Low-carb fruits and berries – the best and the worst

What are the best and the worst fruits and berries to eat on a low-carb diet? Here’s the short version: most berries are OK low-carb foods in moderate amounts, but fruits are candy from nature (and full of sugar).

For more details, check out this guide, with the lower-carb options to the left.

Berries

Low-Carb Berries

The numbers above are the percentages of digestible carbohydrates i.e. net carbs (fiber is not counted) – think of them as numbers of grams carbohydrate per 100 g of berry (3½ ounces).

Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries can be eaten in small amounts on a strict low-carb diet, and you can have pretty much all you want if you’re on a more moderate low-carb diet.

Blueberries contain a bit more carbs, so don’t overdo them – on a strict low-carb diet eat them only occasionally, in small amounts.

Fruits

Low-Carb Fruits

So how about fruit? As you can see, all fruits contain quite a few carbs (mostly in the form of sugar). That’s why fruits are sweet! Fruit is candy from nature.

For easy comparison all numbers are still grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (3½ ounces) of the fruits.

A medium-sized apple (150 grams) may contain about 18 grams of carbs.

How much fruit can you have?

This means that on a keto low-carb diet (<20 grams per day) you're probably better off having some berries instead. Or perhaps a small fruit like a plum or a couple of cherries, once in a while. You can eat plenty of vegetables instead. You can easily get any nutrient in fruit from vegetables – without all the sugar. So there’s no need for fruit.

Even on a more moderate low-carb diet (20-50 grams per day) you’ll have to be careful with fruit – probably no more than about one a day.

On a liberal low-carb diet (50-100 grams per day) you may be able to squeeze in two or three fruits a day, if that is your biggest source of carbs.

As you see, grapes and bananas are the highest-carb fruits of them all.
 

Top 10 low-carb fruits

Top 10 low-carb fruits

Let’s say you occasionally want to eat a fruit (or some berries) while still staying relatively low carb. What fruit would be the best choice?

Below, you’ll find the best options, ranked by grams of net carbs per serving (one medium-sized fruit or half a cup). The lowest-carbs options are at the top. All numbers are net carbs.1  

  1. Raspberries – Half a cup (60 grams) contains 3 grams of carbs.
  2. Blackberries – Half a cup (70 grams) contains 4 grams of carbs.
  3. Strawberries – One cup (100 grams) contains 6 grams of carbs.
  4. Blueberries – Half a cup (50 grams) contains 6 grams of carbs.
  5. Plum – One medium-sized (80 grams) contains 6 grams of carbs.
  6. Clementine – One medium-sized (75 grams) contains 7 grams of carbs.
  7. Kiwi – One medium-sized (70 grams) contains 8 grams of carbs.
  8. Cherries – Half a cup (90 grams) contains 9 grams of carbs.
  9. Cantaloupe – One cup (160 grams) contains 11 grams of carbs.
  10. Peach – One medium-sized (150 grams) contains 13 grams of carbs.

 
As a comparison, a medium-sized orange contains about 15 grams of carbs, a medium-sized apple about 18 grams and a medium-sized banana about 25 grams of carbs.

 

Isn’t fruit natural?

banana1banana2

Most people believe that fruit is natural, but today’s fruits in the supermarket have very little in common with what fruit used to look like before:

What fruits and vegetables looked like before

Fruit is candy from nature.

Berry recipes

A moderate amount of low-sugar berries can be OK on a low-carb diet. Here are our top recipes:

 

 

 

 

Worse choices

Muffin or M&M's

Of course a fruit is still better than many other snack options – like a muffin or candy. All fruit (even bananas) are much lower in carbs than these.

 

 

Q&A

Below you’ll find a few common questions about low-carb fruits, with answers. For more like this, check out our full low-carb FAQ.

What fruits are the lowest in carbs?

Berries like raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are your best bet, with carb counts of around 5 or 6 net grams per 100 grams. Beyond that, perhaps a plum or a few cherries? Check out the visual guide above for exact carb counts for all common fruits.

What fruits are high in carbs?

The worst offenders are bananas, at 20 net carbs per 100 grams, and grapes, with 16 net carbs per 100 grams. But most fruits, including oranges and apples, are fairly high in sugar and carbs.

What is the best fruit to eat to lose weight?

There are no great fruits to eat if you want to lose weight on a low-carb diet. But a handful of berries is a fairly safe option if you want something fruit-like, without eating a lot of sugar.

 
Full low-carb diet FAQ

 

 

Similar low-carb guides

Meal plans

Get lots of weekly low-carb meal plans, complete with shopping lists and everything, with our premium meal planner tool (free trial).
 
