Best and Worst Low Carb Fruits

Perhaps one of the hardest parts about a low carb diet is limiting the amount of fruit you eat. Most of us have grown up or been taught that eating fruit meant dieting and that you would lose weight if you ate fruit before every meal and for every snack.

Scientific studies have shown us that this isn’t really true. Fruit contains sugar and carbs, just like everything else does. While no one is denying that fruit is an important part of everyone’s diet, there is a reason why Mother Nature made most fruit seasonal and edible for a short period of time.

We are meant to eat a little bit, but not a ton of it all year long.

Fruit Today is NOT What Nature Intended

Regardless of how you might feel about GMO’s, the truth is that fruit today is very, very different from what it was just a few hundred years ago.

Before GMO's were created, man made their own GMO foods by tweaking with plants, splicing them, making hybrids, etcetera, to make fruit softer or sweeter or larger.

Our ancestors, therefore, even when a particular fruit was in season, probably ate very little of it, since it was smaller and not as sweet as what we think of as fruit today.

For example, a watermelon in a painting done in approximately 1645 looks far more like a pomegranate than a modern day watermelon!

Peaches, also, were more the size of cherries, and described as tasting like lentils or slightly salty, according to the Chinese in 4,000 BC.

The biggest change, however, has to be bananas. Bananas were cultivated at least 7,000 years ago. They once had large, hard seeds taking up most of the banana, not the soft, small seeds we find in modern day bananas.

Once you see what fruit used to be, you will have a better understanding of why you should limit how much you consume if you want to eat a healthier, low carb diet.

Low Carb Fruits - BananaBanana - Before and after

Low Carb Fruits - CarrotsCarrot - Before and after

Low Carb Fruits - WatermelonWatermelon - Before and after

Fruit and Fiber

We can't talk about fruit without mentioning the importance of fiber. Fiber is important to the body for several reasons, including preventing colorectal cancer and having regular bowel movements. Choosing high fiber fruit can help to keep you regular. On average, the average adult female needs about 25 grams of fiber each day and men about 38 grams. Most Americans get only 15 grams each day from the SAD diet.

Make wise fruit choices! The top high fiber fruits are apples, blackberries, pears, raspberries, and bananas.

So How Much Fruit Can I Eat?

How much fruit you can eat depends on how many carbs you are limiting yourself to. Fruit contains many nutrients and when you get a sugar craving, fruit is the obvious go-to food; however, not all fruit is created equal.

The good news here is that some fruits with the lowest levels of sugar (and carbs) have the best nutritional value! This is good news for those on a low carb diet.

If you are out shopping and left your phone or list behind, there is a fairly easy way to remember which fruits you should choose. This list goes from least amount of carbs to highest amount of carbs:

  • Berries are Best – Keep this mantra in mind and you can’t go wrong. Think strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and boysenberries. All are super high in antioxidants and other nutrients.
  • Lemons and Limes are really Fine! – Although you might not want to eat either of these like you would an orange, there is no denying that lemonade or a squeeze of lime on meat is super tasty ways to enjoy your low carb lifestyle.
  • Summer is Super – These fruits include peaches, apricots, nectarines, and melons.
  • Winter is Wow – We say WOW as in more carbs. This includes fruits such as apples, pears, and oranges. Think of fruit that is ripe in the fall or late winter.
  • Tropical is not a Pal – These fruits are much higher on the sugar/carb scale and they include mangos, bananas, fresh figs, pineapple, and pomegranates.
  • Dried Fruit is Not For Me – Although we hate to block off any type of food, dried fruit, including raisins, dates, prunes, figs, apples and apricots, are very high in sugar. Although dried berries can be good, manufacturers usually add sugar to keep them from being so tart.

Low Carb Fruits

If you keep the list above in mind, you should do OK; however, if you want to print out a list to keep with you, the following is a good one. All amounts listed are for 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces):

  • Cranberries – 7 grams
  • Lime – 11 grams
  • Lemons – 9 grams
  • Rhubarb – 4.5 grams
  • Apricots – 11 grams
  • Guavas – 14 grams
  • Raspberries – 5 grams
  • Blackberries – 5 grams
  • Strawberries – 6 grams
  • Grapefruit – 11 grams
  • Cantaloupe – 8 grams
  • Nectarines – 10 grams
  • Papaya – 11 grams
  • Oranges – 12 grams
  • Honeydew Melon – 9 grams
  • Cherries – 12 grams
  • Peaches – 10 grams
  • Blueberries – 12 grams
  • Plums – 7 grams
  • Watermelon – 8 grams
  • Boysenberries – 10 grams
  • Coconut – 6 grams

Fruits High in Carbohydrates

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat the following fruits, only that you should watch your portion and eat them accordingly. Again, the following list is for fresh fruit, 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces:

  • Pomegranates – 19 grams
  • Pineapple – 13 grams
  • Figs – 28 grams
  • Pears – 15 grams
  • Bananas – 23 grams
  • Apples – 14 grams
  • Mangos – 15 grams
  • Tangerines – 13 grams
  • Kiwi – 15 grams
  • Grapes – 16 grams

So how much fruit can you eat each day? That would depend on the number of carbohydrates you are allowing yourself daily, the number of carbs you are planning on consuming that day, and which fruit you decide to eat.

Fruit doesn't have to be the outlaw when you are on a low carb diet; all it takes is some careful planning to enjoy the sweetness of fruit every day!