One of my favorite parts about grocery shopping is seeing all the colors and shapes of fruits overflow their wicker baskets in the produce section. That and the perfect mixture of citrus and sweet that fills the air with invigorating aromatherapy I just can’t deny.
Following a keto lifestyle sometimes takes away the magic that comes along with filling up my cart with fruits. The controversy over including fruits in the keto diet is a big one and one you have to tackle from every angle.
Fruits are definitely limited on the keto diet due to their high carb and sugar content. Since keto is a high-fat low-carb diet it’s a no brainer that fruit would be limited. But with all the vitamins, nutrients, and benefits that come with fruit, it’s not surprising that most people question it.
It’s true that fruits offer the body a ton of health benefits, but too much can take us out of ketosis and inhibit fat burning. Fortunately, I did some deep digging to find keto approved fruits and desserts to satisfy the average sweets lover.
In this article, I’m going to help you understand why carbs are limited in the first place so you understand why fruits are. We’re going to answer keto dieters most pressing questions like is watermelon keto? Then I’ll take you through fruits to avoid and the best low-carb fruits to incorporate sparingly. Lastly, you’ll get 8 of the most drool-worthy, fruity desserts to get your fix. Let’s dig in.
Why Are Carbs Limited On The Keto Diet?
The basic principle behind limiting carbs is that we want our bodies to use fat for fuel, not sugar. Our bodies can run on 2 different fuels– one is the sugar we get from carbohydrates and the other is fat we get from healthy fats.
When we turn to a high-fat low-carb diet, our bodies switch to using fat for energy. When we turn that fat into energy molecules referred to as “ketones” we become fat burning machines with insane brain fuel. This supercharged diet feeds our brain with healthy fats from real food like fish, eggs, good oils and butter.
When carbohydrates break down to sugar, insulin triggers a craving and reward centers in the brain. But when we limit carbs and increase fat, we stop unnecessary hunger and cravings in their tracks.
So, if high-sugar and high-carb intake take us out of ketosis, what does that mean for fruits? Keto doesn’t include high-carb/high-sugar fruits because regardless of their nutrients, our body still sees them as sugar resulting in a huge spike in our blood sugar levels. And that’s the number one thing we want to avoid on the ketogenic diet. Spiked blood sugar leads to insulin release and insulin is often referred to as the “fat storage” hormone.
Insulin basically says to your body “store this body fat and hold onto it with dear life” causing fat burning to come to a screeching halt. Keto does the opposite. When our bodies enter ketosis we break fat down and use it for energy– helping us lose weight fast and effectively.
The good news is, while fruits are limited on the ketogenic diet, we can still sparingly incorporate some fruits and sweet desserts that won’t knock us out of ketosis. So let’s get to it. I’m going to tell you which fruits get the thumbs up and which ones get a thumbs down, how much you can have, and how often.
Fruits to avoid
High carb fruits loaded with sugar like apples, mangoes, bananas, grapes, pears, and pineapple are a no go for keto. These fruits are just too sugary and have too many carbs. Since keto dieters want to keep their daily carb intake to <20g per day- it’s best to avoid these guys!
When you consume fruits you are consuming fructose which is, unfortunately, inefficiently absorbed by the small intestine. When the small intestine doesn’t fully absorb fructose it causes gas and discomfort. The good news is that if you eat fruit in small amounts and not super often you will avoid these side effects (1).
Keto Friendly Fruit
Avocados are a precious gift from God. These are the number one keto fruit and a staple in the keto diet. You can have as much as you want! We won’t limit your avocado intake because it’s loaded with tons of healthy fats and vitamins.
Half of a medium sized avocado (70 grams) has 6g of carbs (only 1g net carb), 10g of supercharged fat, 5g of fiber and 1.4g of protein!
Avocados are a total superfood when it comes to your long-term health. They decrease bad cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing good biomarkers. If you’re not avocado’s biggest fan then I suggest getting yourself some avocado oil, it’s perfect for high heat and you’ll still reap the benefits.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to satisfy your sweet tooth with avocado then look no further than this chocolate chunk avocado ice cream. I promise it doesn’t taste like avocado- it just has that same creaminess.
A cup of strawberries has 11g carbs (8g net carbs), 7g of sugar, and 3g of fiber. You’ll get a great source of antioxidants, potassium, and fiber from these pretty little berries: antioxidants for anti-aging, reducing blood clots, and decreasing inflammation, potassium for lowering blood pressure and fiber for digestive ease!
Strawberries’ low glycemic index is exactly what we are looking for in fruits to incorporate into the keto diet. Low glycemic index means a low spike in blood sugar. Eating half a cup of strawberries or adding them to a keto dessert a couple times a week (at most) will keep you in ketosis and satisfy your fruity desires.
A cup of raspberries has 15g carbs (7g net carbs) 5g sugar, and 8g of fiber. The soluble fiber found in raspberries won’t only benefit your digestive health but it will also do wonders for your heart health—and paired with high antioxidant content—your body is truly in for a treat.
