat bread contains 25g of carbohydrates, a slice of pizza contains 35g and even a medium apple contains 15-20g, it’s easy to see how challenging this approach can be.
The Nutritional Profile of Maca Root
Maca root is a nutrient dense vegetable grown in the high Andes with a long history of use. The nutrition it provides has helped sustain generations of people who live in the harsh climactic conditions at or above 10,000 feet (3000 M). Recently, due to its ability to support wellness in a variety of ways, it has become popular among health seekers in various parts of the world.
It's important to note that fresh maca roots are not available outside of Peru. Instead all of the maca that is exported from Peru comes in dried form, either maca chips, maca capsules or the most common form of all maca powder. Most people outside of the high Andes, consume maca either in powder form or capusle/pill form. This is crucial to understand for the following reason. If you search the question: "Is Maca Keto-Friendly?" on Google, among the first results is an article claiming that the serving size of maca is 100 grams. This may potentially be true for some people in Peru and Bolivia who consume fresh maca roots, but 100 grams of maca powder or capsules is well over 10 times the actual suggested serving size. Other articles have incorrect information about the carb content of maca root. See maca’s full nutritional profile
So in considering the nutrient values of a standard serving size of maca root powder (9 g or about 1 tablespoon) we see that it contains:
- 1 g fiber – 4% RDA
- 2g sugar – 0% RDA
- 1g protein
- 5g carbohydrate – 4% RDA
Is Maca Keto-Friendly?
Based on its relatively low net carbohydrate (just 5g per serving), maca root powder is indeed keto friendly. At that rate a standard serving of maca would make up between 10 and 20% of your daily carbohydrate allowance, depending on how strictly you follow the Keto diet's guidelines.
In addition, the dietary fiber present in maca can further reduce the impact of these carbs on blood sugar and therefore help the body maintain ketosis.
The consumption of maca while on a ketogenic diet may also have some added benefits:
- Since maca root is also rich in minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, it is a great way to nourish the body on various levels without consuming excessive carbohydrates.
- Maca is known for its potential to support hormonal balance, boost energy, and enhance libido, which may be valuable for individuals on a keto diet.
- Maca can also elevate mood and relieve anxiety and depression which can make it easier to stick with any sort of new discipline, including a new diet.
- Maca can support weight loss since it increases energy and activity levels for most people and for some even serves as an appetite suppresant
Some Further Considerations
- Portion Control: While maca is relatively low in carbs, it's essential to practice portion control to avoid exceeding your daily carb limit.
- Individual Variability: The impact of maca on ketosis can vary from person to person. Some individuals may be more sensitive to carbohydrate intake, so monitoring ketone levels is advisable.
- Maca Preparations: Pay attention to how you consume maca. Maca capsules are easy to swallow with just water, whereas maca powders require more preparation. Often consumers mix maca into a smoothie or other beverage. It’s important to watch the carb levels of any other ingredients to help you maintain a low carb count and to keep your body in ketosis.
In conclusion, maca is keto-friendly when consumed at suggested serving sizes, and it offers several potential health benefits. However, it's important to factor in its carbohydrate content and individual response when incorporating it into a ketogenic diet. As with any dietary change, consulting with a healthcare professional or nutritionist is advisable to ensure it aligns with your specific goals and needs.
Remember that the ketogenic diet is highly individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Make informed choices and monitor your body's response to maca to determine its compatibility with your keto journey.
Enjoy the day!