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Carbohydrate Information for Lettuce

Carbs, Calories, Nutritional Information and Low-Carb Recipes

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Updated May 23, 2014

Romaine lettuce being cleaned & chopped
Matthew O'Shea/Photodisc/Getty Images
Lettuce and other leafy greens are sometimes considered a "free" food on low-carb diets because they have so little impact on blood glucose. The vitamin K they are packed with may even have a positive impact on blood glucose, and some diabetics notice that it is easier to control their blood glucose when they eat a lot of greens. Almost everyone would probably benefit from eating a serving of greens every day.

With lettuces, the general rule is "the darker the green, the better it is for you." Although all lettuces are nutritious, there are a huge difference between iceberg lettuce and the darker greens such as romaine - romaine has 17 times more Vitamin A than iceberg lettuce, for example. The best strategy is to eat a mix of greens in your salad, including the reddish ones, as each has a different constellation of nutrients to contribute.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Lettuce

The carbohydrate amounts listed for the different lettuces in the U.S. Department of Agriculture database vary so slightly that the differences are probably not significant, and are likely due to the particular sample tested than to true differences between the varieties. These are averages.
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce: .6 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus half a gram of fiber and 7 calories
  • 1 large lettuce leaf: .3 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus .3 gram fiber and 3 calories
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) lettuce: 1.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber and 16 calories

Glycemic Index for Lettuce

As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of lettuce.

More Information about the Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load of Lettuce

  • 1 cup shredded lettuce:0
  • 1 large lettuce leaf: 0
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) lettuce: 1

More Information About the Glycemic Load

Health Benefits of Lettuce

Lettuce is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K and vitamin A. It is a very good source of vitamin C, iron, and folate, and a good source of thiamin, potassium and manganese. More Information on the Health Benefits of Lettuce and other Leafy Greens

Low-Carb Recipes with Lettuce

More Carb Profiles:

Sources:

Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.

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