“Wait... no fruit?? No way can I do this diet!”
Maybe you thought this when first starting out on keto. Or surely you’ve heard others say it. Fruit is a controversial topic for those living a keto friendly lifestyle.
You can see why – we’re told our whole lives to eat our fruits and vegetables. An apple a day, after all, keeps the doctor away.
How then could a diet that tells us to cut out fruit and replace it with fatty foods be good for us?
The simple answer is that it’s all in the net carbs – and most fruits just have too many.
So the question we all ask: “can you have fruit on keto?” is often answered with a resounding “no.”
But maybe that’s the wrong question to be asking…
Maybe the better question is what keto friendly fruit can we enjoy.
And maybe in the quest to avoid carbs at all costs, we’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Today we’ll show you how fruit can fit into a ketogenic diet – and why cutting it out completely might be a bad idea for your health and well being.
Ready? Let’s do it.
Can you have fruit on keto?
The always insightful – and ever-entertaining – Amy Berger, a leading low-carb nutritionist posted this on Twitter recently:
And how true that is. As we continue to learn about the dangers of too many carbs and sugar, the way we talk about fruits and vegetables needs to change.
But we can take it further. Even within the fruit category, there are huge metabolic differences to be found.
There are keto friendly fruits you can – and should – eat. Then there are fruits where a single serving will blow your entire daily carb allowance – and send your blood sugar to the moon.
So the good news is you can have fruit on keto. You can even eat it every day.
You just have to know which fruits to eat. And learn how to portion effectively (easier said than done…).
How fruit fits into keto
The reason you’d cut fruit out is to avoid carbs. To stay in ketosis, you need to limit your carb intake to 5-10% of your daily calories. For a standard 2,000 calorie diet, that’s 25-50g of carbs per day.
And when a single apple has 25g of carbs... see how fruit can be troublesome?
Now to be clear, we’re talking about net carbs, which is defined as:
Net carbs = total carbs - fiber
This is good news for many fruits – especially berries – which are high in fiber and thus lower in the net carbs.
So to fit fruit in, you just need to understand your carb tolerance and find fruits that work in that.
Simple enough right?
To help with that, let’s look at some common fruits ranked lowest net carb to highest:
|Fruit||Net Carbs (per 100g)|
As you can see… there are BIG differences across the category. The highest carb fruits have 5 times the carbs as the lowest carb fruits.
In general, the sweeter the fruit, the more carbs it has. But not always – strawberries have a bright, sweet flavor, yet rank among the best fruits on the list.
You easily can see which fruits to avoid (looking at you bananas). Now let’s look closer at the 3 best keto friendly fruits.
The Best 3 Keto Friendly Fruits
A fruit made from fats instead of sugar? Avocados are a dream for the keto diet. Here’s why:
- High in heart-healthy plant-based fats
- 10g of fiber for digestive support
- Loaded with potassium – twice as much as bananas! Potassium is a common nutrient deficiency on keto (more on that later)
Skip the apple and have an avocado a day.
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit. And they’re a delicious way to satisfy your cravings. Here’s why tomatoes top our list:
- Great source of vitamin C
- High in powerful antioxidant Lycopene
- Vitamin K for bone health
Try using tomatoes to flavor your meals or keep a package of cherry tomatoes on hand for snacking.
Okay you may say… avocados and tomatoes aren’t really fruits.
Fair enough, but raspberries definitely are. Sweet, tart and beautifully complex – they’re the go-to berry for keto. Here’s why:
- 8g of fiber per serving for gut and digestive health
- Antioxidants that fight inflammation
- Just 5g of net carbs per serving
Raspberries are great by themselves to satisfy sweet cravings. With a dollop of whipped cream or greek yogurt, they make a perfect keto dessert.
Sick of eating avocados? Here are 3 more fruits to try incorporating into your low-carb diet:
- Blackberries. While you may never crave blackberries, they are the lowest carb berry out there. Plus they’re loaded with nutrients like Vitamin C, K and manganese.
