10 Fruits to Enjoy & 10 Fruits to Avoid as Part of a Keto Lifestyle
When first exploring the Keto diet, you may be surprised by the high carbohydrate in some unsuspecting foods – some of which are fruit. Read on to discover 10 Keto friendly fruits and 10 fruits which are best avoided on a low-carb diet.
Fruit is Good for Us, Right?
Fruit provides us with some amazing health-optimising nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. But some fruits (and vegetables) can contain a high amount of natural sugar, which causes the same spike in blood sugars as other high carb foods. Your body and insulin doesn’t register this sugar as any different to that you’d find in other high carb foods. So, consuming these fruits frequently (or in some cases, at all) could jeopardise your ability to achieve ketosis.
Knowing which fruits to include and which to avoid can help you to remain in ketosis, whilst still reaping the benefits of the essential nutrients which most fruit provides in plentiful amounts.
Fruits to Avoid on Keto
Fruits high in carbs should be avoided or limited as part of a Keto diet. Eating them regularly can inhibit ketosis and some fruits could even tip you over your daily carb limit in one serving.
Here are 10 fruits and fruit products which are naturally high in sugar and so should be minimised or avoided altogether as part of the Keto lifestyle.
Mango is perhaps one of the best-known high sugar fruits, the giveaway being its incredibly sweet taste! Like most exotic fruits, whose sugars thrive in warmer climates, mango is very high in sugar. Fresh mango, mango chutney and those chunks of frozen mango often added to smoothies, are best avoided as part of a Keto lifestyle.
Glycaemic Index: 51-56
Net carbs: 15g per 100g of fruit (a medium sized mango is about 150g!)
Another exotic fruit, papaya is grown in the tropics of Central America and Southern Mexico. Because of its fragile skin and poor shelf life, fresh papaya is hard to come by in the UK. However, it’s a favourite ingredient in frozen smoothie mixes and fresh store-bought smoothies. Like mango, papaya is very high in natural sugars and best avoided in the pursuit of ketosis.
Glycaemic Index: 60
Net Carbs: 25g per medium papaya
Fresh pineapple and pineapple juice are high in sugar and could see you exceeding your daily carb intake in just one serving. If you do enjoy the taste of pineapple be sure to eat it fresh as it’s a great source of fibre, which is lost in the juicing process. One positive is that we think this finally solves the age-old debate of pineapple on a keto pizza – it’s a no from us!
Glycaemic Index: 66
Net Carbs: 20g per cup of pineapple chunks
Bananas are a fruit bowl staple here in the UK and commonly added to breakfasts and smoothies. But one banana alone provides just under 20g net carbs. Use banana as a topping for your breakfast cereal or porridge and you’re looking at around 50g net carbs – taking you over the upper daily limit for carbs on Keto in just one meal, not a great way to start your Keto day!
Glycaemic Index: 40-60 depending on the ripeness
Net Carbs: 18g per banana
Like all dried fruit, raisins are higher in sugar than their fresh fruit counterparts. One small box (we mean small – matchbox size) provides 10g net carbs. For a handful of raisins you’re looking at twice this amount, so 20g per serving. So, it’s probably best to avoid raisins and watch out for them in other foods too like grain free granola.
Glycaemic Index: 60-70
Net Carbs: 10g per 14g small box of raisins
Dates are a gooey sticky favourite paired perfectly with cheese. But there’s a reason they taste so indulgent, they’re little sugar bombs! Just 2 pitted dates will introduce a whopping 32g sugar to your bloodstream – you guessed it, they’re off the menu for this reason.
Glycaemic Index: 42
Net Carbs: 32g in 2 large pitted dates
The carb content of apples varies depending on their variety and also ripeness. But generally speaking, apples and their juices are high in sugar and should be enjoyed only in moderation. If you’re an apple lover, go for fresh to increase your fibre intake and avoid stewed apples, apple juice and apple chutney which are even higher in added sugars.
Glycaemic Index: 38
Net Carbs: 20g per apple (variable depending on apple variety)
FRESH FRUIT JUICE 🧃
Conventional advice tells us that fruit juice is a healthy addition to our diet, counting towards 1 of our 5-a-day and topping up our Vitamin C intake. However, juicing fruits removes all of their fibre and exposes us to free sugars, which are rapidly absorbed and instantly spike blood sugars. We’d recommend swerving all fruit juice drinks and opting for water with a squeeze of lemon, black tea or black coffee – which all contain 0g net carbs.
Glycaemic Index: 50 (fresh orange juice)
Net Carbs: 28g (per glass of fresh orange juice)
DRIED FRUIT ☀️
When fruit is dried it's moisture is removed and the natural sugars within are concentrated. That’s what gives dried fruit its potent sweet taste and sticky texture. Drying fruit tends to take high carb fruits and make them even less Keto friendly! They’re also incredibly bad for your teeth. You guessed it, they’re a Keto no-go.
Glycaemic Index: 30-60 (depending on which fruit is dried)
Net Carbs: 18-20g per 25g serving (depending on which fruit is dried)
STORE-BOUGHT FRUIT SMOOTHIES 🥤
Fruit smoothies are slightly better than fruit juices in that they are usually made with whole fruits, so are less processed and higher in fibre. But depending on which fruits you use, fruit smoothies can contain upwards of 36g net carbs per sugar. If you’re a smoothie fan we’d recommend using berries or low carb veggies instead of fruit and utilising water instead of fruit juice.