 

 

Alternative low-carb snacks and desserts

All low-carb snacks recipes

 

More

A low-carb diet for beginners
Low-carb foods
 
14-day low-carb diet meal plan
  1. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.

1 2

94 Comments

  1. Agnese
    where are all the other berries????
  2. Cindy C
    What about green bananas or green plantains?
  3. 1 comment removed
  4. Thiago
    Acerola is a small fruit, rich in vitamin C and has few carbs.
  5. Sean K
    Thank you very much for this, Diet Doctor!

    These visual aids will not only provide guidance for my own home but also, as a family doctor, provide visual guidance for my many patients with Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes.

    What a wonderful visual resource!

  6. Cindy C
    Are we just reducing sugar, or fructose itself? Is the sugar content of fruit mostly fructose?

    http://familywellnesshq.com/fructose-in-fruits-veggies-nuts-seeds-leg...

  7. Cindy C
    This was in recent news. The particular diet used was dairy free and lower in saturated fats, but higher in other fats.

    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-04-paleolithic-type-diet-future-di...

  8. Santiaggie
    Where is the Avocado?
  9. 2 comments removed
  10. Geraldine Denise
    You don't have GOJI-BERRIES in the list. I've been buying them, here in Brazil they're a slimming craze. Cranberries?
  11. Sheila
    what about grapefruits?
    Reply: #52
  12. Liv
    What about green Bananas and Plantains?
  13. marie
    what about japanese purple potato, yuca, malanga, yellow plantain?
  14. janet halliwell
    Is there an app I can put on my phone please? It would make it easier when shopping & cooking. I'm dairy free but finding tinned coconut milk as a replacement is gorgeous in coffee & on fruit.
    Reply: #16
  15. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi!

    Sorry Janet, it's a great idea but there will not be an app in the near future.

    Is there an app I can put on my phone please? It would make it easier when shopping & cooking. I'm dairy free but finding tinned coconut milk as a replacement is gorgeous in coffee & on fruit.

  16. Tammy Culp
    Hi what about spaghetti squash
  17. Leanne
    I'm a vegan how is the best way for me to replace all of the meat and dairy? I have put on 6kgs in 6 mths of being vegan due to all of the fruit and carbs I have been eating. I have started having protein powder in smoothies for breakfast and a early evening beverage, made with water. I know there is a lot of protein in tofu and tempeh but are there other options. Thanks great website.
    Reply: #45
  18. Robert
    Pumpkin ??
  19. isabella
    Hi! I am from Brazil, and in here, most fitness diet are based of Tapioca, because it's a gluten free satisfying meal. Do you know anything about Tapioca's carbs? Thank you :)
  20. Ana
    What about watermelon?
    Reply: #23
  21. Vespe
    "Any nutrient in fruit can more easily be had from vegetables"

    Incorrect -- at least when it comes to micronutrients, which occur in far higher concentrations in various berries and herbs, fruit to a lesser extent.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/table/T1/

    Berries and fruit blow the vegetables out of the water when it comes to total antioxidant count. This is before we even start talking about the specific types of antioxidants you can find in higher concentrations in berries and fruits, such as xantophylls and resveratrol.

    I do, however, find the information on low-carb fruit useful, so I'm thankful for that. I have no intentions of not eating quite a bit of fruit and berries, though (especially when micronutrients are considered) -- I'm actually underweight, and was looking for the low-carb info for relatives and potential future use.

  22. Alice
    21 grams of carbs for 2 cup serving. Low in calories, 80 calories per serving, high in natural sugar with 20 grams per serving.
    http://www.watermelon.org/assets/Nutrition/FDA%20Watermelon%20Label.pdf
  23. Anna
    Thank you for the article, it is really interesting and useful! As for me, I prefer Dr Simeons diet, which helped me to lose 11 kilos. I did the diet with Anat Stern, and she really helped me to go untill the end by constantly motivating and giving useful advises. I would recommend this diet to everyone who is willig to lose weight, because my own results are fantastic!
  24. Bonnie
    A diet of 90% fruit then would not be a good one.
  25. Mark
    I advise anyone who is considering giving up fruit based on this article to read the following article in the New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/making-the-case-for-eating-f...

    This article contains advice from Dr David Ludwig and Dr Robert Lustig and explains that the fibre contained in fruit slows down the absorption of sugar. These two men are hugely important in the fight against the diabetes pandemic.

    Reply: #60
  26. Wasseem
    I am from Middle East and we do like dates much. So what about it?
  27. Shabeela
    I am from South Africa an I like apples..so what about it?
    thanks
    Reply: #29
  28. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Shabeela!

    Apples is not a part of a strict LCHF diet.

    But if you eat a more liberal LCHF diet then you could eat an apple or two every day. :)

    "On a liberal low-carb diet (50-100 grams per day) you may be able to squeeze in two or three fruits a day, if that is your biggest source of carbs."

