Great news! You can eat fruit on a low-carb diet- you just have to be careful with how much you eat. This guide to carbs in fruit answers all your questions!
The ultimate guide to carbs in fruits is an easy to use photo grid. Take a look below for the full list of 28 fruits you can eat while you are on a low carb diet.
And, learn why bananas are the worst fuel to take to the gym.
Note: All values are net carbs per 100g.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CARBS IN FRUIT
Do you actually know the numbers of carbs in fruit?
Have you always wondered why you should stay off the fruit when starting low carb? But, why are berries recommended but not bananas? They’re healthy... right?
I understand that knowing which fruit to eat can be confusing. It was for me too at first but I want to go ahead and clear all that up for you.
Read on to learn more about the fruits you can eat and the ones you should completely avoid. Plus, get a better understanding of why I have a pet hate relationship with dates and other dried fruit (bliss-ball lovers, look away).
Is fruit bad to eat?
Repeat after me – if you are overweight, fruit is not your friend.
Fruit has been given the same nutritional status as vegetables ever since the 5-a-day guidance was introduced. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but fruit does not even come close to vegetables. Once you look at the carbs in fruit infographic, it will become clearer.
Fruit is high in fructose which can only be metabolized in the liver, where it is turned into fat. We all know the term “beer belly”, otherwise known as alcoholic fatty liver disease, where fat deposits itself around the abdomen (the most dangerous type of fat).
But, you can also develop NON-alcoholic fatty liver disease – from too much fructose. That fructose may come from table sugar (half fructose half glucose) in a high sugar or high carb diet, or it may come from the fructose found in fruit.
Dr Robert Lustig states – "You wouldn’t dream of giving your child beer or cola, but fruit juice is metabolized by the body in the same way.".
Top myths about fruit
Let’s clear up a few myths about how healthy fruit is.
Yes, of course, a piece of fruit is always a favourable choice over a candy bar, but it must be accounted for in your sugar allowance. I also don’t want you to be misled by modern marketing and advertising. Too many products say “refined sugar-free,” “made with real fruit juice” to give them the healthy halo.
I just want to make you aware, so then it is your choice, and an informed one.
These are the common myths about the healthiness of fruit.
Myth: Fruit and vegetables are equal.
This is false. Fruit should be an occasional treat, nature’s dessert, but do not count fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit, or fruit pouches as equivalent to vegetables.
Myth: Children can fill up on fruit.
It is always easier as a parent to encourage your children to eat fruit, but do not think they are equal to vegetables.
I allow my children to eat 1, sometimes 2 pieces, of low-sugar fruit a day because they are active, do not have weight to lose, and are metabolically healthy.
I also allow them to have the occasional tropical fruit such as pineapple and mango, but they know this is a real treat and will be their after-dinner treat, possibly once a fortnight in the summer months.
Years ago, they may have eaten tinned fruit with breakfast, 2 pieces in their lunchbox, chopped apple for an afternoon snack, and maybe even another piece for an after-dinner treat = 5 servings!!!! Yikes. And, I didn’t even add a bag of raisins in that equation.
So my children are allowed fruit, but they have learned to be mindful of how much, and how often.
Myth: Dried fruit is refined sugar-free.
Ahh, this old marketing trick. Yes, it is refined sugar-free but sugar is sugar, your body and insulin see it ALL as the same thing. Whether the sugar is from fruit, table sugar or organic, free-range, natural, zero air miles, holistic, farmers market, bee-friendly, coconut sugar – it is ALL sugar.
And, as for those recipes which use Medjool dates (my pet hate) as a sweetener, run for the hills. Use Medjool dates by all means, but make no mistake, it is not sugar-free.
Myth: Fruit is packed with nutrients.
Well, not so much. The small amount of micronutrients they contain does not undo the damage the high sugar does. Yes, they have vitamin C, but so do lower-carb vegetables, which we eat in abundance without the fructose to accompany them.
Myth: Fruit juice and smoothies are such a health boost.
Sorry, no. A smoothie or juice based on fruit can be higher than a can of fizzy drink.
Yes, there will be some nutrients in there, but too many think this somehow balances out the high sugar in the smoothie.
Remember, a glass of orange juice isn’t the same as the goodness from 6 oranges, it’s the same as the sugar from 6 oranges. If you would like to enjoy a juice or a smoothie, base them on leafy vegetables and healthy fat such as coconut milk/cream.
Myth: Bliss balls are better than candy.
Well, kind of.
Bliss balls are made with dried fruit (which you remember is dried sugar). So, yes they may have a few more nutrients than candy, but make no mistake, bliss balls are high in sugar and must be accounted for in your daily allowance.
Myth: Bananas are a great fuel source.
Many regard bananas as the perfect fuel for the gym, and to grab some extra potassium. Let’s take a closer look.
- A small banana (and most are huge these days) has 24g carbs (21.4g net), 1.2g of protein, 9mg Vitamin C, and 379mg of potassium.
- A cup of chopped broccoli will give you 6g carbs (3.6g net), 2.6g of protein, 81mg Vitamin C, and 287mg of potassium.
- A medium tomato is worth 4.8g carbs (3.3g net), 1.1g of protein, 16.8mg Vitamin C, and 291mg potassium.
As you can see, it's actually better to eat broccoli than a banana. It has fewer carbs, more protein, and more vitamin C!
So ignore all the marketing hype about fruit and veg.
Fruit is great for the fibre and micronutrients they provide, but do not confuse them with vegetables, or hold them in the same high regard. It should be approached as an occasional food.
Fruit was once a seasonal food enjoyed in limited quantities. It is now imported from far and wide and available year-round. Even the varieties available in the supermarket are sweeter than the old heirloom varieties.
So enjoy fruit, but try to choose low sugar, nutrient-dense fruit such as berries.
Which fruit is best for a low-carb diet?
After reading through this list, choose the ones with the lowest carb counts. These are the fruits that are best - but you still need to track your macros and make sure you don't overeat.
- Strawberries - 6g net carbs per 100g
- Raspberries - 5g net carbs per 100g
- Blackberry - 5g net carbs per 100g
- Watermelon - 8g net carbs per 100g
- Apples - 12g net carbs per 100g
- Blueberries - 12g net carbs per 100g
- Kiwi - 12g net carbs per 100g
- Pear - 12g net carbs per 100g
- Pineapple - 12g net carbs per 1oog
Which fruits have the highest sugar?
The fruits with the most natural sugars are:
- Dried cranberries
Avoid these as much as possible if you are on a low-carb or keto diet!
Are the carbs in fruit bad?
I don't like villainizing specific types of carbs.
Your body digests sugar and either use it for energy or stores it as fat. The glucose and fructose found in fruits can kick you out of ketosis and hinder you from burning fat and losing weight.
If your goal is to lose weight, be careful how much fruit you eat.
Carbs in fruit charts
Which fruit do you enjoy and how often? Take a look to see how many carbs in fruit, to help you make an informed choice and work them into your plan.