Low-Carb Diets: Jalapeño Peppers, Vitamin C and Carb Counts

Carbohydrate and Nutritional Information for Jalapeño Peppers

Dinner on the River
Paul Richer/Getty Images

Low-Carb Diets: Jalapeño Peppers, Vitamin C and Carb Counts

Jalapeño peppers, eaten fresh, canned or smoked, can spice up almost any dish. Smoked jalapeño peppers are called chipotle peppers. Jalapeño is just one of many types of chili peppers. Jalapeños are generally green but as they mature, turn red. Spicy foods are known to help curb appetite and thus, jalapeños may help you maintain your low-carb diet long-term.

What's more, jalapeño peppers have an extremely low glycemic load. They can be added to salads, and can be coupled with meats such as bacon-wrapped jalapeño peppers to add some variety to your diet. Jalapeños can also be added to low carb nacho recipes made with chips replaced with sliced jicama chips.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Jalapeño Peppers

  • ¼ cup sliced jalapeño pepper: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus ½ gram fiber and 7 calories
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper (about ½ oz): ½ grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus ½ gram fiber and 4 calories

Glycemic Index for Jalapeño Peppers

As with most nonstarchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of jalapeno peppers.

More Information about the Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load of JalapeñoPeppers

  • ¼ cup sliced jalapeño pepper: less than 1
  • 1 medium jalapeñopepper (about ½ oz: 0

Health Benefits of Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeños are also suggested in speeding up metabolism, another goal of low-carb dieting.

 Although most people don't eat enough jalapeño peppers to make a significant dent in their nutritional needs, just one pepper does fill about 10 percent of vitamin C needs for a day. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system by boosting white blood cells which fight off illness.

Many health benefits have been attributed to capsaicin (the substance that puts the "hot" in hot peppers), including alleviating headaches by inhibiting Substance P, a key neuropeptide that transmits pain signals in the brain.

Capsaicin is also known as an anti-inflammatory.

Jalapeños are also a good source of vitamin A, which supports skin and eye health. One regular size jalapeño pepper, 2 to 4 inches in length, offers 17 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A for men and 22 percent for women. Jalapeños are also a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin K and vitamin E, all of which are found at greater than 20 percent of the recommended daily amounts for men and women.

How to Eat Jalapeño Peppers

Eaten fresh, jalapeño peppers can have varying levels of spiciness as measured on the Scoville scale, an empirical measurement of the pungency of chili peppers that may or may not be displayed at your local supermarket. Jalapeños can be eaten fresh whole or sliced and added to salads, marinades, salsa or cheeses. You can seed jalapeños and eat them in halves or chop them up into chunks as well. Some add jalapeños to smoothies for an interesting kick. If you don't like them raw, you can buy them pickled, as many are introduced to them.  

More Carb Profiles:


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).


NDH Center for Diet, Nutrition and Health. University of the District of Columbia. Peppers. http://www.udc.edu/docs/causes/online/Pepper%2010.pdf

Continue Reading