Carb Counts and Health Benefits of Lettuce

Carbs, Calories, Nutritional Information and Low-Carb Recipes for Lettuce

Butter Lettuce, Hollyhock garden, Cortes island, British Columbia, Canada
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Lettuce and other leafy greens are sometimes considered a "free" food on low-carb diets because they have so little impact on blood glucose.

Lettuce Is Especially Good for Diabetics

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.

Not All Lettuces Are the Same

With lettuces, the general rule is "the darker the green, the better it is for you." Although all lettuces are nutritious, there is 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 .5 gram of fiber and 7 calories
  • 1 large lettuce leaf: .3 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus .3 gram fiber and 3 calories
  • 4 ounces 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. Here is more Information about the Glycemic Index.

Estimated Glycemic Load of Lettuce

  • 1 cup shredded lettuce: 0
  • 1 large lettuce leaf: 0
  • 4 ounces lettuce: 1

Here is 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. Here is more Information on the Health Benefits of Lettuce and other Leafy Greens.

Low-Carb Recipes with Lettuce

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).

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.

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