ICYMI the low-carb life is all the rage and people are ditching grains and starchy vegetables left and right. One food group that’s ended up in the doghouse? Fruit. Yep, nature’s candy often gets a bad rep among keto and paleo folks due to its naturally occurring sugars, which equal higher carb counts.
But if you're going low-carb, do you have to give up fruit? (Say it isn't so...)
While fruit is higher in sugar and carbs than vegetables, it still has a place on your plate. It delivers many essential vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants, and is healthier than a hell of a lot of other sweet treats. Eating fruits and vegetables on the daily can help slash your risk of death and reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
However, pay attention to how much fruit you’re noshing on, says Amy Shapiro, RD, and founder of Real Nutrition. She typically recommends two to three servings of fruit per day to her clients. “Too much sugar, even from plants, can prevent weight-loss goals,” she says.
While there’s a wide range of opinions on what’s considered a low-carb fruit, in general, Shapiro advises opting for higher fiber fruits. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
These are the 14 best low-carb fruits, according to nutritionists.
Apricots may be sweet and juicy, but each tiny fruit contains only three grams of net carbs (that's calculated by subtracting the fiber in the fruit from the total number of carbs) and 17 calories. They’re also a good source of vitamin A. Not bad for a little guy.
This pocket full of sunshine has eight grams of net carbs in one medium-size fruit, but that’s not all. One kiwi meets your daily vitamin C needs (and then some) and is a good source of vitamin K, offering 30 percent of your daily needs. You’ll also load up on minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
You’ve probably heard that watermelon has a lot of sugar, but that’s not entirely true, says Taub-Dix. One cup of cubed watermelon contains only 11 grams of net carbohydrates, along with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
Learn how to buy the perfect watermelon:
A basket of irresistibly bright red berries is a good low-carb fruit choice. One cup of strawberries has nine grams of net carbs and is an antioxidant powerhouse, supplying 119 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also a great source of folate and the mineral manganese.
Yep, avocado is a fruit, and each one only contains about two grams net carbs. “It’s a good source of fiber and healthy fat,” says Taub-Dix. “When you have some fat in your diet, it’s going to slow the way carbohydrates are absorbed too.” Win-Win.
Raspberries are the poster-child for low-carb fruit. They’re sweet—but not too sweet—and full of fiber. That means one cup of jewel-toned berries has only seven grams of net carbs, not to mention antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A.
While you may think this orange melon is jam-packed with carbs, one wedge of the refreshing fruit contains only seven grams of net carbs. It’s also a beta-carotene and vitamin C powerhouse and a good source of folate. No wonder it’s a fruit salad staple.
Good things come in small packages. While these tiny fruits are a sweet treat, they sneak in under the low-carb threshold with eight grams of net carbs, thanks to their small size, and deliver nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs.
These tart berries are low-carb all-stars. Not only are they full of good-for-you antioxidants, their high fiber content means they only have six grams of net carbs per cup. “I usually recommend berries as the lowest in carbs since one cup has anywhere from five to eight grams of fiber per serving,” says Shapiro.
You may be surprised to learn that this juicy summer treat is one of Shapiro’s top picks for low-carb fruit. One small peach has 11 grams of net carbs. Peaches are also dripping with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium, zinc and iron. Pick some up on your next trip to the farmers market.
This low-cal fruit is bursting with antioxidants like vitamin C and A as well as fiber. Plus, it can be a part of the low-carb life, according to Shapiro. Half a grapefruit has 11 grams of net carbs.
Bet you didn’t realize that these salty bites are actually fruit. With only four net carbs in a 3.5-ounce serving, olives are a great low-carb option. They’re also high in vitamin E and healthy fats, making them a nutrient-packed snack.
Looking for an on-the-go, low-carb snack? Pick up a plum. The deep purple fruit is low in calories and carbs, clocking in at seven grams of net carbs. Opt for the fresh fruit over dried (a.k.a. prunes) since dried fruit tends to deliver a higher amount of sugar and carbohydrates.
Okay, so this light green melon might not be the most exciting fruit at the market, but hear me out. One wedge of honeydew contains 10 grams of net carbohydrates and is an excellent way to get your vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and potassium—a nutrient key for heart health and nerve and muscle function.
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