Carbs In Peppers: The Fact And Fiction

With the popularity of ketogenic diets in recent years, the carbohydrate content of various foods has become an important topic for people watching their weight and their calorie intake. Carbohydrates provide energy and when that energy isn’t used up, it gets stored as fat. Carbohydrate counting is important for people with diabetes as well since it can help them to control their blood sugar. Chili peppers are often promoted as a low-carb food that is safe both for people who are trying to lose weight and for those who need to control blood sugar. But are all peppers low in carbohydrates? Are all varieties the same? Below we answer these and other questions about the carbs in peppers.

Do chili peppers contain carbs?

All vegetables contain carbohydrates, but not all contain the same amount. Chili peppers are definitely on the list of low-carb vegetables, but they do contain some. It is important to note that much of the total carbohydrate in peppers is from dietary fiber, which is important for gut and heart health. Most of the carbohydrates in hot peppers that are not from fiber are from fructose and glucose.

Do some chili pepper varieties have more carbs than others?

Some hot peppers do contain slightly more carbohydrates than others, even though they are all low-carb foods. You will get about 6 grams of carbs from a cup of chopped jalapeños. Bell peppers have more with about 9 grams per cup, while habaneros are relatively high in sugars so you get about 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Keep in mind that the typical serving size for habaneros is considerably smaller than a cup.

How do hot peppers compare to high-carb foods?

Chili peppers — even the ones with a relatively high carbohydrate content — have a much lower carbohydrate count than most high-carb foods. Compare the 9 grams of carbohydrate that you get from a cup of chopped red bell pepper to the 17 grams of carbohydrate you get from the same amount of chopped apple and the 26 grams from potatoes. A cup of cooked pasta contains 42 grams of carbohydrates.

Do ripe chili peppers contain more carbs than unripe ones?

Fully ripe peppers typically contain more carbohydrates than unripe ones. For example, ripe bell peppers have about 9 grams while unripe ones have about 7 grams. Bell peppers that are in between the ripe and unripe stages will have a carbohydrate count that is between 7 and 9 grams; however, this is a somewhat controversial point since some sources claim that the ripening process consumes some of the sugars. It is possible that ripe bell peppers may have a slightly lower carbohydrate content than peppers in the intermediate stage.

Do dried peppers lose their carbs?

Drying peppers does not remove their carbs but it does reduce the peppers’ volume, which means that 100 grams of dried bell pepper will contain about 70 grams of carbohydrates. You will only get about 6 grams of carbs from fresh, chopped bell pepper.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 20, 2020 to include new content.
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