Ah, the world of fruit! It’s pretty much nature’s sweet nectar. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a piece of fruit to satisfy their sweet tooth?
Sadly, though, some fruits are packed with sugar and will not be ideal for the keto diet. However, there are certainly still a good variety of fruits to eat on keto and this article will walk you through them.
If you’re looking for the best low-carb vegetables for the keto diet, head on over to our Low-Carb Veggies Guide!
Is Fruit OK for Keto?
The short answer: Yes, absolutely. The longer answer is that you need to be a bit specific about which fruits to eat on keto, and of course, limit the quantity. Remember, if you’re on the keto diet, your main priority is to limit your total net carbohydrate intake to about 5-10% of your total daily calorie intake.
For the majority of people, this means eating around 30 grams of net carbohydrates per day (which isn’t much). Intuitively, if you’re eating an apple as part of your breakfast you’ll be blowing past your allowable keto carb intake in a hurry.
The thing about fruits is that most of them are very dense in sugar (particularly fructose, which is actually digested differently than most sugars).
Per example, one cup of grapes packs a whopping 26 grams of net carbs, 23 of which are sugar. If you go portion out one cup of grapes you’ll realize that it’s really not much food at all. Most people can put away one cup of grapes and barely even notice they ate anything.
This brings up the point that fruit is not nearly as satiating as fat or protein. Thus, if you’re trying to lose weight on the keto diet, you’ll want to focus mainly on protein and fat to keep your appetite under control and reduce food cravings.
Does Eating Fruit Spike on Insulin on the Keto Diet?
Fructose is mostly metabolized in your liver and does not elicit an insulin response like glucose does. However, eating large amounts of fructose can still impair insulin sensitivity since it is predominantly metabolized to fats in the liver and can elevate blood lipids.
Research suggests that fructose interferes with insulin signaling, thereby reducing your body’s natural ability to metabolize glucose/carbs. Fructose also seems to reduce an important fat-loss hormone called leptin (which regulates appetite and energy balance in humans).
As such, even though fructose isn’t insulinogenic, it doesn’t mean it’s always a healthy nutrient. Ultimately, you want to limit your fructose intake regardless if you’re on a high-carb diet or the keto diet. To see the full list of top 30 foods to avoid on keto read more.
Aren’t Fruits the Best Source of Vitamins and Minerals?
There seems to be a bit of a myth in modern health culture that fruits are nature’s best sources of vitamins and minerals. While many fruits are absolutely rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, and other micronutrients, that aren’t necessarily “the best” sources of those compounds.
In fact, many of the vitamins and minerals you find in fruits are abundant in keto-friendly foods like low-carb vegetables, organ meats, eggs, seafood, and more.
Many people presume that eating more fruit leads to better health and longevity, but a contemporary meta-analysis actually suggests that vegetable consumption is the primary factor in reducing the risk of illness and life-threatening conditions. Because of that, it is important to understand which vitamins and minerals should be supplemented while on keto.
All that being said, this article is not trying to say that there are no fruits to eat on keto, or that fruit is intrinsically unhealthy. Certainly, fruit can be a wholesome and healthy food group to consume. Now, let’s take a look at the best fruits to eat on keto and their nutritive values.
Best Fruits to Eat on Keto
Below we have compiled a list of the best fruits to eat on keto and their nutrition content. Each of the listed fruits has 12 grams of net carbs or less per 100-gram serving. Naturally, these values are for the main edible parts of the fruits (not the skin, rind, peel, etc.)
You might notice that avocado is on the list, which many people incorrectly assume is a vegetable. Tomato is also technically a fruit, but for simplicity’s sake, it’s not included.
As you can see from the list, the best sweet-tasting fruits to eat on keto are berries (as a whole). It’s also important to note that berries are high in polyphenols and are some of the richest sources of antioxidants of any natural food.
Avocado, on the other hand, is arguably the best fruit to eat on keto due to the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats it contains, along with it being a great ingredient in a ton of keto recipes. (Don’t forget to download our free Keto Recipe eBook!)
