Are Blueberries Keto?

Introduction

The Keto diet has gained popularity in recent years with the endorsement of celebrity chefs, athletes and Hollywood stars.  If you’re thinking of starting this diet you may have some questions as to what you can and cannot eat such as blueberries.  The good news is, when eaten in moderation, blueberries can make a great addition to your Keto diet!  The following article will explain why blueberries work, how many you should have and the health benefits that come from including blueberries in your diet.

What is Keto?

If you’re new to Keto you may know that the Keto diet is very low in carbohydrates with a lot of tasty fats; however, there’s a lot more to Keto than depriving you of your bread and scarfing down bacon.  Understanding how Keto works can help you stick to the rules without getting bitter about your morning cereal being taken from you.  

The Keto diet consists of a lot of fat, a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs.  This ratio of macronutrients works out to 70-75% fats, 20-25% protein and 5-10% carbohydrates.  All of these macros are necessary for your body to survive; however, the Keto diet has determined that your body runs more efficiently when you keep your carbs low.

Traditional diets that are higher in carbs help your body produce an energy known as glucose.  Glucose is created in the liver shortly after eating carbohydrates and it’s used to fuel your body.  However, there are a few downsides to glucose.  For starters, it’s burned through very quickly.  This means that you find yourself hungry a few short hours after eating.  If you’re trying to lose weight you know how difficult hunger can make the process.

Glucose also causes your body to store excess carbohydrates as body fat which is also not great for weight loss.  Any carbs that aren’t used immediately by your body are stored away as fat for a later date.  That day never comes because when your body runs out of its immediate source of carbs it simply sends out hunger signals, you feed it and the cycle continues.

How is Keto different?

One of the last major problems with fueling your body from glucose is the inconsistency of the energy that you get.  After your meal there’s a quick burst of energy (a sugar high) that is followed a few hours later by a crash.  This cycle of sugar highs and lows can leave you feeling drained.

The Keto diet seeks to change this by switching your body’s primary energy source from glucose to ketones.  Ketones are produced from your body’s stored fat.  They’re a very long and slow burning fuel, similar to a log that’s placed on a fire.  Because your body probably has an abundance of stored fat (and your Keto diet is made up mostly of fats) there is always new fuel for your body to create ketones from.  This limits the number of hunger signals you receive and stabilize your energy.

In order to create this stable form of energy you need to trick your body into producing them by keeping your carbs low.  Every person has a different carb tolerance; however, the majority of people on Keto stick to a range of 20-25g of net carbs a day.

Net carbs are the carbohydrates that you eat that can be digested by your body and turned into glucose.  If you look at the nutrition label on an item of food you probably see that the total carbs in your food are further subdivided into sugar alcohols and fibre.  This is because neither sugar alcohols nor fibre can be digested and turned into glucose and they do not count towards your net carbs.  In order to find out how many net carbs are in your food simply take the total carbohydrates and subtract any sugar alcohols or fibre.

Are blueberries Keto?

Now that you know how Keto works, do you think that blueberries Keto-friendly?  The short answer is, yes.  However, like most fruits, blueberries are best eaten in moderation on Keto.  Fruits are generally high in sugar.  This means that they’re higher in carbs then most people would think.  You tongue is a great tester of carbs when it comes to fruit.  If something tastes super sweet, then it probably is high in sugar and you should either avoid it or look up the net carbs so you know the correct portion size you should be having.

When it comes to fresh, whole blueberries, an ounce is usually the recommended serving size.  This works out to be roughly ¼ of a cup.  Although this may not seem like much, if you’re looking for a healthy snack to pair with your nuts and seeds or a nutritious topping to your Greek yogurt in the morning then blueberries make an excellent choice.

A serving of blueberries has roughly 4.1g of total carbs.  There is some fibre in blueberries but there’s no sugar alcohols.  After you subtract the fibre, you’re left with 3.4g of net carbs.  This is definitely a low enough number to fit into most people’s Keto carb budget.  

One of the easiest ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet is by putting them in a recipe.  They stretch a lot further this way.  If you’re making a recipe that calls for a cup of blueberries, but you know the recipe serves 12 (a batch of keto-friendly muffins for example) then you know that you’ll really only be eating a gram of net carbs for each and every muffin!

Fresh blueberries are one thing, but what about frozen or dried blueberries?  Frozen blueberries should follow the same rule as fresh ones as long as the freezing process didn’t add any additional sugars.  This makes it easy to toss a handful in your morning smoothie.  When it comes to dried blueberries your best bet is to avoid them altogether.  Any dried fruit should be avoided on Keto as they tend to be higher in carbohydrates then their fresh counterparts.  A single ¼ cup serving of dried blueberries contains a whopping 19.5g of net carbs!

Health benefits of blueberries:

You know that blueberries are a fruit that you could probably add into your keto diet without kicking your body out of ketosis.  Why would you want to add this fruit to your diet?  There are plenty of health benefits that blueberries can offer you so it’s worth adding a serving to your daily diet.  They’ve been considered a superfood for several years now.

Blueberries have very few calories with a high water content which means that they’re a low-calorie dense food.  It’s important to fill up on as many low-calorie dense foods as possible on Keto since the fats on Keto take up very little room in your stomach and this can lead to hunger.

Blueberries are also chock full of vitamins and nutrients.  They’re especially high in Vitamins C, K, and B6 as well as potassium, folate, manganese and copper.  They’re also a good source of fibre which is important on Keto to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

One of the things that blueberries are best known for are their antioxidants.  Antioxidants have several beneficial properties. The ones found in blueberries are very good for the health of your heart.  The antioxidant Anthocyanin is known to help lower your cholesterol levels by breaking apart LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.  Studies show that the nutrients in blueberries are also good at lowering blood pressure, another contributing factor to heart health. 

Anthocyanin can also help with the health of your skin because it fights cell damage.  Blueberries also contain Vitamin C.  Vitamin C has been known to support the production of collagen which is an important component in skin health.  Together, these two nutrients can help you to reduce the look of wrinkles and lines as well as battling acne.

There are studies being done that suggest blueberries might be helpful in protecting you from cancer.  The antioxidants and phytonutrients in blueberries could play a role in preventing cancer in the long run if eaten daily. 

Blueberries also help your bones stay strong with their zinc, potassium and calcium.  They’re great for digestive health due to their high water and fibre content.  The high fibre is also great for weight loss.

There are signs that blueberries might be able to help prevent diabetes by increasing your insulin resistance. Your eyes, muscles and hair may all benefit from the addition of blueberries to your diet.  Blueberries have also been shown to be helpful in reducing inflammation and preventing UTI’s.  

Blueberries are great for your brain and may act as a bit of an antidepressant as well as playing a role in reducing your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.  They’ve been shown to increase the cognition in both adults and children.

Conclusion:

Blueberries are a nutrient packed, healthy fruit and they make a great addition to your Keto diet!  Be sure to eat them in moderation in order to keep your carbs low.  Using them in recipes is a great way to control the number of carbs you’re ingesting while still reaping the numerous health benefits that blueberries offer.

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