When it comes to snacking on a pickle, most people think of them as zero-calorie foods. After all, cucumbers store energy in the form of carbohydrates, and when they are preserved in salt solution, those carbs break down into lactic acid and water. But is it really possible for a pickle to have no calories at all? In fact, this is not the case.
Why is this? The answer has to do with how calorie counts are determined. In the US, laws require that a food have at least five calories per serving to be counted as having calories. Since pickles have fewer than five calories, they are allowed to be listed as having no calories. This is the same way that flavored waters are also labeled as having zero calories.
But even though pickles have few calories, they can add up if you eat too many of them. For instance, a single deep-fried pickle spear has nearly 20 grams of carbs—which is about the same amount of carbohydrates you’d find in two slices of bread. Most of the added carbs in a pickle come from the batter the pickle is dipped in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that pickles are high in sodium (salt). Eating too much salt can cause your kidneys and liver to work harder. This is especially true if you have high blood pressure or other medical conditions that can be affected by high sodium intakes.