Rhubarb Carbs, Calories, and Health Benefits

Stalks of fresh rhubarb
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Rhubarb is a tart fruit and is usually eaten in recipes with a lot of sugar, so low-carbers should be wary of any rhubarb-containing dishes made for them. On the other hand, the rhubarb itself contains very little natural sugar, so it's a great choice if you can control the amount of sugar in the food.

It was once popular to nibble on the raw stalks of rhubarb (which seemed to grow everywhere) with sprinkles of salt. Doing the same thing with sugar is common in other places. (Don't eat the leaves, though, as they are poisonous.)

Rhubarb Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

  • 1/2 cup diced rhubarb: 1.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 13 calories.
  • 1 medium rhubarb stalk (a little over 2 ounces): 2 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 11 calories.

Glycemic Index

There is no scientific study of the glycemic index of rhubarb. The glycemic load below is based mainly on the low amount of carbohydrate and the high amount of fiber in the plant.

Glycemic Load

  • 1/2 cup of diced rhubarb: 1
  • 1 medium rhubarb stalk (a little over 2 ounces): 1

Health Benefits of Eating Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin K, a good source of vitamin C, and a fair source of potassium. It also is a decent source of lutein and some phytonutrients. If you eat a lot of it, you may get a laxative effect.

Low-Carb Recipes Including Rhubarb

Carolyn of the All Day I Dream About Food Blog has quite a few low-carb recipes, and I have found her recipes to be really great. All of these recipes are gluten-free as well as low-carb. Check out:

Other Serving Suggestions

Stewed Rhubarb: Just cook diced rhubarb with a little water. Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. When it is soft, sweeten to taste with your favorite sugar substitute. Serve with sugar-free whipped cream.

Pickled Rhubarb: Make as you would other types of pickles, such as watermelon rind pickles, making a tart condiment.

As a Vegetable: If you are making a rich, heavy dish, adding a little cooked minced rhubarb can add a spark.

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Article Sources
  • Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Calues: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56.

  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.