Carbohydrate and Nutrition Information for Chard

Several stalks of chard
 Thorsten Suedfels/Picture Press/Getty Images

Chard (also called Swiss chard) and other leafy greens are sometimes considered a "free" food on low-carb diets because they have so little impact on blood glucose. 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.

For a long time, the only variety of chard available was "Swiss" chard.

Some of the newer varieties, such as red chard and rainbow chard, have less bitterness. They are slightly hardier than spinach, but still can be cooked very quickly on the stove. The stems are also edible, either raw or cooked, and the chopped stems can add some nice color to the dish.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

  • 1 cup raw chard: .7 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus .6 gram fiber and 7 calories
  • 1 large chard leaf: 1 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 9 calories
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) raw chard: 2.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber and 21 calories
  • ½ cup cooked chard: 2 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 17 calories

Glycemic Index for Chard

As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of chard.

Estimated Glycemic Load

  • 1 cup raw chard: 1
  • 1 large chard leaf: 1
  • 4 oz. (¼ pound) raw chard: 2
  • ½ cup cooked chard: 2

    Health Benefits

    Leafy greens like chard are simply packed with nutritional goodness. Chard is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K (1 large leaf has 4 times the daily requirement!), vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It is a very good source of vitamin E and copper, and a good source of choline, calcium, and riboflavin.

    Low-Carb Recipes and Tips

    In addition to recipes that specifically call for chard, it can be used as a substitute for spinach in many recipes.

    • How to Cook Greens: Learn different ways to cook different types of greens and find tips on washing, storage, and complimentary flavors.
    • Rainbow Soup: The vegetable soup includes a rainbow of vegetables to give you a large range of vitamins and health benefits. Meat can be added for a heartier soup.

    Sources:

    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.