- Strawberries. Far sweeter on the tastebuds than raspberries or blackberries, yet barely more carbs – strawberries are perfect to satisfy cravings without the guilt.
- Blueberries. Blueberries fall in the “sparingly” category with 9g of net carbs per serving. Eat them for their lush flavor and antioxidants – but try to enjoy only on occasion.
3 Reasons to Eat Fruit on Keto
You have people on both sides on the fruit debate. Here are 3 reasons why fruit belongs in the keto diet:
1) Fruit helps prevents common nutrient deficiencies on keto
The keto diet is by definition, limited. And with a limited diet, comes risk of vitamin & mineral deficiencies. These may not be felt at first, but over time they can have you feeling crummy on the diet.
Here are 3 big ones fruit helps address:
- Fiber. You need fiber for healthy digestion. Unfortunately for keto, fiber usually comes from carb-rich foods. Low-sugar fruit are the perfect solution to keep you regular on keto in addition to green leafy vegetables.
- Potassium. This vital electrolyte controls everything from your blood pressure to heartbeat.Your body depletes potassium when you transition to keto and fruits – especially avocados – are a great way to stay in balance.
- Vitamin C. This immune-boosting vitamin is also often found in fruits. Low-sugar berries are a great way to get Vitamin C on keto.
2) Fruit satisfies cravings
On keto, at some point, you will crave something sweet. Cravings happen to everyone.
But in an effort to avoid carbs, many people turn to sweetened creations loaded with monk fruit, stevia, and erythritol – sweeteners that are up 200x sweeter than sugar. These sweeteners can intensify cravings and leave you feeling worse than a handful of berries would have.
Try a serving of fruit next time you want to reach for a keto cookie or fat bomb.
3) Fruit makes keto more sustainable
People love fruit for a reason. It’s delicious!
And the more you can effectively bring fruit into your diet, the less limited you will feel. Feel less limited, and your low-carb or keto diet becomes more sustainable.
Which means more time to enjoy the many health benefits that brought you to the diet in the first place.
3 Reasons to be Careful with Fruit on Keto
Here’s why you should be careful eating fruit on the keto diet:
1) Fruit can spike your blood sugar
Fruit does contain sugar. And that sugar will spike insulin, possibly enough to kick you out of ketosis.
And for some people when that happens, it starts a nasty cycle of increased hunger, more carbs, and ultimately weight gain.
Stick to low-sugar fruits are always go by how you feel.
2) Fruit is easy to overeat
We’ve read a few keto resources that recommend eating 2-3 berries at a time on keto. Can we ask… when have you ever eaten just 2 raspberries?
We haven’t either.
One reason this happens is the fructose in fruit doesn’t trigger the hormones in your brain that tell your body it’s full. And suddenly the whole package is gone...
A simple solution to this problem? Eat snacks with fruit pre-portioned to support balanced overall macros, like our Keto Trail Mixes.
3) Fruit can be less-than filling
Most fruits lack fat and protein (except for avocados). These are the nutrients that curb appetite and keep you nourished.
So if you’re snacking on just fruit, you may find yourself hungry again in an hour or so. And that can lead to more snacking – and yes, more carbs.
High-fiber fruits are best for feeling satiated. We also recommend eating your fruit alongside other nourishing foods like nuts and cheeses.
Our Keto Trail Mixes make it super easy to eat your fruit – and stay full for hours on end.
You don’t need to feel limited on keto. A whole category you were told to avoid – fruits – can give you the enjoyment and nutrition you’ve been missing.
You just have to know which fruit to look for, and how to portion effectively.
You might even find you feel better with fruit added in moderation. And no doubt your taste buds will thank you for it.
To your health,
Ben & Brandon
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Disclaimer: This website provides general information and discussions about health, nutrition and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Ben & Brandon are not doctors, registered dieticians or registered nutritionists.