There are low-carb fruits that work well with a keto diet. These fruits provide nourishing vitamins and antioxidants, and they can help stave off conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
These days, low-carb diets are popular with those seeking to get fitter and healthier.
Without a doubt, the most widely embraced low-carb eating plan is the ketogenic (keto) diet. With keto eating, the goal is to stay in a state called ketosis. Too many carbs can kick you out of ketosis and make your ketogenic diet less effective.
The downside to keto and other low-carb diets is that they can be pretty restrictive.
There’s one food group that many keto dieters often choose to exclude from their eating plan: fruit. Many fruits are high in carbs, and that’s not ideal for ketosis.
However, fruits have vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs to thrive, so it’s a good idea to include them in your diet. The good news is that there are some fruit choices with a carb count that’s low enough to fit with your keto lifestyle.
It’s time to learn more about low-carb fruits.
In this article, we will:
- Explain why it’s a good idea to include fruit in your diet
- Discuss macros to keep in mind when adding fruit to your eating plan
- List low-carb fruits that are compatible with your keto eating plan
- Discuss the fruits that are least compatible with a ketogenic diet
Why include low-carb fruits in your diet?
Whether you’re talking about low-carb fruits or those with a higher carb count, there are many good reasons for eating fruit. Most fruits are naturally low in calories, fat and sodium, so they support a healthy diet. More importantly, though, fruits are packed with nutrition. They contain nutrients that are essential for good health, such as vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C and folate.
There’s also the matter of fiber, a substance that has incredible health benefits. Low-carb fruits and those with a higher carb count are rich sources of dietary fiber.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber doesn’t. Soluble fiber can help lower your blood sugar levels, while insoluble fiber helps support bowel health and regularity. Both types of fiber are present in fruits. Fiber content can vary dramatically from fruit to fruit; for example, fruits such as blackberries and raspberries have much more fiber than fruits such as grapefruits and cantaloupe.
Given all the positive things that fruits can do for your wellness, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults consume a minimum of 2-4 servings of fruit per day.
Here are some of the health benefits associated with fruit intake:
1. Reduced risk of heart disease
Heart disease is commonplace in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this ailment kills 655,000 Americans each year.
Research shows that fruit intake can help protect heart health. A recent seven-year study looked at 500,000 adults in China, a country where fruit consumption is much lower than in the U.S. The study showed that participants who ate fresh fruits on most days were at much lower risk for suffering a heart attack.
2. Reduced risk of stroke
According to the CDC, here in the United States, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. And every 4 minutes, someone in this country dies of a stroke.
In the same seven-year China study referenced above, data showed that participants who regularly included fresh fruit in their diet were at lower risk for suffering a stroke.
3. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
What about type 2 diabetes? It’s estimated that roughly 10 percent of the population is diabetic. This condition is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.
Research shows that consumption of whole fruits such as blueberries, grapes and apples can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And the American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics include some fruit as part of a healthy diet.
4. Protection against cell damage
Your body naturally produces substances called free radicals. Some free radicals are normal and healthy, but if their numbers become too large, it can trigger oxidative stress that causes cell damage and creates a host of negative health consequences.
Now it’s time to talk about antioxidants. Antioxidants keep free radicals in check. By doing this, they support the health of your body.
Low-carb fruits (as well as those with higher carb counts) contain a host of compounds that act as antioxidants. This list includes vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and polyphenols. Because they’re rich in antioxidants, fruits can help keep free radicals under control; by doing this, they provide vital protection against cell damage.
Eating low-carb fruits: Macros and total carbs
With low-carb eating plans such as the keto diet, it’s important to establish a macronutrient ratio — also known as a macro — and stick to it.
So, what exactly is a macro? The three macronutrients are protein, carbs and fat. A macro is simply a ratio that establishes the balance of these macronutrients that you consume each day.
With a keto diet, the macro typically restricts carb intake to 10-15 percent of your total calories, with most of your calories coming from fat. Here’s an example of a typical keto macro:
- 75 percent fat, 15-20 percent protein, 5-10 percent carbs
A macro ratio isn’t the only factor to consider if you’re including low-carb fruits in your diet. If you’re on a keto diet and want to remain in ketosis, it’s essential to be mindful of your total carb intake. Experts say that to remain in ketosis, you need to consume 50 grams of carbs per day or less.
As we’ve mentioned, the ketogenic diet isn’t the only low-carb eating plan. If you’re on a low-carb non-keto diet, you have the freedom to include more carbs in your diet than you would if you were on a ketogenic eating plan.
Typically, with a non-keto low-carb diet, your macro ratio can include 10-30 percent of your calories from carbs. If your total calorie intake is 2,000 calories per day, this macro provides you with 50-150 grams of carbs.
What are the best low-carb fruits for a keto diet?
Now it’s time to take a look at the best low-carb fruits for a keto diet. To create this list, we looked at each fruit’s net carb content.
So, what are net carbs? Net carbs are different from total carbs. Total carbs are the total number of carbohydrates present in a food. Net carbs simply refer to the amount of carbs a food has that are absorbed by the body.
