Is Sesame Oil Keto Friendly? Avoid This Common Keto Oil Mistake

Keto (Low Carb) | Written by Nathan | Updated on 23 November 2022

A small glass bowl in the shape of a droplet is being filled with golden sesame seed oil and is sitting besides a white bowl filled with raw sesame seeds that's next to a wooden spoon containing seeds which leads many dieters curious "Is sesame oil keto friendly?" before they cook with it.

Is sesame oil keto?

Sesame seeds and their oil are prized elements of East Asian cooking, both for its flavor and health benefits. However, it’s also a very particular oil that many people make these culinary and dietary mistakes with – the mistake of over heating sesame oil and/or using sesame oil for the wrong applications.

Therefore, knowing how to use sesame oil and avoiding this common keto oil mistake can be sure dieters don’t make sesame oil unhealthy and can be sure the proper oil is used in order to make the most delish dish while staying in ketosis. 

Is Sesame Oil Keto Friendly? 

When someone asks the question “is sesame oil keto friendly,” the answer is yes. There are two reasons that the keto diet might exclude a food, and neither of them apply to sesame oil. Foods that are high carb aren’t keto, and low-carb foods that are otherwise unhealthy are known as dirty keto.

However, sesame oil is carb-free and unquestionably healthy in moderation. 

How Many Carbs Are in Sesame Oil? 

There are no carbs in sesame oil. While sesame seeds have a minor amount of carbs, the oil extraction process removes these compounds. The only thing that remains is pure, keto-friendly sesame oil. 

Is Sesame Oil Keto When Toasted? 

Since sesame oil is zero carb, it might seem unclear where the question “Is sesame oil keto?” even comes from. Essentially, some people consider that sesame oil is dirty keto because it has a concentration of Omega 6 fats that break down when sesame oil becomes too hot.1

Plus, there’s a misconception that Omega 6 fats are inherently unhealthy and cause inflammation. These are the mistakes people make when they decide to keep sesame oil out of their keto diet.

A small white saucer filled with sesame seed oil is being stirred by a spoon while sitting on a bed of sesame seeds.

While sesame oil becomes unhealthy if burnt, that’s true of all oils. For that matter, the 350-410 degrees Fahrenheit smoke point of sesame oil is better than olive oil and coconut oil, which are popular keto oils.

Another important point is that it’s possible to increase the smoke point of sesame oil by blending it with other oils, which helps preserve its health benefits.2

As to the other reason that people believe sesame oil isn’t keto, Omega 6 aren’t the enemy they’re treated as. Practical studies have shown that in moderation and paired with Omega 3’s, Omega 6 oils may help to regulate inflammation and promote good health.3

While the science behind the health value of Omega 3 oils is well-established, the relationship between Omega 6’s and inflammation is complicated and still not fully understood by modern nutritional science.4

Either way, there’s a key wrinkle in the health value of sesame oil that many overlook. Studies have proven that Omega 6 fatty acids or not, sesame oil is anti-inflammatory.5

This is thanks to a compound called sesamin, which occurs naturally in sesame oil. Sesamin reduces inflammation to the point that studies investigate sesame as a potential treatment for inflammatory diseases.6 At this point, there’s simply no doubt that “Yes” is the only answer to “Is sesame oil keto?”

Sesame Seed Carbs in Comparison to Sesame Oil

Sesame seeds have a trace amount of carbs, since they still have organic material besides the fat. A two tablespoon serving of sesame seeds contains less than three grams of carbs, half of which are fiber. As a result, a serving of sesame seeds has slightly more than 1g carbs.

How To Use Raw Sesame Oil on Keto (Don’t Make This Keto Oil Mistake) 

There are two common types of sesame oil that a person can buy at the supermarket. Regular sesame oil has a neutral flavor and one of the highest burn points of any cooking oils. While it’s not as high as peanut oil or sunflower seed oil, it’s much more resilient than olive or coconut oil.

On the other hand, toasted sesame oil has been broken down a bit with gentle roasting, which lowers the smoke point but intensifies the flavor. The keto oil mistake that so many people make is not understanding that they have to use these types of sesame oil differently. 

