Apples are both sweet and refreshing, watermelon can make your mouth water, and peaches are, well, downright peachy. If you adore fruit, then you know how tasty it can be. You also surely know that it’s good for you. And despite their reputation for being sweet or even starchy, there are plenty of low-carb fruits that can be beneficial to your body.
When looking at fruit as a whole, consider the fact that the findings of a study published in a 2021 issue of the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation note that when participants consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables each day as opposed to just two, it lowered the risk of cardiovascular, cancer, and total mortality by 10–13%. Another study in Advances in Nutrition also points out that both fruit and veggies offer your body dietary fiber, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Combine that impressive and promising info with the fact that many low-carb fruits have added health benefits, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease while also helping with cholesterol levels and weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, if you’re the key to making this work to your advantage is by choosing healthy ways to get the number of carbs that you need without consuming too many. That’s why fruit is such a great low-carb option.
What is considered a low-carb fruit?
At the same time, “the maximum threshold of grams of carbs allowed in fruit for it to still be considered low-carb can vary depending on different sources and interpretations,” says Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD. “Generally, fruits that contain approximately 5 grams or fewer of net carbs per serving are considered low-carb. Net carbs refer to the total carbohydrate content minus the fiber content.”
Sabat explains that “there is a positive correlation between a fruit being low-carb and its fiber content.” She notes that “fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not fully digested by the body.” When consumed, “it can help slow down the absorption of sugars and promote a feeling of fullness, making it beneficial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and supporting weight management.” She also points out that “many low-carb fruits tend to be high in fiber, which further contributes to their health benefits.”
This is why, as mentioned, you can take the number of total carbs in each serving of fruit and subtract the amount of fiber. This will give you the amount of net carbs, which is what you should put toward your daily intake. With that in mind, here are 10 of the best low-carb fruits you could eat, according to scientific research and expert insight from dietitians. Also, for more healthy eating advice to help you sift through the many nutritious fruit choices at the market, be sure to check out 11 Best Fruits to Eat For Weight Loss.
If coconuts are a fruit, then have you ever wondered why are they called coconuts? Are they actually nuts?! Although you can certainly consider them nuts or even seeds, they’re actually drupes, according to the Library of Congress. Drupes have a hard outer layer as well as a seed inside. They’re also a kind of fruit. So, yes, coconuts are fruit despite having the word “nut” in their name. Of course, however, you choose to define a coconut, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s delicious and a great low-carb option.
Sabat explains that “coconuts offer a good source of healthy fats and fiber while being relatively low in carbs.” Beyond that, “they also provide electrolytes and minerals, making them a great choice for a low-carb diet.”
While Margulies says that coconuts are “an excellent source of fiber,” she also is sure to note that “with its high-fat content (about 17 grams per half cup) and calorie content (177 calories per half cup), be sure to monitor your portion size.”
Berries may be small, but they can pack a powerful punch when it comes to keeping you healthy. A study published in the Molecules journal in 2021 found that berries can provide your body with antioxidants that can benefit both your gut and brain while protecting you from inflammatory disorders, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers.
Sabat adds that berries “are also rich in fiber, providing additional health benefits while keeping the net carb count low.”She also specifically recommends strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Meanwhile, Margulies explains that blackberries are “an awesome source of fiber and low in calories (62 calories per cup).”