What does this mean? Well, some foods contain insoluble fiber that passes through the body without being absorbed. This type of fiber contains carbs. However, since the fiber itself isn’t absorbed by the body, the carbs it contains also pass through the body unutilized. This means that if you’re watching total carb intake, carbs from fiber shouldn’t be included.
To calculate net carbs in whole foods, you simply subtract the grams of fiber present from the total number of carbs that the food contains. For example, if a food contains 10 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of fiber, it would provide 6 grams (10 minus 4) of net carbs.
Below, we’ve listed the low-carb-fruits that have the fewest net carbs. We’ve included each fruit’s net carb content.
One thing to keep in mind when viewing this list is that though many people think of olives and avocados as vegetables, they’re actually fruits. As a result, they’re included in our lineup.
Low-carb fruits with less than 10 grams of net carbs
- Green olives – 0.1 g in five olives
- Longans – 0.4 g in one fruit
- Dried litchis – 1.7 g in one fruit
- Kumquats – 1.8 g in one fruit
- Rhubarb – 3.3 g in one cup
- Avocado – 3.7 g in one avocado
- Starfruit (carambola) – 4.2 g in one cup
- Limes – 5.2 g in one lime
- Rose apples – 5.7 g in 100 g
- Muscadine grapes – 6 g in 10 grapes
- Prickly pears – 6.1 g in one fruit
- Blackberries – 6.2 g in one cup
- Roselle – 6.4 g in one cup
- Acerola cherries – 6.5 g in one cup
- Raspberries – 6.7 g in one cup
- Clementines – 7.6 g in one fruit
- Asian pears – 8.6 g in one fruit
- Boysenberries – 9.1 g in one cup
- Cranberries – 9.2 g in one cup
- Strawberries – 9.4 g in one cup
- Oheloberries – 9.6 g in one cup
- Casaba melon – 9.7 g in one cup
Low-carb fruits with 10 or more grams of net carbs
- Figs – 10.4 g in one large fig
- Red and white currants – 10.6 g in one cup
- Watermelon – 11 g in one cup
- Loganberries – 11.3 g in one cup
- Mulberries – 11.3 g in one cup
- Quinces – 12.3 g in one fruit
- Yellow peaches – 12.4 g in one cup
- Apples (without skin) – 12.6 g in one cup
- Nectarines – 12.7 g in one cup
- Cantaloupe – 12.9 g in one cup
- Pitanga – 13 g in one cup
- Blueberries – 13.2 g in one cup
- Papaya – 13.2 g in one cup
- Lemons – 13.8 g in one cup
- Abiyuch – 14 g in ½ cup
- Apricots – 14.1 g in one cup
- Honeydew melon – 14.1 g in one cup
- Deglet Noor dates – 14.1 g in three dates
- Apples (with skin) – 14.3 g in one cup
- Sour red cherries – 14.6 g in one cup
- Grapefruit – 14.7 g in one cup
- Guavas – 14.7 g in one cup
- Grapes – 15 g in one cup
- Red Anjou pears – 15 g in one small pear
- Loquats – 15.6 g in one cup
- Medjool dates – 16.4 g in one date
- Elderberries – 16.5 g in one cup
- Plums – 16.5 g in one cup
- Bartlett pears – 16.7 g in one cup
- Oranges – 16.8 g in one cup
- Pineapple – 19.3 g in one cup
Which fruits have the most carbs?
We’ve discussed low-carb fruits. It’s also important to know which fruits have the highest net carb count.
If you’re on a keto diet, aim to minimize or avoid consumption of the high-carb fruits listed below.
You’ll notice that there are a couple different types of fruit juice on our list. When fruit is processed into fruit juice, it becomes concentrated in ways that can increase the net carb count. If you want to consume fruits and minimize carb intake, it’s best to eat whole fruit, not fruit that has been juiced.
- Dried sweetened mango – 76.2 g in 100 g
- Grape juice – 73.7 g in 16-ounce glass
- Tamarinds – 68.9 g in one cup
- Dried jujube – 66.5 g in 100 g
- Fried yellow plantains – 63.5 g in one cup
- Durian – 56.6 g in one cup
- Apple juice – 55.1 g in 16-ounce glass
- Breadfruit – 48.9 g in one cup
- Sugar apples – 48.1 g in one cup
- Mamey sapote – 46.7 g in one cup
- Plantains – 44.7 g in one cup
- Shredded coconut meat (sweetened) – 42.1 g in one cup
- Rowal – 40.4 g in one cup
- Jackfruit – 35.9 g in one cup
- Sapodilla – 35.3 g in one cup
- Yellow passion fruit juice – 35.2 g in one cup
- Purple passion fruit juice – 33.1 g in one cup
- Passion fruit – 30.6 g in one cup
- Soursop – 30.5 g in one cup
- Bananas – 30.4 g in one cup
From blackberries to Asian pears, low-carb fruits can provide vital nourishment to your diet. Many of the low-carb fruit choices listed above are readily available online or at your local grocery store, so add them to your shopping cart if you want to bring some variety to your diet.
While we’re on the topic of plant-based foods, don’t forget about vegetables. Many vegetables are keto-friendly, and they support a healthy diet. Include keto vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower in your eating plan for maximum plant-based nutrition.
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