If you’re just beginning the Keto diet or if you’re considering it as a possible diet you probably have a few questions. Some of the literature around Keto can be a bit confusing, especially when it comes to what you are and what you’re not allowed to eat. Fruit often pops up as a question from those looking into the Keto diet. Can you eat fruit while on Keto? The short answer is yes; however, there are some things to take into consideration before you take a bite out of that apple. The following article will demystify the confusion surrounding fruit on the Keto diet along with giving you the reasons behind the restrictions on certain fruits so that you can make informed eating decisions when it comes to your Keto meal plan.
When stripped to its bare bones, Keto is, at heart, an ultra-low-carb diet. Most people who have heard anything about Keto know that on this diet you can eat as much bacon as you want but bread is not allowed. As delicious as that sounds, there are reasons behind why the Keto diet allows for some foods while restricting others that go beyond what is tasty.
The Keto diet has been used by doctors for years as a treatment for type two diabetes. When someone eats a high carb diet their body experiences sugar highs and lows and their blood sugar doesn’t remain stable. This is because glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. When you eat carbs your body is able to quickly turn them into glucose. This glucose fuels your body for a short time and you experience a sugar rush from the energy you get. However, carbs don’t fuel your body for long and they have to be constantly replaced. This explains the sugar crash you get as your body runs out of glucose. It also explains why you get hungry an hour or two after eating a high carb meal.
The Keto diet changes your body’s energy source from glucose to ketones. Ketones are created from stored fat in your body. Although they’re always available for energy, your body doesn’t use them often because there’s a steady source of glucose. However, when you drastically cut back on the number of carbohydrates you consume your body realizes that it’s next glucose fix isn’t coming and it switches to producing Ketones. Survival is the name of the game and your body is an experienced professional.
There are some benefits to switching to this form of energy. Ketones are always available and as a result you don’t get the energy highs and lows that you do with glucose. This means that you always have a steady, dependable source of energy. In addition, you also don’t feel hungry as often because your body has the fuel it needs so it stops sending frequent hunger signals. This alone can lead to weight loss for some people because it reduces the amount of snacking they do.
The Keto diet has also been shown to help prevent and treat type two diabetes as well as reducing the amount of bad cholesterol and increasing the amount of good cholesterol in your body. This helps improve your heart health. Mental clarity and improved focus are often seen on the Keto diet. Because your body is literally burning fat as fuel the Keto diet also helps a lot of people lose weight.
Keto and net carbs
So how low is an ultra-low-carb diet? Are you allowed to eat any carbs at all? The short answer is, yes. When you’re on the Keto diet you’re allowed to eat up to 20g of net carbs daily for men and up to 25g of net carbs daily for women. This range has been known to fluctuate slightly for some people. You want to be sure that you don’t eat more carbs than your body can tolerate otherwise it will stop producing ketones and you’ll kick yourself out of the state of ketosis. This is why the limit is so low even though some people can eat up to 30 or 40g of net carbs and still stay in ketosis. If you’re having trouble with 20-25g then pick up one of the ketone urine test kits and experiment with your carb intake to see how many net carbs you can eat without kicking your body out of ketosis.
What are net carbs?
Net Carbs are the carbohydrates that your body can actually digest and turn into energy. When you look at the total carbohydrates listed on the nutrition label of your food you’ll notice that there are a few lines of information that follow the total carbs. You’ll often see fiber listed and sometimes you’ll see sugar alcohols on the label as well.
Neither fiber nor sugar alcohols can be digested by your body and turned into glucose. This means that the grams of either sugar alcohols of fiber won’t impact your body’s ability to produce ketones. Whenever you see these listed on a nutrition label all you need to do is subtract them from the total carbohydrates and you’ll have the net carbs of that particular food. For example, if the food you’re looking at has 5g of total carbohydrates and it shows that there’s also 2g of fiber then you’d subtract the fiber from the total carbs and you’re left with 3g of net carbs.
Keto and fruit
So where does fruit fit into a Keto diet? Overall fruit is on the higher end of the carbohydrate spectrum. This is because it’s full of sugar. As a general rule, the more sugar you taste in a fruit, the higher its carb content will be. However, not all fruits are high carb and a lot of them contain fiber that cuts down on the net carbs that are present. The key to eating fruits on the Keto diet is choosing the right ones.
Fruits you can eat on Keto
Some fruits don’t have extremely high levels of sugar. This means that they typically are lower in carbs and easier to eat on the Keto diet. If you’re looking for some good fruit options, any of the following will keep your carb count low and your nutrition levels high.
- Avocado – although an avocado is high in carbohydrates at 12.8g per one-cup serving, it’s also loaded with fiber which means that a lot of the carbs in an avocado don’t count towards your Keto net carb count. A serving of avocado has only 2.8g of net carbs making it Keto friendly. It’s also loaded with healthy fats that are essential to the Keto diet
- Coconut – like the avocado, the coconut is high in carbohydrates at 12.3g per one-cup serving. It’s also high in fiber which lowers its net carb count to 4.5g per serving. This makes it a great Keto fruit option.
- Starfruit – this tropical fruit is a relatively new fruit to North America as it originated in Southeast Asia. However, it’s a must-try if you’ve never had one before. Coming in at only 5.3g of net carbs per one-cup serving makes the Starfruit easy to enjoy on the Keto diet.
- Blackberries – out of all of the berries, blackberries as the most Keto-friendly. They’re loaded with antioxidants and a single cup serving contains only 6.3g of net carbs.
Raspberries – in one 3/4 cup serving of raspberries you’ll get 5g of net carbs and some important antioxidants. This makes raspberries a good choice for fruit on the Keto diet
Fruits you should avoid on Keto
In general, the more sugary the taste of the fruit the higher the net carb content. You can often get away with using your taste buds to determine if a fruit is too sugary for the Keto diet. However, if you’re looking for a list, the following are some fruits that you should avoid because they can easily sabotage your Keto diet.
- Kiwi – one tiny kiwi has a whopping 12g of net carbs. That’s almost half your daily carb limit so avoid these fruits if you can
- Plum – like the majority of the stone fruits, plums are too high in sugar for the Keto diet. One plum has 10g of net carbs.
- Apples – as tasty as they are, apples are a no-go on the Keto diet. One medium apple has 17g of net carbs
- Blueberries – a 3/4 cup serving of blueberries has 12g of net carbs. Unless you’re planning on cutting your serving down to 1/4 of a cup or less, blueberries are too high in carbs to make them worth eating on the Keto diet.
Fruits are allowed on the Keto diet. However, certain fruits are better suited for Keto due to their lower carb count. Understanding how net carbs impact your ketosis and knowing the net carb content of the fruit you eat can make a big difference in the success of your Keto diet. Following the above rules when it comes to fruit and sticking to low carb fruits can help you get the nutrition you need while keeping your body in a state of ketosis.