The Keto diet is full of healthy fats and little to no carbohydrates but where does that leave your favorite healthy fruits? Fruits are typically high in sugars which makes them high in carbohydrates as well. If you enjoyed snacking on apples before beginning Keto you might be surprised to know that you should avoid this fruit while on Keto.
The following article will explain why apples have no place in your Keto diet as well as some easy substitutes you can make in order to get the same nutrients and flavor without blowing your daily carb budget.
Nutrients in an apple
Apples are a healthy food, there’s no doubt about that. They’re loaded with tons of vitamins, nutrients and fibre. A single apple contains anywhere from 85-100 calories depending on the size so they’re a great low-calorie snack. They have 5% of your daily potassium needs, 17% of your daily fibre and 14% of your daily vitamin C. They also contain vitamins A and B-6 as well as small amounts of iron, magnesium and calcium.
Net carbs on Keto
While on Keto you’re required to keep track of your carbohydrates; however, not all carbs are created equally. The Keto diet only cares about the carbs that can be digested by your body and turned into glucose. This means that fibre and sugar alcohol aren’t counted towards your carb budget because they can’t be digested fully by your body.
The term for these digestible carbs is “net carbs” and you’re allowed to have 20g of net carbs if you’re male and 25g of net carbs if you’re female. The exact number of carbs your body can tolerate changes from person to person but these are good limits to stick with if you want your body to stay in ketosis.
In order to calculate your net carbs you simply take the total number of carbohydrates in the item of food you’re eating and subtract any grams of fibre or sugar alcohols. This leaves you with the total number of net carbs in your food.
Are apples Keto friendly?
Despite being high in fibre, apples are not Keto friendly. A single, medium sized apple contains a whopping 25g of carbohydrates! Since that same apple contains 4g of fibre you’re left with 21g of net carbs which is the entire carb limit for most people. Unfortunately, apples are fat to high in carbs to be eaten on Keto.
Substitutions for the nutrients in apples
Just because you can’t eat apples on keto that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the nutrients that apples provide. The three main nutrients that you can get from apples are fibre, vitamin C and potassium. The following are some of your best options for replacing those nutrients while staying true to your Keto diet.
Keto friendly sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for its positive affect on your immune system. It’s an antioxidant and it’s important for the health of your skin, your bones and even your blood vessels. It can be difficult to get enough vitamin C on Keto so make sure you include some of the following foods in your diet.
- Bell Peppers-if you can only add one of the foods on this list into your diet, bell peppers are the ones you should choose. They contain more vitamin C than oranges or apples and a single 3.5 oz serving of yellow bell peppers contains a whopping 306% of your daily vitamin C! The same amount of red bell peppers contains 218% and green bell peppers contain 133% so whichever color your choose you can be sure you’re getting the vitamin C that your body needs
- Kale-this leafy green is another great source of vitamin C with 200% of your daily vitamin C in a 3.5oz serving. Making kale chips in the oven can help you get some of the healthy fats your body needs as well as satisfying that carb craving for crunchy foods.
- Chicken liver-meat may not be the first thing you think of when you think vitamin C; however, chicken liver contains 50% of your daily needs in a 3.5 oz serving. If you’re skeptical about eating liver, try sautéing it with some spices in extra-virgin olive oil. You might be surprised at how tasty chicken liver can be!
Keto friendly sources of potassium
Potassium is an important electrolyte that can be tough to get enough of on Keto. It helps regulate the amount of sodium and water moving in and out of your cells. This in turn has a positive effect on your blood pressure. When you’re low in potassium on Keto it makes the “keto flu” even worse and can cause headaches, low energy levels and muscle soreness. Since you can’t eat apples for this important nutrient, here are a few Keto-friendly sources of potassium to try.
- Salmon-this fish is full of healthy fats and it contains 8% of your daily recommended potassium. Salmon is a delicious way to get Omega 3’s in your body. If you can, try to pick wild caught salmon over farm raised.
- Avocado- If you’ve been on the Keto diet for any length of time, chances are you’ve eaten an avocado. The good news is, this Keto staple is actually very high in potassium! One cup of avocado has 20% of the potassium that your body needs which makes it one of the best sources of potassium on Keto
- Mushrooms- Mushrooms are one of the veggies that you can actually eat on Keto because they’re not high in carbohydrates. They’re very adaptable and can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Mushrooms have 6% of your daily potassium needs in every cup.
- Leafy Greens- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and swiss chard contain 4% of your daily potassium needs. They also contain a lot of other important vitamins and nutrients so they’re a great addition to your Keto meals.
- Beef-One of the best meat sources of potassium on Keto is beef with 7% of your daily recommend amount. Chances are, you’re probably already eating beef as part of your Keto diet so it’s nice to know that it’s also helping you reach your daily recommended amount of potassium.
Keto friendly sources of fibre
Fibre plays a vital role in your Keto diet. Since foods that are traditionally high in fibre such as apples and bread aren’t allowed on Keto it’s important to find another source. The following foods will help keep your digestive system running smoothly so you don’t experience any GI discomfort or constipation.
- Avocado-there’s a reason this food is a superstar on the Keto diet. Not only is it high in healthy fats and potassium, a single avocado also contains 13.5g of fibre! Avocados should defiantly feature into your Keto meal plan.
- Nuts-this is another food that you’re probably already eating on your Keto diet so chances are, you’re already benefiting from the fibre that nuts can provide. The highest fibre nuts are pecans with 3g of fibre per ounce and almonds with 3.5g of fibre per ounce.
- Seeds-seeds are high in healthy fats, like nuts and avocados, and they’re also high in the fibre your body needs. Chia seeds pack a fibre punch with a whopping 10g of fibre per ounce while flaxseeds provide you with 2g of fibre in every tablespoon.
Substitutions for the taste and texture of apples
Nutrients are one thing, taste is something completely different. Apples provide a sweet crunch that can be difficult to replicate but there are some foods you can choose that come close.
If you’re looking to replicate the texture and flavor of apples then your best option is chayote squash. They look like a mix between a granny smith apple and a pear and they have a surprisingly similar texture to apples. This makes them a simple swap for apples in recipes such as apple crisp and apple pie (with a Keto friendly cust). A 3.5 oz serving of chayote contains only 4.5g of net carbs compared to the 21g of net carbs in an apple so they’re a great Keto switch
If you’re not looking for an exact swap for apples but you want something sweet, blackberries and raspberries have some of the lowest carbs when it comes to fruit. A 3.5 oz serving of blackberries contains 4.31g of net carbs while the same serving of raspberries contains 5.44g of net carbs. Berries can be substituted in a lot of Keto baking in place of apples if you’re looking for a sweet Keto dessert.
Apples are a very healthy food but unfortunately, they’re not Keto friendly. They contain too many carbs to be included in your Keto diet. The good news is, there are plenty of Keto foods that you can eat that will provide you with the same nutrients that apples do with far fewer calories. Your best bet for replicating the flavor and texture of an apple is the chayote squash and one of the best foods for replicating the nutrients of an apple is the avocado.