For many people, keto is simply too restrictive to maintain as a lifestyle, and limiting fruit is often the tipping point that prevents people from even trying it. “How can fruit be unhealthy?” or “any diet that limits fruit is unnatural” are often the responses I get when I am approached about my decision to follow keto.
Many fruits are vitamin and antioxidant powerhouses, so why would a diet approach claiming to be healthy limit the amount of fruit you eat? The short answer is, fruit isn’t what it used to be, and most fruits contain copious much sugar. There are however, some fruits that can be consumed in moderation on keto.
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Fruit Isn't What it Used to Be
When attempting to determine what types of foods we should be eating for optimal health we often look at human evolution. What did early humans eat prior to recent agricultural practices or food processing? What would early humans have had access to naturally, how much of certain foods did they consume and at what frequency?
The paleo diet is essentially a list of “approved” foods based on this approach. The paleo diet however, generally fails to provide parameters regarding the quantities in which certain foods should be consumed, or acknowledge the fact that many foods have been altered over time and in no way resemble the foods our ancestors actually ate.
Without the ability to transport or preserve large quantities of produce, early humans would have been limited to what was available within their immediate environment, and most fruits and vegetables would only have been available seasonally.
Selective propagation techniques have been applied to alter the size, palatability, color, sweetness, and juiciness of our fruits and vegetables, while reducing the size of pits or seeds, or even eliminating them altogether. Unfortunately, this approach has also resulted in fruits and vegetables that are higher in sugar, lower in fiber, and in many instances less nutritious.
Fructose Promotes Weight Gain
Fructose, the prominent sugar in fruit, has the unique ability to trigger greater weight gain by activating the fructokinase enzyme which in turn activates other enzymes that tell your body, “Hey, winter is coming – start putting on fat”.
Nothing will make you fatter faster than fructose and other “natural” low glycemic sweeteners, like agave syrup, that are high in fructose.
Selecting Fruit on Keto - Should You Go Organic?
1) Look for fruit that is low in net carbs. This is calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates. Fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate that doesn’t count toward your daily carb count.
2) Buying organic is recommended but may not always be possible.
A general rule of thumb – if you are peeling off a thick skin or outer layer of produce before eating it, you can choose non-organic. If you are consuming the portions of the produce that would be exposed to pesticides or herbicides, or if the produce has thin or porous skin, organic options are recommended.
3) Be conscious of serving sizes. When it comes to fruit, nuts, and other snacks, it is a good idea to measure out your portions rather than eating directly from the container. Using small single serving containers is a great way to make this process easy.
For other keto food options check out our complete keto food list here.
10 Keto Friendly Fruits
Although avocados are commonly thought to be a vegetable, they are technically a fruit.
Avocados are very high in healthy fats and are generally considered a staple of the ketogenic diet.
It should be noted that avocados can be high in FODMAPS, a type of carbohydrate that some people find difficult do digest.
Another fruit often mistaken as a vegetable are olives.
Olives are high in fat, can be eaten on their own or added to salads, sandwiches, or other dishes.
Like most high fat plant foods, olives are high in vitamin E, but also contain iron, copper, and calcium.
Along with avocados, blackberries also contain FODMAPS, but digesting these is not usually an issue unless you have gut bacteria imbalances and/or stomach acid issues.
Blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants which are beneficial for removing potentially dangerous oxidizing agents in the body.
Cranberries are commonly a staple side dish during Christmas and Thanksgiving, but they are a great option any time of the year.
Probably the most often misspelled fruit, raspberries are another great addition to keto.
Raspberries are high in fiber and a great source of immune boosting Vitamin C.
Strawberries are another great option for adding a little sweetness to smoothies, salads, and yogurt.
Gooseberries aren’t as commonly found in your local grocery store, but definitely worth a try if you can find them.
Another antioxidant powerhouse, gooseberries are super high in vitamin C, and also contain copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B5 & B6
Lemons are great for flavoring other foods, drinks and desserts. They are also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar levels and fight inflammation.
Limes offer similar benefits as lemons and can be used the same way.
All of the low-carb fruit on this list offer an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and should absolutely be included on keto. Consuming fruit along with meals or just prior to exercise can help minimize the effects on blood sugar levels and always remember, moderation is key.
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Which fruits are your favorites? Do you have any unique ways you incorporate these fruits into your diet? Please consider sharing your experience by commenting below to help support others navigating a healthy keto lifestyle. You do not need to provide your email address to leave a comment.
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