Raspberries are also packed with vitamin C to amp up your collagen production and decrease wrinkle formation (2). When you feel a fruit craving coming on, a palm size of raspberries is a good choice.
A cup of blackberries has 14g of carbs (6g net carbs), 7g sugar, and 8g of fiber. This cancer-fighting super food is high in manganese—a fundamental nutrient for high brain function. It’s anti-inflammatory and will also help tamp down oxidative stress (3).
Ladies- snack on a ½ cup of blackberries or add them to a keto dessert for menstrual cycle regulation.
Blueberries are on the higher end of the carbohydrate spectrum. A cup of blueberries has 21g of carbs (17 net carbs), 15g sugar, and 4g of fiber. Like blackberries, blueberries also help fight cancer and boost brain health. They help alleviate inflammation and support a healthy heart (4). Just keep them at a minimum.
Wild blueberries are going to be the best source so if you’re going munch on them stick to half a cup or less of wild blueberries.
Watermelon is hugely controversial when it comes to keto. Some experts say yes and others say no. Watermelon has a high glycemic index and a low glycemic load. Overall, watermelon is ok if you eat a small amount of it. Since its glycemic index is so high (72) we need to watch our intake. Watermelon has 7.6 grams of carbs, 6.2 grams of sugar, and .4 grams of fiber. The low fiber is the reason why watermelon has such a high glycemic index. Stick to half a cup of watermelon if you absolutely need it.
1 lemon has 5.4g of carbs (1.6g net carbs), 1.4g sugar, and 1.6g of fiber. Many keto experts consider lemons essential for the keto diet. Lemons contain a ton of electrolytes that are amazing for refueling your muscles. Drinking a cup of warm lemon water in the morning will fire up your digestion and help you absorb iron. But if we’re talking about lemons in terms of desserts—there are tons of keto dessert options that include zesty lemon.
A lime has on average 7.1g of carbs (5.2g net carbs), 1.1g of sugar, and 1.9g of fiber. The benefits of limes are plentiful. Limes create blood flow which helps your body work at optimal function. Limes also contain artery plaque preventing properties. Tart limes make for a solid addition to keto desserts—scroll down to find some recipes!
Other fruits in moderation
Treat these fruits like candy. Eat small amounts and never go overboard. Remember: we want to stay in ketosis, that’s our main goal.
- One medium mandarin has 7 grams of carbs
- One medium peach has 13 grams of carbs
- ½ cup of cherries has 9 grams of carbs
- One cup of cantaloupe has 11 grams of carbs
- One medium size kiwi has 7 grams of carbs
Keto Friendly Desserts
This keto approved low carb lemon fat bomb recipe is the perfectly tart, slightly sweet and satisfying dessert you’ve been looking for! This is an easy dessert to whip up when you feel your sweet tooth coming on.
Low-carb, low-sugar and packed with colorful keto approved berries– you and your family are bound to love this dessert. When you need a fruity fix go with this cheesecake salad for a good source of healthy fats and antioxidants.
This Keto Berry Mousse is a simple five-ingredient dessert that uses pecans. There really is nothing like a berry and nut mix to really send a dessert to the top.
We love these Key Lime Pie Fat Bombs. A total twist on a traditional key lime pie, but the same delicious flavors. Easy to make and fun to eat, these bombs might just be your go-to dessert.
If you’re a warm dessert person than this is the keto berry dessert for you! Who doesn’t love a traditional cobbler anyway? Overflowing with healthy fats from nut flours and berry benefits, you’ll make this for family holidays.
If you love a good lemon bar, these keto lemon bars will hit the spot. Minimal ingredients with maximum flavor.
Another fat bomb recipe that is killer! Eating these will bring you back to your younger school days when mom used to pack you a PB&J sandwich. Way better for you, these fat bombs are sure to please the whole family.
If you miss when the ice cream man used to come riding through your neighborhood with his music blasting through his truck, put on a little jingle and freeze up these Keto Berry Cream Popsicles. They are bound to bring you right back to the good ole’ days.
Now that you have the inside scoop on keto-approved fruits and dessert recipes to go along with them– put on your apron and get going! Your fruit fix is only a couple steps away. Try out some of the recipes above and comment below to me know which are your favorite!
- “Best Low-Carb Fruits (and Which to Avoid).” Ruled Me, 9 Aug. 2018, www.ruled.me/best-low-carb-fruits-avoid/.
- “Balance Team.” On The Table – The Balance Blog, 19 June 2017, balanceblog.bistromd.com/health/healthy-eating/the-7-incredible-benefits-of-raspberries/.
- Edwards, Rebekah. “Blackberry Extract Shows Tumor-Preventive Effects on a Line of Human Lung Cancer Cells.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 21 Mar. 2017, draxe.com/health-benefits-blackberries/.
- Link, Rachael. “Benefits of Blueberries + Blueberry Nutrition.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 30 Apr. 2018, draxe.com/health-benefits-blueberries/.