Can Fruit Suit the Keto Life?

By now you’ve probably heard of “keto,” also known as the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve even tried it. The ketogenic diet is an eating style that has become more common during the last decade. In our 2022 IFIC Food and Health Survey, seven percent of respondents reported that they had followed the ketogenic diet in the past year.

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very-low-carbohydrate way of eating. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis, a metabolic process during which your body increases its production of “ketone bodies” and transitions to using them as the primary energy source due to the lack of glucose available from low intake of dietary carbohydrates. To reach ketosis, at least 55–60 percent of the calories you consume must come from dietary fats. The remaining calories that you consume can come from a limited amount of carbohydrates (5–10 percent) and a moderate amount of protein. A typical ketogenic diet plan limits carbohydrate intake to a total of 20–50 grams per day. It can take a few days for the body to reach a state of ketosis.

Given the simplicity of keto’s advice to veto carbohydrates, it’s easy to see why someone might want to give it a try. However, most recommendations from global health authorities advise keeping dietary fat intake lower (especially saturated fat) and carbohydrate intake higher (especially dietary fiber) than what the typical ketogenic diet calls for.

Can Fruit Suit the Keto Life?

With a laser focus on carbohydrate restriction, you may be wondering if fruit also gets the boot on a ketogenic diet. After all, fruits are essentially carbohydrate-rich vehicles for vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

But not all fruits are the same. While some fruits are higher in total carbohydrate and lower in dietary fiber, other fruits can be more keto-friendly due to their higher fiber and lower carbohydrate content. Although dietary fibers are types of carbohydrate, fibers aren’t efficiently digested or metabolized for fuel like other forms of carbohydrate, so they will not interfere with reaching and sustaining ketosis in the same way.

Therefore, the keto diet doesn’t have to be fruitless. But the choices for keto-friendly fruit are limited, and so is the quantity of fruit that can be consumed to remain in ketosis. Here are three go-to fruits if you decide to go keto:

Avocados

Avocados are one of the most nutritionally complete fruits you’ll find. They’re unique for a few reasons: They aren’t sweet or tart—instead imparting a mild, buttery flavor—and they’re very high in calories and fat (mostly monounsaturated). Because of their nutritional profile, which includes a high fiber-to-total-carbohydrate ratio, avocados can be a good fit for keto dieters. One half-cup of cubed avocado provides about:

  • 120 calories
  • 11 grams of total fat
    • 1.6 grams of saturated fat
    • 7.4 grams of monounsaturated fat
    • 1.4 grams of polyunsaturated fat
  • 6.4 grams of total carbohydrate
    • 5 grams of dietary fiber
    • 0.5 gram of total sugars
  • 1.5 grams of protein

Blackberries

Blackberries are sweet-tasting fruit with a high fiber-to-total-carbohydrate ratio. One half-cup of blackberries provides about:

  • 31 calories
  • 0.35 gram of total fat
  • 7 grams of total carbohydrate
    • 3.8 grams of dietary fiber
    • 3.5 grams of total sugars
  • 1 gram of protein

Raspberries

Raspberries are another sweet-tasing fruit with a high fiber-to-total-carbohydrate ratio. One half-cup of raspberries contains about:

  • 32 calories
  • 0.4 gram of total fat
  • 7.3 grams of total carbohydrate
    • 4 grams of dietary fiber
    • 2.7 grams of total sugars
  • 0.75 gram of protein

This article includes contributions from Ali Webster, PhD, RD, and Alyssa Pike, RD.