Flour tortillas are often perceived as unhealthy and avoided on low-carb and ketogenic diets. But are all flour tortillas created equal when it comes to keto? The answer depends on the ingredients and nutritional profile.
The Ketogenic Diet and Net Carbs
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that puts the body into ketosis, burning fat for energy instead of carbs. To achieve this metabolic state, carbs are typically restricted to 20-50 grams per day.
On keto, it’s important to pay attention to net carbs, which are total carbs minus fiber. Fiber does not impact blood sugar or ketosis so it can be subtracted. The net carb count is what matters on a keto diet.
Traditional Flour Tortillas Are Too High in Carbs
Traditional flour tortillas are made from wheat flour (sometimes enriched all-purpose or bread flour), water, fat, salt, and sometimes baking powder or other leaveners.
A 6-inch plain white flour tortilla typically contains around:
- Calories: 150
- Total Carbs: 24g
- Fiber: 1-2g
- Net Carbs: 22-23g
- Protein: 3g
- Fat: 3g
With over 20g net carbs per plain tortilla, a traditional version definitely does not fit into a keto eating plan. Even just one tortilla could use up the majority of your daily carb allowance.
Low-Carb Flour Tortilla Alternatives
Luckily, several brands now offer low-carb flour tortillas with significantly fewer net carbs. Here are some better keto options:
Mission Low-Carb Tortillas
Mission makes several types of low-carb, high-fiber tortillas from a blend of wheat and soybean fibers. Their fajita-size tortillas have just 9g net carbs each. Other flavors are also available in the 10-11g net carb range.
La Tortilla Factory Low-Carb Tortillas
La Tortilla Factory’s low-carb tortillas are made with whey protein and wheat gluten instead of lots of flour. A medium tortilla contains around 13g net carbs.
Ole Xtreme Wellness Low Carb Tortillas
Ole Mexican Foods offers several types of Extreme Wellness tortillas with 5g net carbs or less in the medium size. They are made with wheat protein instead of flour.
Tumaro’s Low-Carb Tortillas
Tumaro’s low-carb tortillas have between 9-11g net carbs depending on variety. They are made with vital wheat gluten for a softer texture.
Are These Keto-Friendly Options Worth It?
While these low-carb tortilla options are a definite improvement over traditional flour tortillas, are they worth including in a keto diet?
Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Significantly fewer net carbs than regular tortillas
- Can provide convenience for sandwiches, wraps, and tacos
- Allow you to enjoy the texture of flour tortillas while limiting carbs
- Great substitute for higher carb breads and buns
- Add variety to the diet
- Lower carb does not mean no carbs – portions still need to be watched
- Many use wheat ingredients, which some avoid on keto
- May cause cravings for some
- More processed than whole food options
- Cost more than making your own alternatives at home
Healthier Keto-Friendly Alternatives
While low-carb flour tortillas can be an occasional convenience option, focusing on whole foods that are naturally low in carbs may be healthier for everyday meals.
Some examples of lower carb tortilla replacements include:
- Lettuce leaves or large cabbage leaves
- Low-carb coconut wraps or crepes
- Cauliflower thin pizza crusts
- Cheese shells made from quesadilla cheese
- Chicken, tuna, or egg salad wrapped in collard green leaves
Using vegetable-based wraps or replacing tortillas entirely with lettuce leaves can help you avoid the processed ingredients found in low-carb flour tortillas. Making your own tortilla replacements at home also allows you to control the quality of ingredients.
What About Corn Tortillas?
Corn tortillas are a common replacement for flour tortillas, even on keto diets. A 6-inch corn tortilla has around:
- Calories: 57
- Total Carbs: 13g
- Fiber: 2g
- Net Carbs: 11g
- Protein: 1g
- Fat: 1g
With half the net carbs of flour tortillas, corn tortillas can fit into a keto diet more easily. However, they are still a processed food and not as low carb as other options. Moderation would be key.
Low-Carb Flour Tortilla Recipes
If you want to make your own low-carb tortillas at home, here are some keto-friendly recipes to try:
Almond Flour Tortillas
Almond flour is naturally low carb and can be used to create keto tortillas. Try this recipe using almond and coconut flours.
Melting cheese into thin crepes can create tortilla-like cheese wraps, like this cheese taco shell recipe.
Mixing flaxseed meal with eggs and fat can produce sturdy low-carb tortillas with 4g net carbs. Get the full recipe here.
Coconut Flour Tortillas
Coconut flour is an awesome keto ingredient. These coconut flour flatbreads have just 5g net carbs each.
Keto-Friendly Tortilla Use Tips
To make the most of low-carb tortillas, keep these tips in mind:
- Read labels and count net carbs
- Stick to one tortilla serving per meal
- Fill with lower carb ingredients like veggies, cheese, eggs, etc.
- Aim for versions with at least 5g fiber to subtract more carbs
- Freeze extra tortillas to prevent waste
- Reheat refrigerated tortillas before eating
- Try making your own for better ingredient control
Sample Low-Carb Meals with Tortillas
Here are some ideas for keto meals using low-carb tortillas:
Breakfast Taco Bar
Set up a taco bar for breakfast with low-carb tortillas, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, salsa, and guacamole.
Veggie Fajita Wraps
Fill low-carb tortillas with sauteed bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach. Top with avocado and salsa.
Load up low-carb tortillas with cheese, chicken, and bacon then grill into cheesy quesadillas.
Spread tortillas with pizza or pesto sauce. Add sliced deli meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and roll up.
Chicken Caesar Wraps
Wrap chicken, romaine lettuce, parmesan, and caesar dressing in low-carb tortillas.
Keto Tortilla Recipe Roundup
Here is a summary of some of the best keto-friendly flour and low-carb tortilla recipes:
|Recipe||Main Ingredients||Net Carbs|
|Almond Flour Tortillas||Almond flour, coconut flour||4g|
|Cheese Taco Shells||Cheddar cheese||2g|
|Flax Tortillas||Flaxseed meal, eggs||4g|
|Coconut Flour Flatbread||Coconut flour, eggs||5g|
Are carb balance and carb wise tortillas keto?
No, the “net carb” count advertised on these tortillas is inaccurate. They use a proprietary fiber called inulin to reduce the carbs on paper only. These tortillas still impact blood sugar and ketosis so should be avoided.
Can I eat tortillas on keto?
You can eat occasional amounts of low-carb tortillas on keto, but they should not be a dietary staple. Keep portions small and focus on nutritious whole foods for most meals.
What can I use instead of tortillas on keto?
Some alternatives to tortillas on keto include lettuce wraps, crepes, cheese shells, egg/tuna/chicken salad wraps in collard greens, thinly sliced meats, and roasted vegetables.
Are there keto corn tortillas?
Yes, some brands like Mission and La Banderita make lower-carb corn tortillas with about 8-10g net carbs each. But vegetable-based wraps or lettuce leaves are lower carb options.
Can I make keto tortillas with coconut flour?
Yes, coconut flour is an excellent low-carb option for making homemade keto tortillas and flatbreads, using recipes like these coconut flour flatbreads.
The Takeaway on Keto Tortillas
Traditional flour tortillas are too high carb for the keto diet. However, some low-carb tortilla products can fit into the diet in moderation. Opt for high-fiber, low net carb brands. For the healthiest options, focus on whole food substitutes or make your own keto tortillas at home.
With a little creativity, you can still enjoy tasty Mexican dishes and convenient wraps on a ketogenic eating plan. Low-carb tortillas should be limited but can be included occasionally as keto treats.