All fats become unhealthy and potentially carcinogenic when their temperature rises above their smoke point. Using toasted sesame oil to fry foods can cause the oil to become inflammatory in the body if it passes the smoke point.

This is why toasted sesame oil is meant for use as a garnish. Using raw sesame oil as a garnish is quite healthy, but the flavor will be quite dull compared to olive oil, coconut oil, or toasted sesame. 

When a person purchases sesame oil, they need to be mindful of which type they’re buying. It should say somewhere on the label if the sesame oil is virgin or toasted. It’s not much effort, but it opens up new horizons to enrich anyone’s keto diet experience. 

Sesame Oil Keto Alternatives

Sesame oil is absolutely a good part of a keto diet, but it’s not for everyone. Thankfully, there are great keto oil alternatives to sesame that people can use when they’re to find out “how much weight can you lose on keto?”

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Toasted sesame oil is a good base for salad dressings, but olive oil also performs this role admirably. Cooking enthusiasts and experts describe both of their tastes as nutty, but the oils actually taste quite different. The flavor of extra virgin olive oil is more subdued, but it’s also healthier to eat regularly. Toasted sesame oil also has health benefits, but the Omega 6 fats it contains mean that it’s best eaten in moderation. This kind of moderation is less necessary with extra virgin olive oil. 

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a relatively low smoke point of 350, so it’s not the best frying oil. However, raw, extra virgin coconut oil has a wonderful taste that makes it excellent for garnishes, dressings, and baking. Another key benefit to raw coconut oil is that it’s rich in medium chain fatty acids, a type of fat that the body breaks down into energy more easily. Since people often turn to keto when they’re tired of being fat, coconut oil is uniquely suited for those wondering how to lose 10-15 pounds in a month

Peanut Oil 

Peanut oil is one of, if not the best frying oils. It’s extremely stable and has an extremely high smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While raw sesame oil is a good frying oil, it can only bear temperatures up to 410 and begins to break down at 420. 

A small glass pitcher with a cork top is filled with peanut oil is sitting beside a small white bowl filled with unshelled peanuts on top of a wooden table.

On top of that, peanut oil imparts a subtle peanut taste into foods fried in it. Using peanut oil and high heat is a great way to elevate grilled chicken and still reach a calorie deficit without exercise. That said, peanut oil’s true flavor only comes out when cooked. It’s not suitable for use as a garnish like olive oil or toasted sesame oil. 

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a great source of Vitamin E and has the same high burn point as peanut oil. Another benefit of sunflower oil is that it usually costs as little as one third as much as peanut or raw sesame oil. Interestingly, sunflower oil has a neutral, unnoticeable taste, and that’s both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Not everything is better off for having a touch of peanut or sesame taste, after all. Overall, sunflower oil is a simple and reliable way to fry foods and increase calories from fat for a keto diet. It’s not suitable for use as a garnish and it doesn’t impart any unique flavor, but it still has a place in every keto pantry. 

Keto Recipes Involving Sesame Oil

Rice and noodles are so common in Asian cooking that it can seem like most dishes from that tradition aren’t keto-friendly. However, that’s not the case. There are many low-carb Asian recipes, and sesame oil infuses them with a powerful, authentic touch of flavor. Here are three Asian and Asian-inspired low-carb recipes that make good use of sesame oil. 

Zucchini Noodle Keto Stir Fry

A stir fry isn’t the same without noodles, but not all noodles are heavy in carbs. Lightly cooked, spiralized zucchini noodles can fill that hole and add a unique flair to keto-friendly stir fries. This recipe uses half a pound of beef and a collection of low-carb vegetables to create a colorful, flavorful, low-carb dish. The necessary ingredients are: 

  • ½ lb of beef, cut into strips
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 medium mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli florets
  • ½ of a medium zucchini
  • ¼ cup crushed peanuts 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp untoasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional garnish of chives, green onion, etc. 

