Although all vegetables contain at least a few carbs – some are richer in carbs than others – tomatoes are a low-carb food. However, they are rich in other beneficial nutrients your body needs daily to function properly. Eating tomatoes on a regular basis is a low-calorie way to help fill you up and meet your daily nutrition needs.
Tomato Nutrition Facts
There are only 25 calories – including about 5 grams of carbs -- in a cup of chopped tomatoes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database. Of these 5 grams of total carbs, 1.4 grams are from dietary fiber, which isn't fully digested or absorbed by your body. The other carbs in tomatoes are simple carbs, which provide your body with a quick source of energy.
Daily Carb Needs
Eating tomatoes regularly will contribute to your daily carb needs, but tomatoes alone likely won't get you to your daily carb goals. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get 130 grams of carbs daily -- and preferably at least 45 percent of their daily calorie intake from carbs. Therefore, since carbs provide 4 calories per gram, aim for at least 225 grams of carbs daily when eating 2,000 calories a day. Combining tomatoes with other healthy, carb-rich foods will help you meet your needs.
Combining low-carb tomatoes with higher-carb veggies, legumes or grains will help ensure you get the carbs you need daily. For example, corn, peas and potatoes are loaded with carbs. One cup of peas contains 21 grams of carbs, while a 1-cup portion of sweet potatoes provides about 41 grams of carbohydrates. Other healthy, carb-rich choices include whole grains -- such as brown rice, whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta and quinoa -- legumes, low-fat milk, nuts and seeds.
Tomatoes are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food choice -- beneficial for healthy weight management. The high water content in tomatoes helps increase satiety, making it easier to control your calorie intake during meals. The carbs in tomatoes from fiber also boosts satiety. In fact, getting plenty of fiber reduces your obesity risks, note authors of a 2009 review in "Nutrition Reviews." Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, but are also a source of vitamin C, potassium and folate.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 11695, Tomatoes, Orange, Raw
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 11304, Peas, Green, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 11508, Sweet Potato, Cooked, Baked in Skin, without Salt
- MedlinePlus: Carbohydrates
- Nutrition Reviews: Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.