Fruit is known to be high in carbs, so you might think nature’s candy is off-limits on the trendy high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet.
With the right picks, you can enjoy fruit on a keto diet. You just need to school yourself on which fruits are a good fit via a keto diet food list and then enjoy them in moderation.
First, it’s important to understand how keto may help you lose weight. The purpose is to kick your body into ketosis, a natural metabolic state that forces your body to burn fat rather than carbs. This happens because, on the keto diet, you’re usually taking in 50 grams (g) or fewer of carbs per day, says Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, RD, a nutritionist based in New York City. While several types of the keto diet exist, the standard approach to this plan requires you to take in about 75 percent of your calories from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs.
Because some fruits have more carbs than others, knowing which to avoid is key for accelerating weight loss and reaping other possible benefits of keto. Just know that large, long-term, randomized controlled trials on the keto diet are limited, so it’s unclear whether keto is safe and effective to follow for the long haul, according to Harvard Medical School.
Also important before you jump on the bandwagon is to know that keto can pose health risks to some individuals, including people with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes who are on medication, people who are at risk for heart disease, people with kidney disease, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
For anyone, regardless of any underlying health issues, the so-called keto flu is a possibility (and even likelihood) as your body adjusts to ketosis on the keto diet, says Tori Schmitt, RDN, founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC based in Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue, irritability, headaches, and nausea are all symptoms of the keto flu, Schmitt says. Fortunately, keto flu lasts only about one to two weeks.
Play it safe and ask your healthcare team if keto is right for you.
What Fruits to Eat on a Low-Carb Keto Diet
If you’ve decided keto is a good fit for your wellness goals, and you want to add fruit to your meal plan, choose fruits with the least amount of net carbs, which is the total amount of carbohydrate content in a fruit minus its fiber content (since the body can’t digest fiber), according to the website for the popular low-carb diet Atkins. The keto diet allows for about 25 g of net carbs per day, per the healthy-lifestyle website Ruled.me. Dietitians recommend reaching for the following.
Can’t get enough of avocados? You now have a great excuse to eat more of them. A ½-cup serving of the creamy fruit has almost 12 g of fat and only 2.6 g of net carbs. Avocados are also low in calories (about 138 for the same serving), making them an ideal snack in between meals. One serving also has about 6.4 g of dietary fiber (25.6 percent daily value, or DV), 404 milligrams (mg) of potassium (8.6 percent DV), and only 2.8 g of sugar. Try topping your salad with cubed avocado for a keto-friendly lunch.
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Whether you’re whipping them into a recipe or snacking on a handful of them raw, blackberries can make a great addition to your keto meal plan. A ½-cup serving doesn’t contain much fat (less than ½ g) but is also low in net carbs, with just 3.1 g. The same serving size offers 3.8 g of fiber (15.2 percent DV) and 3.5 g of sugar. Blackberries also provide potassium, with 117 mg (2.5 percent DV) per ½-cup serving. It has 15.1 mg of vitamin C (25.2 percent DV) and 14.3 mg of vitamin K (17.9 percent DV). This fruit is also a great snack for weight loss, containing about 31 cal per ½ cup.
Some people group tomatoes with vegetables, but a tomato is actually a fruit. Low in fat but also carbs (with just 2.4 g of net carbs per ½ cup), tomatoes are also keto-friendly. The same serving size of tomatoes contains 2.4 g of sugar and 16 calories. Among their health benefits, tomatoes contain lycopene, which research suggests may help prevent heart disease.