Watermelon is another great option for the keto diet due to its satiating qualities and dense water content. Most people will find that they get full fairly quickly when eating watermelon because they are in a sense drinking more fluid by doing so.
If you want to know more about what to eat we have compiled the ultimate list of keto friendly foods.
While it’s not conventional to eat lemon and lime slices, lime juice and lemon juice make for great flavorings while on the keto diet. Try squirting a bit into your water or on top of a salad for a little extra citrus kick.
What about Dried Fruits?
You might look at that list of fruits to eat on keto and presume that you can eat dried, candied varieties of cranberries without much impact on ketosis. This is not the case. You should not be eating any candied/dried fruits as they almost always have added sugar and the carb count is far beyond anything keto-friendly.
You should be opting for whole, fresh fruits on the keto diet. When in doubt, read the label of any prepackaged fruit products you’re considering eating.
4 Ways that Fruit Can Impact Weight Loss on Keto
Aside from the fact that eating too much fruit can keep you from entering ketosis, it also can negatively impact weight loss in several ways.
#1 – Fruit Can Increase Sugar Cravings
Many people assume that fruit is the way to curb their sweet tooth and cravings for sugar, but that’s not necessarily how it always pans out physiologically. In reality, fruit might be filling in the immediate moments after you consume it, but within an hour or so, you’ll be hungry again.
Remember, most fruit is just sugar (fructose) and contains minimal amounts of protein or fat, which are much more satiating per gram. This is precisely why eating things like red meat and fish is so filling.
Even though many fruits contain fiber, the amount isn’t enough to be filling (unless you’re packing away several servings). Naturally, for those on the keto diet, it’s just not practical to use fruit as your only source of fiber; low-carb vegetables are the superior option.
There are low carb sugar substitutes: sweet alternatives to sugar that are available and great for people on ketogenic diet.
#2 – Fruit Sugar (Fructose) Might Cause Bloating and Indigestion
As alluded to earlier, fruit contains large amounts of a simple sugar known as fructose, which is digested a bit differently than other simple sugars.
Fructose can cause indigestion, abdominal cramping, and bloating due to poor absorption in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, the fruit we consume nowadays tends to be much larger in terms of size, meaning as a whole, we are eating more and more fructose. (Not to mention the additive high-fructose corn syrup in many processed foods these days.)
Now, bloating and indigestion won’t intrinsically hinder weight loss. However, these symptoms can still lead to frustrating results and poor body image in people who are chronically bloated and experience gut distress, fortunately there are probiotics for gut health.
#3 – Fruit Is Easy to Overeat
I don’t know about everyone else, but whenever I’m at a get-together and there’s a fruit tray, I can sit there and nosh on it for hours on end and feel like I’m not even eating. It’s almost like autonomous behavior, and I don’t think I’m alone…
Here’s the reason fruit is so easy to overeat, according to research: Fructose doesn’t cause the same release of satiety signals and neurotransmitters as other foods.
#4 – Fruit Is Nutritious, but Also High in Sugar
Let’s make it crystal clear that fruit is indubitably nutritious; it can be a great source of polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. After all, there’s a reason the adage goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
However, that’s only taking into context the micronutrient profile of fruit. In terms of macronutrients, most fruit contains large amounts of sugar (particularly fructose) and can quickly tally up a lot of “extra” calories to your diet. Many people assume that fruit is a “health” food and can be eaten ad libitum, which is simply not the case.
In small amounts, though, fruit can certainly be a healthy option. For the keto diet, avocado and berries are great options. But remember: eating too much fruit will stop you from entering ketosis.
Best Way to Incorporate Fruit on the Keto Diet
Ideally, you should be getting the majority of your minerals and vitamins from low-carb vegetables and other keto-friendly food sources. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with the fruits touched in this article, preferably berries (which are the most antioxidant-rich fruits). It goes without saying that avocados should also be a staple in your keto diet.
When in doubt, refer to our Ultimate Keto Foods Guide to make sure that what you’re eating is best for keeping you in ketosis.