Is Salmon Keto?

If you’re new to Keto or looking to expand your Keto food list then you might be wondering if Salmon is a Keto-friendly option.  The short answer is, yes!  Salmon is one of the best foods that you can include in your Keto meal plan.  The following article will highlight the benefits of salmon as well as give you an in-depth look at what makes this tasty fish so Keto-friendly. 

Overview of the Keto diet

Before you can understand why salmon is a great option on Keto you need to first understand how the Keto diet works.  Keto is short for Ketogenic.  At it’s heart, the Keto diet is a very low-carb diet that asks you to restrict your net carbs to 20g a day for men and 25g a day for women.  The rest of the diet is made up of a large number of healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein.  

The basic ratio that you should aim at on Keto is 70-75% of your calories coming from healthy fats, 20-25% of your calories coming from protein and only 5-10% of your calories sourced from carbohydrates.  This means that your diet will include lean meats, seafood, nuts, oils, seeds, low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

There are a variety of reasons why you might choose to begin the Keto diet.  A lot of people on Keto started it in an effort to lose weight, especially stubborn belly fat.  In addition to weight loss, the Keto diet can help you improve your energy levels, reduce brain fog and stabilize your blood sugar.

Why does the Keto diet limit carbohydrates?

The Keto diet has a very good reason to limit the number of carbs that you eat.  In order to see all of the benefits mentioned above you need to switch the way that your body creates fuel and energy.  Traditional higher carb diets use glucose as energy.  Glucose is mainly sourced from the carbohydrates that you eat.

Carbohydrates are turned into glucose by your liver very shortly after you’ve eaten them.  From there they’re used to fuel your body’s various processes and any that aren’t used immediately are stored in your body as fat to be used at a later date.  As soon as your body has burned through the available glucose it sends hunger signals to your brain asking for more.  This usually occurs within a few hours after eating carbs.

This causes a few problems for you.  For starters, your energy levels are all over the place.  If you’ve ever eaten a high carb meal you’ve probably experienced this.  Shortly after eating you experience a burst of energy, and an hour or two later this energy spike is followed by a sharp drop.  These sugar highs and sugar lows can make it difficult to function because your body works best with a steady source of fuel.

Because glucose is burned through so quickly it causes you to get hungry frequently.  If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, then you know that hunger pains are an enemy that you don’t want to do battle with.  Glucose is also stored away in your body for later use; however, that time never comes because there’s always a steady source of carbohydrates to replenish the ones that are burned away.  This causes that stored fat to continue to build no matter how hard you work out. 

How is Keto different?

The Keto diet seeks to switch your body from using glucose as its primary source of food to using ketones.  Ketones are also created in your liver; however, they’re created using stored fat as opposed to carbohydrates. In order to make this switch you need to let your body know that carbohydrates aren’t going to be readily available anymore, so it had better switch over to its backup source of energy.

Ketones have many benefits over glucose as an energy source.  For starters, they provide your body with a steady source of energy.  The stored fat that your body uses to create ketones is available whenever your body needs it.  It also takes longer to burn through than glucose.  You can think of it like a fire.  Glucose is similar to the quick burning twigs that you toss in the fire while ketones are more like a long burning log.  

This steady supply of energy helps stabilize your blood sugar levels.  This can be helpful for diabetics who are looking to keep their blood sugar as stable as possible.  Because you’re literally burning away stored fat to fuel your body it allows you to get rid of that stubborn belly fat that your body refused to part with.

Keto and fish

Almost all sources of fish are great additions to the Keto diet.  Fish are a lean source of protein with plenty of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.  The fats in fish are the type that you want to fuel your body with.  Fish is low in saturated fats while being high in unsaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with Omega 3’s.  Fish is general low in calories which makes it easy to fit into any meal plan and all fish with the exception of shellfish has zero carbs.  Fish is also very versatile which makes it easy to find ways to work it into your daily Keto meal plan.

Is salmon Keto?

Yes!  Salmon is 100% Keto friendly and it can be enjoyed as often as you’d like while on Keto.  There are no net carbs in salmon which makes it easy to fit this fish into your Keto meal plan.  The healthy Omega 3 fats in salmon give your brain and your heart a much-needed boost.  Your body cannot produce Omega 3’s naturally; however, they’re essential so it’s important to get as many as you can through your diet. 

Salmon is a very versatile fish.  You can take a whole salmon fillet and grill it, smoke it, cook it in the oven or pan fry it.  Salmon is also available in cans and makes a great addition to Keto fish tacos, salads and Keto-friendly sandwiches.  You can keep it simple and eat salmon with some veggies or you can use salmon as an ingredient in fish cakes, chowders or casseroles. The possibilities are practically endless!

Although salmon is Keto friendly, there are some things that you should keep in mind.  For starters, salmon itself is Keto-friendly; however, the methods that you use to cook it may or may not be right for your Keto.  If you’re looking to stick to your Keto meal plan you should use the oven to cook or salmon with some lemon juice, spices and a little bit of butter.  Steer clear of breading such as panko or breadcrumbs as these can rack up your carb count.  You can also pan fry your salmon in some healthy oils to get an added boost of healthy fats and Omega 3’s.  

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to salmon is where it is sourced.  Mercury and other can be absorbed into the fish through the water that they swim in.  If you’re looking for the healthiest salmon possible then you should stick with wild-caught salmon.  Farmed salmon tends to have higher levels of contaminants so it’s worth the added cost of buying wild salmon if you can. 

The benefits of salmon

Salmon has many health benefits that make it the perfect addition to the Keto diet.  As mentioned above, it’s a fish that’s extremely high in Omega 3’s. A 4g serving of salmon contains 5.5g of fat which is fantastic for helping your body stay in Ketosis.  Of those 5.5g, roughly 1.5g is Omega 3’s and less than 1g is saturated fats with the rest consisting of polyunsaturated fats. 

There are no carbs and a whopping 31.7g of protein in a serving. There are also some important vitamins and nutrients including vitamins A, B and D.  Salmon is a great source pf potassium which is important to maintain your electrolyte balance while on Keto.  You can also find generous amounts of magnesium, selenium, zinc and phosphorus.  If you eat canned salmon, you’re also getting some calcium from the edible bones.

All of these nutrients lead to some impressive health benefits for this healthy fish. The vitamin D and calcium that’s in canned salmon can help you prevent osteoporosis.  Eating salmon while pregnant will help your baby’s brain develop properly and aid in a healthy pregnancy. 

The Omega 3’s are important for maintaining heart health and may help ward off heart disease. Omega 3’s may also play a role in boosting your mood and the amino acids found in salmon can be helpful in preventing and treating depression and other mood disorders. They might even help prevent Alzheimer’s by slowing the decline of memory loss. 


Salmon is one of the best foods that you can eat on the Keto diet. It’s chock full of healthy vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats such as Omega 3’s.  There are plenty of health benefits gained by eating a diet that includes salmon.  Be sure you choose wild-caught salmon over farm raised and make sure that you cook it with Keto-friendly ingredients.  This will allow you to enjoy this tasty fish without any guilt over contaminants or carbs.

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