Is Maca Keto Friendly?

  • Date: January 1, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

While Maca is great for building muscle and is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, copper, and bioactive plant compounds, it is not a keto-friendly food. If you’re following a ketogenic, low-carb, high-fat diet, you’ll want to consume foods that follow this dietary balance. The good news is that there are plenty of keto-friendly alternatives to Maca that can take your healthy recipes to the next level.

What is Maca?

Maca powder is derived from Maca root. Maca is a tuber plant that is native to central Peru. It grows in the Andes Mountains thousands of miles above sea level. Harvested Maca powder has a pale-yellow color and a slightly nutty or butterscotch flavor.

Maca is often called a superfood. It’s also a popular choice for making healthy smoothies, overnight oats, chia seed pudding, granola, raw and no-bake desserts, lattes, and hot chocolate drinks.

A Keto-Cap (aka A Keto Recap!)

If you’re new to keto and want a bit more information, check out our keto beginners guide.

As a quick summary, if you need it, the keto (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet.

The whole concept of the keto diet is that your body transitions from burning glucose, in simple terms, sugars or carbohydrates, to burning fat as its primary fuel source.

For a keto diet, people will restrict their macros to eating;

  • 70% of their calories from fat
  • 25% from protein
  • 5% from carbohydrates

Sticking to these macros for a period of time will put your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body has transitioned from burning carbohydrates as its primary fuel source to burning fat for fuel. It is at this point that you will start to see and feel the benefits of the keto diet.

There are a lot of new terms and abbreviations that you may come across, sometimes it can feel like a new language that you need to learn. In order to help you out and keep you on the right track, we have created a keto terms and keto abbreviations guide, bookmark these to make your keto journey easier.

Some people can be put off the keto diet because of the side effects, however, these are only short-lived and the health benefits of keto far outweigh the side effects.

One of the main benefits which attract people to the keto diet is that it can cause significant reductions in insulin levels (by up to 75%) and blood sugar levels, which can be attractive to those that struggle with diabetes, amongst other health complaints.

What is the Nutritional Value of Maca?

One ounce of Maca root (6 teaspoons) contains

  • 20 grams of carbs
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of fat.
  • 91 calories.

How Many Net Carbs Are There in Maca?

3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of Organic Maca powder contains 4 grams of net carbs.

Is Maca Keto-Friendly?

You’ll probably find that many recipes include Maca. Despite its high nutritional value, Maca may not qualify as a keto food due to its high-carb and low-fat content.  

Maca can help you gain weight because it stimulates your muscles to burn calories efficiently. Due to Maca’s anabolic action, you might burn more calories during a workout. But adding muscle mass will also increase your weight.

If you’re following a low-carb and high-fat ketogenic diet and want a healthy powder to add to your recipes, check out these low-carb and high-fat Maca alternatives below.

Are There Different Maca Flavors/Varieties that Are Not Keto?

Red, yellow, and black Maca varieties have subtle color differences and similar flavors.

All Maca root varieties can boost muscle growth and can add weight.

Since Maca is relatively high in carbs, it is not considered a keto food.

What Are the Health Benefits of Maca?

Maca contains powerful antioxidant compounds that include:

  • 133% of Vitamin C’s Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • 23% RDI for Iron
  • 85% RDI for Copper
  • 15% RDI for Vitamin B6
  • 16% RDI for Potassium
  • 10% RDI for Manganese
  • Plant glucosinolates (nutritional metabolites) and polyphenol (micronutrients) 4, 5, 6, and 7

What are the Best Keto Alternatives to Maca?

  • Chia seeds: A fiber-packed alternative with 2 grams of net carbs in one serving. Check out our article on the health benefits of chia seeds here.
  • Yacon Root: A low-glycemic and low-calorie alternative with 13 calories and 4 net carbs per serving
  • Matcha Green Tea Powder: This tasty alternative has only 1 gram of net carbs per 1 teaspoon (1 serving) and 10 total calories for a low-carb, keto-friendly choice.

Keto Friendly Matcha Green Tea Powder

Staying hydrated on the keto diet is really important, for more on how much water you should be drinking, check out our guide to staying hydrated on the keto diet.

If you’re planning on dehydrating yourself(!) and drinking alcohol on the keto diet, check out our ultimate guide to drinking alcohol on a keto diet. Also, you may be interested in, how to recover from a cheat day.

Summary: Is Maca Keto Friendly?

Sorry, no, maca is not keto friendly. There are plenty of keto friendly alternative

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