From there, it’s simple to get started on the recipe. The steps are as follows: 

  1. Cut zucchini into thin, noodle-like strips manually or with a suitable tool. Set aside in a bowl of ice water. 
  2. Heat untoasted sesame oil over medium high heat. 
  3. Add minced garlic and beef strips to the hot oil, cook one minute. 
  4. Add mushrooms, broccoli florets, and crushed peanut. Stir occasionally to prevent burning and cook for three minutes. 
  5. Push food in the pan to one side and crack egg directly into the other side of the pan. Once cooked, mix egg into the rest of the dish. 
  6. Add zucchini noodles, stir, and cook for one minute. 
  7. Remove from heat and add toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and salt.

Net Carbs: 5g per serving, 10g total

Sesame Keto Salad 

Salad lovers can enter a new world with this sesame-based, Asian-inspired dressing on a simple salad of lettuce and red onion. It has a rich, nutty flavor that’s just a bit hot. This recipe makes four servings, which makes it an excellent side dish to serve for the whole family. Fans of Asian cooking will have most, if not all of the ingredients in their pantry already. 

A chopped salad toped with tomatoes, carrots and sesame seeds is sitting on a white plate with a small white pouring saucer beside it and next to a cheese pizza.

Nutritionally, this salad has a good amount of micronutrients and healthy fats, but low calories overall. If someone finds themselves asking “can you be in ketosis and still not lose weight,” incorporating sesame salad into their diet can help them achieve a calorie deficit and stay in ketosis. The necessary ingredients are:

  • 5 cups romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1 ½ tablespoon roasted sesame seeds, ground
  • 1 ½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • A pinch of salt

Prepare the sesame keto salad with the following steps:

  1. Tear romaine lettuce and sliver red onion.
  2. Toss vegetables together into a salad.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients to make sesame salad dressing. 
  4. Dress the salad and serve fresh. 

Net Carbs: 3g per serving, 12g overall

Keto Sesame Chicken 

Anyone who’s disappointed at the limited Wingstop keto options can always make their own keto chicken. It uses corn starch, monkfruit, and sesame to deliver an authentic taste with a low carb count. There are some sesame seeds for taste and visual appeal, but they only add 0.5g net carbs per serving. 

The ingredients for the chicken include

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
  • Salt, pepper, and preferred seasonings to taste
  • 1 tbsp frying oil

On the other hand, the sauce ingredients are

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp monkfruit sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic 

Take the following instructions to make delicious keto sesame chicken:

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix to make the sauce. Set aside until step 7.
  2. Beat the egg and 1 tbsp of corn starch well to make a batter.
  3. Coat the chicken pieces in the batter from step 1. 
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of frying oil in a large pan on medium. Untoasted sesame oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil are the best choices.
  5. Add the chicken pieces one at a time, with enough space between each piece to avoid sticking. 
  6. Fry the chicken pieces until they turn golden brown on both sides.
  7. Pour the sauce directly into pan and reduce temperature to medium low. Five minutes of cooking on medium low will result in a moderately thick sauce. However, cooking for a longer or shorter amount of time to make a thicker or thinner sauce is an option. 
  8. Add garnishes such as chives and spring onion and serve hot with a low-carb vegetable side. 

Net Carbs: 4g per serving, 12g overall

Sesame oil is a unique, interesting ingredient, and there are good reasons that it’s a staple of Asian cooking. When someone uses it correctly, it’s an extremely versatile, healthy oil, and the answer to “Is sesame oil keto?” is a resounding yes.


References

12022, July. Effects of Seed Roasting Temperature on Sesame Oil Fatty Acid Composition, Lignan, Sterol and Tocopherol Contents, Oxidative Stability and Antioxidant Potential for Food Applications. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9316849/>

2Ramroudi, F. (2022, March). Investigation of the Physicochemical Properties of Vegetable Oils Blended with Sesame Oil and Their Oxidative Stability during Frying. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8986445/>

3Innes, J. (2018, March). Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29610056/>

4Calder, P. (2017, September). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from  <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28900017/>

5Dalibalta, S. (2020, September). Health benefits of sesamin on cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7584802/>

6Hsu, E. (2017, July). Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects of Sesame Oil on Atherosclerosis: A Descriptive Literature Review. NCBI. Accessed November 10th, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587404/>

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.