    I am from South Africa an I like apples..so what about it? thanks

    Reply: #30
  29. W8er
    Indeed, there are those too sweet. All the calories are from sugar there. Just two large ones may score your free sugar recommendations as http://nutritional.top/apples_raw_with_skin says, even though not the calories.
  30. Elaine Crittenden
    Arti chocks backed with lemon parm cheese olive oil yum but how many carbs?
    Reply: #32
  31. Linn
    I would suggest using a Web search engine to find a tool to calculate the amount of carbohydrates. You would need to know the contents of each product you're using as well as how much of each ingredient is being used in the dish.
  32. Aron
    Just to let you all know lchf is a way of life and not just a diet thank you
  33. Drachula
    Goji berries have 65g carb per 100g, so not a diet pill! They are very low in fat, and probably have other benefits, but the sugar is way too high, like any dried fruit.
    There are lots of web tools to look up carb content. It is confusing because the way different countries classify fibre is different, but you get an idea.
    Try looking up "goji berries calories" or whatever you are looking for, then change the amount to 100g. Then take fibre off the total carbs if it is a US site, and you get total carbs. More or less.
  34. Mark Bousquet
    I broke down and got some organic bananas recently, basically to do some n=1 sleep experimentation. Haven't had a banana since before I went LCHF 3.5 years ago. When I unpeeled it, I got hit in the face with its sugary aroma... and then I bit in... Oh, it was sooo good! Definitely a dessert! As for my n=1 experiment, my sleep tracker app didn't note anything different those nights I consumed it. Oh well, I'll stick to berries for now.
  35. Keith
    These guides do not appear to work correctly on Apple platforms. Or is it just me?
    The figures for each item do not appear!
    Reply: #37
  36. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi !

    Have you tried with another browser? It's a weird because it's a picture...and not being able to see the values doesn't make sense.

    Best,
    Peter

    These guides do not appear to work correctly on Apple platforms. Or is it just me?
    The figures for each item do not appear!

    Reply: #51
  37. Keith
    Not yet. A bit limited to MacBook, iPhone and iPad. No picture either. Everything else works fine!
    Thanks for suggestion.
  38. Michelle
    What about pomegranates? Are they high or low in carbs?
    Reply: #40
  39. Kristin Berglund Team Diet Doctor

    What about pomegranates? Are they high or low in carbs?

    Hi Michelle!

    Pomegranates have about 7 grams of carbs per 100 g or 3,5 oz.

  40. Keith
    Yes, works fine on PC (Google Chrome), and on Apple device with Chrome. Just seems Safari not compatible with some of the guides. Some work some don't. Can you fix?
  41. Claire
    I am new to this plan, and sop far it's easy for me as I never ate a lot of sweets, breads etc...

    Is there a meal plan anywhere on here? I'd like to get an idea of how much I need to eat. I am 5'6 @ 148. Want to lose 20 lbs. I've been LCHF for 1 1/2 weeks. Lost 2 lbs. I have not eaten carbs for the exception of veggies, not even berries. I am trying to keep it to 25-30 carbs a day. How much protein and fat should I eat to lose?
    Thanks!

    Reply: #43
  42. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Claire!

    Why not try our two week challenge, then you will get a good feeling on how to eat. :)

    https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-get-started-on-low-carb-take-our-br...

    I am new to this plan, and sop far it's easy for me as I never ate a lot of sweets, breads etc...
    Is there a meal plan anywhere on here? I'd like to get an idea of how much I need to eat. I am 5'6 @ 148. Want to lose 20 lbs. I've been LCHF for 1 1/2 weeks. Lost 2 lbs. I have not eaten carbs for the exception of veggies, not even berries. I am trying to keep it to 25-30 carbs a day. How much protein and fat should I eat to lose?
    Thanks!

  43. Brenda
    Recipes that use coconut flour; I like to see an alternative option where you can substitute Almond flour/meal.
  44. Brenda
    I would review the Vegan recipes on this site.
  45. 1 comment removed
  46. Sofie
    Are those blueberries you listed the ones that are pale green inside? The normal (dark purple inside) ones in my freezer say they have 7g carbs / 100g.
    Reply: #48
  47. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Sofie!

    I think the values can vary a lot. I have seen everything between 7-14 g carbs.

    Are those blueberries you listed the ones that are pale green inside? The normal (dark purple inside) ones in my freezer say they have 7g carbs / 100g.

  48. James
    Just want to say a massive thank you for preparing this wonderful website of information. It truely is amazing.
  49. darla
    I would like to know if radish is low
    I enjoy them as a snack and would like to know if they are okay, considered low carb.
1 2

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by