Fruits and vegetables are tricky on the Keto Diet, which is why it's important to know how many net carbs each fruit and vegetable contains.
With the goal of fewer than 5% of calories from carbs on a strict keto diet, it's crucial to know which fruits and vegetables will keep you in ketosis.
Here's your guide to fruits and vegetables on the Keto Diet.
Most fruits are too high in carbohydrates to be eaten on a strict ketogenic diet. Berries are the primary exception here as the high fiber content reduces the number of net carbohydrates per serving. The other exceptions include fruits that are typically thought of as belonging in the vegetable family such as avocados and tomatoes.
Here is a list of 10 of the best keto fruit choices, along with the net carbs contained in one serving:
- Avocado: 4g net carbs per avocado (216g)
- Star Fruit: 4g net carbs per cup (108g)
- Tomatoes: 5g net carbs per cup (180g)
- Blackberries: 6g net carbs per cup (144g)
- Raspberries: 7g net carbs per cup (123g)
- Strawberries: 8g net carbs per cup (144g)
- Grapefruit: 10g net carbs per cup (110g)
- Watermelon: 11g net carbs per cup (154g)
- Cantaloupe: 11g net carbs per cup (160g)
- Kiwi: 12g net carbs per cup (106g)
Vegetables tend to be much lower in carbohydrates than fruit due to their generally low sugar content. However, there are still some vegetables that you should always avoid when following a low-carb diet.
As a general guide, try to stick to above-ground vegetables. They're generally lower in carbohydrates and tend to be the best keto-friendly options. Below-ground vegetables (root vegetables) tend to be higher in carbohydrates–think potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Here is a list of 10 excellent keto vegetable choices for a low-carb diet, along with the net carbs contained in one serving:
- Kale: 0g net carbs per 1 cup (21g)
- Spinach: 0g net carbs per 1 cup (30g)
- Bok Choy: 1g net carbs per 1 cup (170g)
- Celery: 1g net carb per 1 cup (101g)
- Cucumber: 2g net carbs per 1 cup (104g)
- Zucchini: 3g net carbs per 1 cup (180g)
- Cauliflower: 3g net carbs per 1 cup (107g)
- Asparagus: 4g net carbs per 1 cup (180g)
- Broccoli: 4g net carbs per 1 cup (91g)
- Green Beans: 4g net carbs per 1 cup (100g)
- Green Bell Pepper: 4g net carbs per 1 cup (149g)
- Brussels Sprouts: 4g net carbs per 1 cup (88g)
The Ketogenic diet supplements fat for carbs in order to fuel your body with the energy that carbohydrates usually provide. This change in diet–the reduction of total carbohydrate intake more specifically-will transition the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When the body enters this state, it becomes efficient at burning fat for energy.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that the body enters in which there's a high concentration of ketones in the blood. When restricting carbohydrates, hormone insulin levels go down, and fatty acids are released from body fat stores in large amounts. These fatty acids are transported to the liver, where they're oxidized and turned into ketones. These ketone bodies provide energy for the body.
The Ketogenic Diet offers several health benefits (rapid weight loss, reduced blood sugar and insulin levels, etc) and may improve symptoms of various ailments and diseases. Ketosis is an important part of that process.
What are Net Carbs?
Net carbs are considered to be the carbohydrates that your body digests and converts into glucose. Most people on low-carb diets track net carbs rather than total carbohydrates.
To calculate net carbs, simply subtract the dietary fiber and sugar alcohol content (if applicable) from the total carbohydrates.
Net Carbs = Total carbs - fiber - sugar alcohols
The Bottom Line
While fruits and vegetables are whole foods filled with healthy nutrients, they're not all created equally.
Sweeter fruits contain higher amounts of sugar, which unfortunately means more carbs. When indulging in fruits stick to berries and the unconventional ones like tomatoes and avocados.
As a rule of thumb for vegetables, stick to the above-ground ones. Root vegetables tend to be starchy and carb-filled, especially potatoes. Always avoid these if you want to keep up your ketosis!
Looking to up your protein intake on keto? Check out our Keto-Friendly Beef Jerky Collection!