Eggplant Is a Low Carb Option for People With Diabetes

Learn About the Benefits of Eggplant

Type 2 diabetes management requires eating a healthy diet rich in non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates that are rich in fiber. Oftentimes, people with diabetes have trouble coming up with healthy meal choices that include vegetables. They find that vegetables are boring, tasteless or unappealing in appearance. As a result, they get stuck eating the same old thing day-to-day, which may lead to cravings for other unhealthy foods. When checking out produce for healthy additions to your diet, don't forget the eggplant. It's a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber vegetable that has infinite possibilities for adding variety to your meals. Eggplant can take on many flavors, too, which makes it easy to prepare too. 

Close-Up Of Eggplant In Plate On Table
Joanna Gorzelinska / EyeEm / Getty Images

What Is Eggplant and How Can it be Cooked?

Eggplant is a member of the nightshades family, which also includes tomatoes and peppers. It has been said that many useful medications derive from this family. Most people know of the purple eggplant, but eggplants can also be white or striped, pear-shaped or cylindrical shape. They range in size and can be as small as a golf ball or as large as a football. 

Cultures all over the world use eggplant in their cuisines. From Italian eggplant parmesan to Turkish baba ganoush to spicy garlic Japanese or Asian eggplant, eggplant is a tasty, filling, and healthful vegetable. Because of its hearty texture, eggplant is often used as a meat in vegan meal plans. 

Eggplant is easy to prepare. It isn't hard to slice and can be cut into rounds, cubes, wedges, strips, etc. It can be sauteed, roasted, fried, grilled, baked, or steamed. Eggplant also pairs well with any variety of protein - chicken, fish, tofu, to name a few. 

Eggplant Is Low in Calories and Carbohydrates and Rich in Nutrients

Eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable, which is low in carbohydrates. For instance, an entire 1 pound eggplant has only 137 calories, 0.986 grams of fat and 32.2 grams of carbohydrate (less than two slices of bread), 16.4 grams of fiber, and 5.37 grams of protein. Eggplant also is cholesterol-free, contains almost no sodium (11 mg in one whole eggplant) and rates low on the glycemic index chart. Foods that have a low glycemic index don't raise blood sugars as quickly as other foods that contain carbohydrates. The fiber count is a whopping 16.4 grams if the eggplant is unpeeled.

1 cup of cubed eggplant (without fat) has 20.5 calories, 0.148 grams of fat and 4.82 grams of carbs, and 2.46 grams of fiber.

Additionally, eggplant is rich in antioxidants which can help to reduce inflammation and fight off disease. It's a good source of potassium. Studies have shown that a diet rich in potassium, an essential mineral, and electrolyte, can help to prevent stroke, high blood pressure and increase bone mineral density. 

How to Choose and Store Eggplant

When purchasing eggplant, aim to choose an eggplant that is free of cracks and discoloration. Your eggplant should be clean, shiny and heavy for its size. Store your eggplant in the refrigerator and use it within 5-7 days of purchase. 

Healthy Ways to Prepare Eggplant

Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can take on many different flavors. There's more to eggplant than parmesan, which can be a heavy, high-fat dish. When making eggplant, be mindful of how much fat you are using. Eggplant acts like a sponge and soaks up oil very quickly, therefore if you are looking to watch your weight, be conservative with the oil. Cut eggplant long and grill it or dice it up and mix it with other vegetables for a colorful and flavorful side dish. You can also use eggplant to make "chips", fiber-rich dips, as well as a vehicle for stuffing. The possibilities are endless. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sami W, Ansari T, Butt N, Hamid M. Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017;11(2):65-71.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Eggplant, raw. Updated April 1, 2019.

  3. Sukprasansap M, Sridonpai P, Phiboonchaiyanan P. Eggplant fruits protect against DNA damage and mutations. Mutat Res. 2019;813:39-45. doi:10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2018.12.004

  4. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Potassium. Updated July 9, 2019.

By Debra Manzella, RN
Debra Manzella, MS, RN, is a corporate clinical educator at Catholic Health System in New York with extensive experience in diabetes care.