Is Pho Keto? Does It Have Sugar? (With Best Keto Vegan Pho Recipe)

It’s believed that pho was created in the late 1880s in northern areas of Vietnam as a result of French colonization. (And that’s why some historians argue that “pho” comes from French “feu” – fire).  

This soup, typically made of meat (in most cases beef), broth, herbs, and rice noodles, grew extremely popular in the U.S during the 1990’s. And this trend is not going away. As long as the popularity of a healthy diet. That’s why the question “Is pho keto?” is not a joke and requires a detailed answer. 

Do you have a particular question about keto pho? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Does pho have sugar?

Pho does include a whole bunch of spices and seasonings. And depending on the recipe, it might have some sugar. To keep things simple, let’s have a look at authentic pho recipe by Snapdragon. 

The list of ingredients includes sugar, tapioca, starch, salt, cellulose gum, soybean oil, spice powder, citric acid, silicon dioxide, dried carrot, dried cabbage, and dried green onion, dried coriander, etc.   

And in total, it has around 4g of sugars per serving (and 43g of carbs in pho bowl overall).

Is Pho low in carbs?

Since every cook uses completely different ingredients, the total number of carbs in pho may vary. However, for all the classic recipes, rice noodles are a must. And that’s what contributes to the net carb count of the dish the most. 

To be more specific, let’s look at popular version of this soup by Annie Chun’s. It has 54g of net carbs (62g of total carbs and 6g from fiber) per serving (bowl of 168g). Generally, it can’t be called a low carb meal if we are talking about the typical recipe with the noodle. 

Is pho without noodles keto-friendly?

Since noodles are the primary factor contributing to the pho’s net carb count, leaving it out of the soup equation will make it more keto-friendly. E.g., let’s say you are using broth base for your soup to keep the cooking simple. 

It has 3g of carbs per serving (5g), including 1g of sugar. Of course, you’ll have to add some more ingredients to the base – but you might limit this list to low-carb ingredients only. Therefore you’ll end up with your custom made version keto pho without noodles. 

Can pho be keto-friendly?

Amongst the ingredients contributing to the authentic taste of pho are mostly spices. And those are definitely safe for keto. 

Keep those and substitute any product from the recipe with high insulin index and high net carb count into keto appropriate. That way, you can end up with the perfect meal. 

For instance, animal-derived proteins tend to increase insulin levels and contribute to insulin resistance, even though these are low in carbs. So you might switch beef to portobello mushrooms. And you can use shirataki noodles instead of rice noodles to decrease the total carbs count. And the list of pho keto options goes on. 

Keto pho recipe

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