This is part two of a series about keto and micronutrients, specifically discussing ways to implement essential vitamins and minerals into a ketogenic way of eating.
As a reminder: micronutrients are non-caloric nutrients required by our bodies. Tracking (or at least being aware of) micronutrients is useful in discussions concerning nutrient density and nutrient profiles of different foods and supplements.
Some micronutrients, such as Vitamin B2, are often associated with carbohydrates, leading some people to believe that carbohydrates are essential. Not true. It is the micronutrient (in this case, Vitamin B2 that is essential, not the carbohydrate that is associated with it.
SOURCES OF VITAMIN B2
Vitamin B2 (aka, riboflavin), like Vitamin B1, is a vitamin found in food and in dietary supplements, and is also on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. According to the USDA, adult men should get at least 1.3 mg/day; adult women should get at least 1.1 mg/day. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should get at least 1.4 mg/day.
People with cancer, cardio disease or diabetes are at increased risk for B2 deficiency, and so must take extra care to meet or exceed daily dietary requirements or take supplements.
Promoters of the Standard American Diet (SAD) will try to tell you that you must eat carbohydrates, often promoting bread products and fortified cereals in order to prevent Vitamin B2 deficiency. While is it is true that high-carb sources of Vitamin B2 are abundant and easy to find (bread, cereals), there are several other sources of Vitamin B2 that are no-carb or low-carb.
• Feta cheese, 1.5 oz.: 0.4 mg
• Cheddar cheese, 1.5 oz.: 0.2 mg.
• Pork, various cuts, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.2 – 0.3 mg
• Beef, various cuts, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.2 – 0.3 mg
• Chicken or turkey, dark meat, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.2 mg
• Liver, cooked (2.5 oz.): 1.6 – 2.7 mg
• Salmon, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.4 mg
• Trout, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.3 mg
• Egg, cooked (2 large): 0.4 – 0.5 mg
• Almonds, ¼ cup: 0.3 – 0.4 mg
• Mushroom, raw or cooked (½ cup): 0.2-0.6 mg
• Spinach, cooked (½ cup): 0.2 mg
For comparison, 30g of muesli cereal contains 0.2mg of Vitamin B2. You could literally eat a serving of anything on the low carb list above and get as much or more Vitamin B2 than you will when eating muesli. Further, many of the above foods are staples on most Ketogenic diets, rendering the “need” to eat carbs, or even take supplements, in order to meet or exceed your body’s daily requirements for Vitamin B2 completely unnecessary as long as you’re including at least some of the above low carb foods in your regular diet.
Stay tuned for our next article discussing Vitamin B3, also called Niacin.