Keto Friendly

Is Pho Keto Friendly

Is Pho Keto Friendly?

Pho is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles, and various toppings such as meat, herbs, and vegetables. It is a beloved comfort food for many, but for those following a ketogenic diet, the question arises: is pho keto friendly? In this article, we will explore the components of pho and how they fit into a keto lifestyle.

The Components of Pho

Before we delve into the keto-friendliness of pho, let’s break down its components:

  • Broth: The base of pho is typically made from simmering bones, meat, and aromatic spices for hours. It is rich in flavor and provides the foundation for the dish.
  • Noodles: Traditional pho is made with rice noodles, which are high in carbohydrates.
  • Toppings: Pho is often served with various toppings such as thinly sliced beef or chicken, bean sprouts, herbs like cilantro and Thai basil, lime wedges, and chili peppers.

The Keto Diet and Carbohydrate Restriction

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control. The primary goal of the keto diet is to enter a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

For individuals following a keto diet, carbohydrate intake is typically limited to around 20-50 grams per day. This restriction helps the body maintain ketosis and promotes fat burning.

Is Pho Keto Friendly?

When it comes to pho, the high carbohydrate content of rice noodles makes it challenging to fit into a keto diet. A typical serving of pho can contain upwards of 50 grams of carbohydrates, which is already at the upper limit for many keto dieters.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on pho entirely if you’re following a keto lifestyle. There are several modifications you can make to enjoy a lower-carb version of this beloved dish:

1. Swap Rice Noodles for Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are a low-carb alternative made from the konjac plant. They are virtually calorie-free and contain only a few grams of carbohydrates per serving. By substituting rice noodles with shirataki noodles, you can significantly reduce the carb content of your pho while still enjoying a similar texture.

2. Opt for a Broth-Based Soup

Another option is to skip the noodles altogether and enjoy a broth-based soup. This allows you to savor the flavorful broth and toppings without the added carbohydrates. You can still include the traditional pho toppings like meat, herbs, and vegetables to enhance the taste and nutritional value of your soup.

3. Choose Leaner Protein Sources

While pho traditionally includes cuts of beef or chicken with higher fat content, you can opt for leaner protein sources to reduce the overall fat content of the dish. This can be particularly beneficial if you are following a keto diet for weight loss purposes.

4. Be Mindful of Toppings and Condiments

Some pho toppings and condiments, such as hoisin sauce and sweet chili sauce, can be high in sugar and carbohydrates. Be mindful of the toppings you choose and opt for lower-carb options like fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime wedges.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I have pho on a keto diet?

While traditional pho is high in carbohydrates due to the rice noodles, you can modify the dish to make it more keto-friendly. Swap rice noodles for shirataki noodles, choose a broth-based soup, and be mindful of toppings and condiments.

2. How many carbs are in a bowl of pho?

A typical serving of pho can contain upwards of 50 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the rice noodles. This can vary depending on the portion size and specific ingredients used.

3. Are there any low-carb alternatives to pho?

Yes, there are several low-carb alternatives to pho that you can enjoy on a keto diet. Some options include zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice as substitutes for rice noodles.

4. Can I make pho at home to control the carb content?

Absolutely! Making pho at home allows you to have full control over the ingredients and customize the dish to fit your dietary needs. You can experiment with different noodle alternatives and adjust the toppings and condiments to reduce the carb content.

5. Can I enjoy pho occasionally on a keto diet?

While pho may not be the most keto-friendly option, you can still enjoy it occasionally by making modifications to reduce the carb content. Just be mindful of portion sizes and the overall carbohydrate intake for the day.

6. Are there any other Vietnamese dishes that are more keto-friendly?

Yes, there are several Vietnamese dishes that are more keto-friendly than pho. Some examples include grilled meats, stir-fried vegetables, and fresh spring rolls without the rice paper.


Pho, with its rice noodles, is not inherently keto-friendly due to its high carbohydrate content. However, by making simple modifications such as swapping rice noodles for shirataki noodles, opting for a broth-based soup, and choosing leaner protein sources, you can enjoy a lower-carb version of this beloved Vietnamese dish. It’s important to be mindful of toppings and condiments that may add extra carbs. Remember, the key to a successful keto diet is finding balance and making choices that align with your health goals.