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Is Canned Salmon Keto?

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  Published on September 8th, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified August 17th, 2023
Keto canned salmon

You’ve heard health advocates discuss heart-healthy fish packed with essential omega-3 fatty acids you must obtain from your diet. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that adults consume 8-10 ounces of seafood weekly. [1] Salmon is one of the best fish for obtaining these omega-3s (as well as having other health benefits), and can be transformed into lettuce wraps, breakfast bakes, salads, and other delicious protein-rich meals.

Salmon comes in many varieties, from smoked salmon sold in a packet to fresh wild-caught salmon behind the counter at the grocery store and the ever-convenient canned salmon. Keto dieters who love the ease and practicality of canned fish might be questioning if canned salmon is keto. Let’s look at the nutrient profile of canned salmon to see if it’s suitable for those following a ketogenic diet.

Nutrients in Canned Salmon

Like sardines and mackerel, salmon is a fatty fish high in omega-3s. Omega-3s have been linked to lower insulin levels in people who are overweight or obese. [2] In addition to those heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, canned salmon provides other nutrients like potassium and B vitamins. For example, one can of sockeye salmon provides a hefty 1370 mg of potassium. [3] Potassium supports your nervous system and protects against stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.

Canned salmon

One can of sockeye salmon also provides 1340 mg of phosphorus, 312 mg of choline, and 3170 IU of vitamin D. Most people aren’t actually reaching the recommended intake for choline, which is an essential nutrient. [4] Your liver makes small amounts of choline, but you get the majority through your diet. Choline plays a vital role in healthy brain development, muscle movement, and metabolism. The sunshine vitamin D is protective for your immune system and has been shown to decrease the likelihood of viruses and flu-like infections. Low vitamin D levels may contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome. [5]

In general, regular consumption of fish is associated with better brain health and a lower risk of disease. [6]

Some people are concerned with the levels of mercury found in fish, particularly larger, fattier fish like salmon. Most health advocates and experts suggest including some salmon in your diet because the level of mercury is too low to be a concern for most people. Many people are also concerned about cans that use a lining containing bisphenol A (BPA). More brands are now choosing cans with BPA-free lining, which should be marked somewhere on the can.

It’s clear that canned salmon brings plenty of nutritional benefits, but is it keto-friendly?

Is Canned Salmon Keto?

Salmon Salad Lettuce Wraps

Yes, canned salmon is keto, and in general, fish are keto-friendly because they contain virtually zero carbs and a nice serving of fat and protein. One can of sockeye salmon has zero grams of carbohydrates because it contains essentially no fiber, no sugar, and no starch. A 100-gram serving of canned king, chinook, or kippered salmon also clocks in at 0 grams of carbs, which is acceptable for any ketogenic diet. [7]

Most canned salmon brands don’t add anything other than water, oil, and salt, but you should always check the label and carb count to be sure. Canned salmon with olive oil is definitely keto-friendly. The Starkist packet of wild-caught pink salmon with olive oil is exactly that: simply pink salmon, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, resulting in zero carbohydrates. [8]

The ingredients in the Starkist skinless, boneless, pink salmon packet are pink salmon, water, vegetable broth, and salt, resulting in less than 1 gram of net carbs (probably from the minor amount of vegetable broth). [9]

Cans or packets of salmon with added seasoning can start increasing the carb count; however, the amount of carbs will typically be low enough to work for keto dieters. That being said, some seasoned varieties are also made with a little added sugar, corn starch, or corn syrup solids, and these ingredients aren’t truly considered keto-approved, even if the net carb count is still low. For example, the Starkist salmon creations with lemon dill packet has less than 1 gram of net carbs, but there are added non-keto ingredients, such as corn syrup solids and modified food starch. [10]  Even in smaller amounts, these sugars and syrups may have some effect on your blood sugar and ketosis. For this reason, most keto dieters avoid all sugars and syrups and opt for canned salmon in water or oil rather than canned fish with seasoning.

Tasty Keto-Approved Salmon Recipes from Ketogenic.com

If you have versatile canned salmon at the ready, you can enjoy a range of tasty salmon recipes from the skillful recipe creators here at Ketogenic.com:

Steph Green is a content writer specializing in and passionate about healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. Steph has worked with marketing agencies, written medical books for doctors like ‘Untangling the Web of Dysfunction,’ and her poetry book ‘Words that Might Mean Something.’ In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025


Albert, B. B., Derraik, J. G. B., Brennan, C. M., Biggs, J. B., Smith, G. C., Garg, M. L…Cutfield, W. S. (2014). Higher omega-3 index is associated with increased insulin sensitivity and more favourable metabolic profile in middle-aged overweight men. Sci Rep, DOI: 10.1038/srep06697


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Database. Salmon, Sockeye, Canned, Total Can Contents. FoodData Central (usda.gov)


Zeisel, S. H., & Da Costa, K-A. (2009). Choline: An essential nutrient for public health. Nutr Rev, DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x


Grant, W. B., Lahore, H., McDonnell, S. L., Baggerly, C. A., French, C. B…Bhattoa, H. P. (2020). Evidence that vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths. Nutrients, DOI: 10.3390/nu12040988


Kokubun, K., Nemoto, K., & Yamakawa, Y. (2020). Fish intake may affect brain structure and improve cognitive ability in healthy people. Front Aging Neurosci, DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2020.00076


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Database. Fish, Salmon, King, Kippered, Canned, (Alaska Native). FoodData Central (usda.gov)


Starkist. Starkist E.V.O.O. Wild Pink Salmon Pouches. StarKist E.V.O.O.® Wild Pink Salmon | StarKist® Salmon Pouches


Starkist. Starkist Wild Pink Salmon Pouches. Wild Pink Salmon | StarKist® Salmon Pouches


Starkist. Starkist Salmon Creations Lemon Dill Salmon Pouches. Salmon Creations® Lemon Dill | StarKist® Salmon Pouches

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