The keto diet limits carbohydrates and increases healthy fat intake. Fat becomes your fuel source instead of sugars. The reduction of carbohydrates in the body creates a metabolic state known as ketosis. Those who are new to the keto diet are easily confused as to the role fat plays in keto plans.
Fruits contain natural sugars, so are they considered to be carbohydrates? This is often a topic for debate but most believe that fruit can be consumed as part of a keto plan, as long as it is in moderation.
Expert Tips : Fruits and Keto?
The reason people switch to a low-carbohydrate or keto diet is usually to lose weight. The vicious carbohydrate cycle is known to cause weight as a result of excess calorie intake. As you east carbohydrates, your blood sugar increased.
This raises insulin levels which triggers fat storage for all excess sugar. As the sugar is stores, blood sugar levels decrease and your hunger increases. You crave more carbohydrates and the cycle begins again. The result is excess weight and increased risk for disease.
Outside of weight loss, the additional benefits of ketosis include:
- Reduced acne and healthier skin
- Reduced risk for cancer
- Improved heart health
- Better brain function
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved energy levels and endurance
- Improved digestion
- Protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
Ketosis allows your body to work off these excess fat and sugar stores, so you can lose weight. Once depleted, your body uses protein and fats for energy and without excess sugar to store as fat, you can maintain a healthier weight. By cutting carbohydrates however, you are removing an energy source from your diet.
This needs to be replaced so that your body has the energy it needs for all cellular and systemic functions. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is used for energy. When glucose is low, your body starts ketosis, which is the use of fats for energy.
The diet cuts carbohydrates and increases consumption of fats. It is important to stress that these need to be healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados. Increasing consumption of unhealthy (saturated) fats will not benefit you in the same way and will actually cause health problems. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, it is also believed that they need to be cut from the diet too, but this is not necessarily the case. You just need to eat fruits that are low in carbohydrates (or sugars) and high in fiber.
To Eat Fruit or Not?
Fruit may have natural sugars but they are not as bad for you as sugary snacks. Fruits also contain fiber which counteracts the negative effects sugar can have on your body. Fiber helps to slow the digestive tract down, which also slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed, essentially maintaining steady blood sugar levels. So long as selective about the fruits you add to your keto plan, you can enjoy a few servings of fruit as part of a healthy and nutritious diet.
There are a number of healthy and nutritious fruits that make perfect keto options, as long as they are included in moderation. What matters is counting your net carbohydrate intake rather than total carbohydrates. You can calculate this by subtracting the grams of fiber in a food from the total grams of carbohydrates. For example, a food with 12 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber will have a net carbohydrate total of 7 grams.
There are several great fruit selections that are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and these will provide the net carbohydrate count you are looking for. These fruits make healthy additions to a well-rounded ketogenic diet. Plus having an occasional piece of fruit can help satisfy any sweet cravings you are likely to have after cutting carbohydrates from your diet. Fruit can take care of the sweet tooth without risking your health and provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your need for optimal health.
Top 10 Keto Fruits
The best fruits for a keto diet are those that provide the right among of net carbohydrates. The top ten choices for keto fruits, listed according to net carbohydrates provided, include:
Avocados (2 grams net carbs/cup): Avocados are a healthy fat which can help create fullness, are full of fiber, and support healthy heart function.
Lemons (4 grams net carbs/whole fruit): The soluble fiber and plant compounds in lemons support weight loss, and reduce your risk for heart disease, kidney stones, and cancer.
Limes (5 grams net carbs/whole fruit): The compounds in limes have been shown to lower blood sugar, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and protect against heart disease
Blackberries (6 grams net carbs/cup): These berries are powerful antioxidants which improve both brain and heart function.
Raspberries (7 grams net carbs/cup): The powerful flavonoids in raspberries help to protect your from oxidative damage, can reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk for heart disease
Strawberries (8 grams net carbs/cup): Full of antioxidant plant compounds, strawberries support heart health, lower blood sugar, and improve circulation.
Watermelon (10 grams net carbs/cup): There is a lot of water in these melons that keeps you hydrated. Compounds also protect against cancer, inflammation, and macular degeneration.
Cantaloupe (11.5 grams net carbs/cup): Cantaloupe is full of potassium which reduces blood pressure and reduces the risk for heart disease.
Nectarine (12.5 grams net carbs/cup): The vitamins and minerals in nectarines improve metabolism, digestion, and heart health.
Peaches (12.5 grams net carbs/cup): Peaches are full of dietary fiber and essential vitamins that boost your immune system and minerals that enhance heart health. In our keto fruit gallery we talk more about some of the very best keto fruits to consume.
Fruits to Avoid On Keto
Not all fruit is going to work for an efficient keto diet . Dried fruits, fruits canned in syrup, and fruit juices contain large amounts of concentrated sugars so need to be avoided entirely on a keto plan. These higher concentrations of sugar will increase your calorie intake and interfere with progress made by ketosis. The fruits to watch out for and to wither limit or avoid include:
- Bananas (30 grams net carbs/cup)
- Grapes (25.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Mango (22.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Grapefruit (21 grams net carbs/cup)
- Pineapple (19.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Blueberries (17 grams net carbs/cup)
- Plums (16.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Oranges (16.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Cherries (16.5 grams net carbs/cup)
- Pears (16.5 grams net carbs/cup)
For Some Fruits – Moderation is the Key
You may have options for keto fruits, but you still need to limit consumption. With a keto diet you still need to consume between 30 and 50 grams of carbohydrates a day to efficiently maintain ketosis. One or two servings of keto fruits can cover that requirement in one sitting which pushes your body out of ketosis. You want to include these fruits but focus on filling your plate with healthy fats, protein, and non-starchy vegetables mostly.
Avocados are healthy fats along with coconut oil that help you reach ketosis and boost heart health. Berries or melons are higher in carbohydrates so should be consumed in smaller amounts, mainly as small snacks to satisfy cravings when they hit. Half a cup of keto fruit combined with non-starchy vegetables and coconut milk makes for a great smoothie and a healthy way to get carbohydrates without risking ketosis.
Some easy way to add keto fruits to your keto meal plan include some of the following eating choices:
- Adding a handful of raspberries and strawberries to your morning smoothie
- Adding avocado to your omelet or sandwiches
- Topping a bowl of peaches with heavy whipped cream for dessert
- Making your own berry ice cream
People following a low-carbohydrate diet will often cut fruit because of the natural sugars but not all fruits are harmful to ketosis. Remember that net carbohydrates is what matters which means some fruits are approved for a keto plan. Just make sure you are getting the high fiber content and avoid the fruits that are high in sugars lie bananas. Fruits can help with sweet cravings and is a healthier option to most dessert and snack foods. Keto fruits in moderation are the sweetest part of any keto diet and will not take away the benefits of ketosis.
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