Glycaemic Index: 39
Net Carbs: 25-36 per serving (variable depending on fruits used)
TIP: To enjoy the health benefits of smoothies without the sugar overload, try making your own Real Food, Low Carb, Keto friendly smoothies instead:
👉 Avocado & Blueberry Protein Smoothie with Collagen
👉 Raspberry Protein Smoothie with Collagen & MCT Oil
There you have it, the not so fruity truth about hidden sugars in common fruits! But don’t despair, there are plenty of fruits you can enjoy as part of your Keto lifestyle. Here’s 10 of our favourite lower carb fruits.
Fruits to Enjoy on Keto
Enjoy the following fruits as part of your Keto diet. Remember, it’s always best to enjoy fresh fruit rather than juice to get the most nutritional benefit and avoid the higher sugar content.
Commonly mistaken as a vegetable, avocados are actually a fruit – a Keto (and Hunter & Gather!) favourite fruit at that. Not only are avocados incredibly low on the GI scales but they also contain just 2g net carbs per whole avocado. Bonus: you’ll also find almost 30g fat in every avocado, ticking all the boxes for a Keto friendly food! If you enjoy avocado often, try frozen avocado which is perfectly ripe, just as good for you and comes fully prepped.
Glycaemic Index: 15
Net Carbs: 2g per avocado
Most berries are a safe bet for Keto lifestyles, they’re low in both net carbs and on the GI scale. Berries are also extremely high in fibre thanks to the multitude of tiny seeds they contain. Remember, not all berries are created equal and some contain a higher amount of carbs than others – so be mindful of this if you consume them often or enjoy mixed berries.
Berries are our personal fruit of choice, but if they aren't for you - read on below for a few other options.
Glycaemic Index: 30-50 (depending on which berries)
Net Carbs: 5g per 100g (blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries), 12g per 100g (blueberries)
From berries to cherries! We also consider cherries to be Keto friendly. Eaten fresh they’re almost twice as high in carbs compared within berries but full of antioxidants and vitamins, as well as dietary fibre. Of course, avoid glacé cherries which are cooked in a sugary syrup – a definite no-no!
Glycaemic Index: 62
Net Carbs: 10g per handful cherries
Love it or hate it, grapefruit is also a controversial fruit in the Keto world. The carb content of grapefruit varies greatly depending on the variety and size of the fruit, so some would argue certain grapefruits aren’t Keto friendly. However, fresh grapefruit is generally OK to enjoy as part of your Keto lifestyle. Again. Avoid grapefruit in syrup and grapefruit juice (you should also avoid grapefruit if you’re on certain medications, so speak with your doctor if so).
Glycaemic Index: 25
Net Carbs: 14g per grapefruit
Peaches are generally low in net carbs and eaten whole are a great source of dietary fibre and vitamins. As with bananas, the sugar content of peaches increases the riper they get. So, aim to eat your peach before it’s overly ripe. You know what’s coming next – avoid tinned or tubbed peaches which are often preserved in a sugar syrup!
Eat in moderation if berries aren't for you.
Glycaemic Index: 42
Net Carbs: 8g per peach
Fresh figs are an amazing source of fibre thanks to the hundreds of tiny seeds they contain and the fact that their thick flesh is edible. We love wrapping fresh figs in bacon and oven cooking for the perfect Keto snack or canape. Yep, you guessed it – no figs in syrup please!
Eat in moderation.
Glycaemic Index: 51
Net Carbs: 6.5g per fresh fig
Fresh apricots can be enjoyed with just 3.2g net carbs per fruit, but always consider that apricots are on the smaller side compared with the likes of apples and peaches. Dried peaches are often added to granolas or marketed as a healthy snack, but they contain that pesky concentrated sugar we mentioned earlier which is higher in carbs than fresh apricots and terrible for dental health!
Glycaemic Index: 55
Net Carbs: 3.2g per fresh apricot
Lemons are a great addition to your diet because they add bags of flavour to meals and drinks with a simple squeeze. You can add lemon juice to fresh water for a refreshing drink or add a squeeze or the zest of lemon to salads, fish, sauces… the list goes on! Lemons are super Keto friendly and packed with Vitamin C, so we’d recommend grabbing some fresh unwaxed lemons next time you’re shopping for groceries!
Glycaemic Index: 20
Net Carbs: 4.5g per lemon
Fresh tomatoes are a staple ingredient in our kitchen. They’re super low in net carbs and incredibly versatile – from using to make your own sauces (whilst avoiding the masses of hidden sugar found in jarred sauces) to creating unsweetened ketchup or simply roasting on the vine with some Himalayan rock salt, cracked black pepper and a drizzle of avocado oil. Leave allow them time to come to room temperature if eating raw for maximum flavour.
Glycaemic Index: 15
Net Carbs: 2-3g per 100g
👉 We use 100% perfectly ripe Italian tomatoes to make all our Unsweetened Sauces
Last but not least, watermelon can be enjoyed occasionally within a Keto diet. Some argue it is higher in sugar than other fruits and low in bonus nutrients – so eat infrequently and in small amounts.
Glycaemic Index: 72
Net Carbs: 11g per cup watermelon flesh
Fruit Can Be Enjoyed As Part Of A Healthy Keto Lifestyle
Enjoying a happy and healthy Keto lifestyle is all about balance and finding Keto friendly versions of the foods which aren’t usually recommended.
By making some simple swaps and learning which fruits to enjoy and which to avoid, you will soon get into the swing of enjoying Keto friendly fruit whilst remaining in ketosis.
Remember to opt for whole fruits and choose seasonal organic produce where possible – and no fruits in syrup!
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.