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Are Apples Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about apples, are they keto-friendly?

Apples are a typical type of fruit that comes in colors like green and red. This fruit is mostly consumed on its own, as a snack or dessert but it can play a role in salads and dessert recipes too.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw apples is around 11.4 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people apples are not very keto-friendly. This fruit is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some serious portion control.

In any case, there are many substitutes for apples that are better for staying in ketosis.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in apples

100 grams of apples contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 13.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Net carbs: 11.4 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 11.4 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of apple is likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One medium apple is about 182 grams and contains about 20.7 grams of net carbs. This amount is even more likely to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of apples is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.2 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of apple, 3.2 grams, is a bit easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not apple is keto for you ultimately depends on the quantity, your individual situation, and the rest of your diet.

Carbs in apple juice

The above amounts of net carbs in apples are with regular raw apples. You can also consume apples as apple juice but this will impact how keto-friendly it is.

Here is the comparison between raw apple and apple juice as an example (2, 3).

Values Per 100gRaw AppleApple Juice
Total Carbohydrates13.8 g11.3 g
Of Which Fiber2.4 g0.2 g
Net Carbs11.4 g11.1 g
Chart of carbs in raw apple vs apple juice

Surprisingly the number of net carbs per 100 grams in the apple juice example is lower. You do need to keep in mind that it is a lot easier to consume 100 grams of apple juice compared to the raw fruit. Fiber can also reduce the spike in blood sugar from food.

This example of apple juice is also without added sugar. Many apple juice brands do add sugar which makes this drink even less keto-friendly.

For these reasons, if you decide to eat apples on the ketogenic diet, you still preferably want to eat them raw, not as apple juice.

Other nutrients in apples

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of raw apple contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 52
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • Carbs: 13.8 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 8% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 3% of the DV
  • Potassium: 3% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 2% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

On top of being slightly higher in net carbs, apples do not contain that many valuable nutrients per 100 grams compared to many other foods.

How to avoid eating too much apple

By now it is clear that to be able to fit apple in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of eat-ready apples near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too much apple with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much apple will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the apples out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying it if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of apple you eat.

Substitutes for apple on keto

Apples are not the only option when you want to eat fruit on the ketogenic diet. Apples are not the highest in net carbs but there are many fruits that are more keto-friendly.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

  • Blackberries: 4.9 grams of net carbs
  • Raspberries: 5.4 grams of net carbs
  • Strawberries: 5.7 grams of net carbs
  • Watermelon: 7.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cranberries: 7.6 grams of net carbs
  • Cantaloupe: 7.9 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for fruit, it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over apples. However, even with these examples you will have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of apple added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, apples can be a good food option even if they potentially put you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level. Even if you are just trying to lose weight apple juice is generally not recommended.