On the popular keto diet, which involves eating loads of fats and virtually eliminating carbs, the body transitions from using carbs for fuel to using fat.
Now that we know which vegetables are OK on keto, let’s find out about fruit. After all, to reap the diet’s benefits (Reminder: It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new dietary program.), you have to cut out lots of foods long considered nutritious — including many fruits, says Pam Nisevich Bede, a registered dietitian and keto expert with Abbott Nutrition’s ZonePerfect. After all, just about 5% of your daily calories can come from carbohydrates on the diet.
WHY FRUIT IS TRICKY ON KETO
To keep levels of glucose (aka sugar) in the body low enough for it to run off fat, people typically need to eat 25 grams of carbs — or less — per day, says Nisevich Bede. “Most of those carbs should come from vegetables, dairy and nuts,” she says.
That leaves little room for fruit, which is naturally higher in carbs. In fact, just one serving of some fruits can practically knock out your daily carb allowance on the keto diet.
“Sugar is a carbohydrate and counts toward the overall suggested intake on a keto diet,” Nisevich Bede says. Though you can enjoy some fruit on a keto diet, you’ll need to carefully track how it fits into your overall carb intake.
KETO-FRIENDLY FRUITS (IN MODERATION)
Luckily, you can make certain lower-sugar fruits work on a keto diet — just incorporate them sparingly (consider them special treats) and carefully measure your portion sizes, says Nisevich Bede. In many cases, you’ll still be knocking out a good chunk of your carb allowance, so make sure to track the rest of your food throughout the day, too.
“Known for its good fats, this fruit has become a staple for keto dieters,” says Nisevich. In addition to providing nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals, a serving is high in fiber.
Add avocados to keto smoothies or eat on their own with a little seasoning.
Yes, they are a fruit, after all! Subtly sweet tomatoes provide lots of potassium and vitamin C — and are worth adding to your ketogenic eats. Pair tomato slices with avocado, add diced tomato to salads or add them to omelets.
Raspberries are particularly high in fiber (6 grams per serving!) and low in sugar, so they’re the perfect fruit for keto dieters. Grab a handful when sweet cravings strike.
Strawberries, which are rich in potassium and a decent source of fiber, are a go-to says Nisevich Bede. Throw a few sliced strawberries into a fat-filled salad or enjoy them with a little unsweetened whipped cream.
“Low in calories and high in water content, watermelon is also rich in antioxidants and potassium,” says Nisevich Bede, who likes this refreshing melon after workouts.
Like watermelon, cantaloupe is high in water and loaded with nutrition, providing fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, Nisevich Bede says. Just be super careful with portions, since cantaloupe is one of the higher sugar fruits you can incorporate.
FRUITS TO AVOID ON KETO
That said, certain fruits are easier to fit into a keto framework than others. The following sweet picks will most likely put you into a state of sugar overload.
Known for their caramel-y flavor and potassium content, dates are also pretty much sweet little sugar bombs, making them a no-go for keto dieters.
No surprise here: Despite their impressive potassium content, bananas are just too high in carbs to work in a keto diet, says Nisevich Bede.
Remember what Nisevich Bede said about those tropical fruits? It applies to super-sugary mango, too.
Along with most other tropical fruits, super-sweet pineapple is a no-go on keto, according to Nisevich Bede. (If you’re craving tropical flavor, munch on some shredded coconut, which contains just 5 grams of net carbs per cup.)
Most nut butters are totally keto-friendly — unless you’re spreading them on an apple before chowing down. Though apples provide a solid 5 grams of fiber, they’re still too high in total carbs for keto.
Though delicious grapes provide some antioxidants (and just taste darn good), they contain a high amount of net carbs per serving, quickly knocking out more than half of your daily carb allotment. Nisevich Bede recommends avoiding them.