Is Lemon Keto-Friendly? (& Alternatives)

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Fruits are typically not recommended on keto but lemon has a distinct taste. Find out whether this food is keto-friendly or not.

Lemons are citrus fruits that are known for their yellow color and sour taste. Instead of eating this fruit raw, you will likely prefer using lemons as an ingredient in recipes or as a way to give water more taste.

100 grams of lemons contain around 6.5 grams of net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber).

While you will likely not consume these amounts, it does help you compare lemons to other foods.

The amount of carbohydrates in lemons is somewhat low. In turn, you can likely fit reasonable amounts into a ketogenic diet.

Especially if you only mix some lemon juice with water this combination will generally be keto-friendly.

When it comes to fruits, lemons are relatively keto-friendly. However, there are also some alternatives that could fit within your ketogenic diet and have a sweeter taste.

Carbs in lemon

To figure out whether lemon is keto-friendly in combination with your diet and in what amounts, you need to find out how many carbohydrates this food contains.

100 grams of lemon contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 9.3 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Net carbs: 6.5 grams

100 grams is not necessarily a reasonable amount of lemon to eat. However, it does help you compare this fruit to other food options.

6.5 grams of net carbs per 100 grams of lemon is reasonably low.

At the same time, there are foods that are more low-carb. This amount of carbs could also be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

How many net carbs does a lemon have?

One lemon is about 58 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 5.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.8 grams

Lower amounts of lemon will obviously contain fewer carbohydrates. The 3.8 grams of net carbs in one lemon will be easier to fit into a ketogenic diet.

Other nutrition information lemon

It can be easy to forget them while following a keto diet but foods also contain other nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

These still play important roles in whether or not you will stay in ketosis, losing weight, and general health.

100 grams of raw lemon contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 29
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Carbs: 9.3 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 88% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin B6: 4% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 3% of the DV
  • Folate: 3% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Lemons contain a nice amount of vitamin C but besides that, they are not that impressive when it comes to vitamins and minerals per 100 grams.

You can still use them in small amounts for their taste but there is often no need to fit lemons into a ketogenic diet for nutrient reasons.

Carbs in lemon juice

The amounts of carbohydrates mentioned above were for regular raw lemons. You can also squeeze out the juice but this will influence the number of net carbs per 100 grams.

In the table below, you can find how raw lemons and their juice compare in terms of carbs (1, 2).

Values Per 100gRaw LemonLemon Juice
Total Carbohydrates9.3 g8.6 g
Of Which Fiber2.8 g0.4 g
Net Carbs6.5 g8.2 g
Carbs in raw lemon vs lemon juice

The difference is not enormous but you can see that raw lemons tend to be better than lemon juice for ketogenic diets.

Additionally, it is a lot easier to consume 100 grams of lemon juice than 100 grams of the whole fruit. The fiber in the second option would fill you up more easily.

Besides that, the example lemon juice does not contain added sugar. There are definitely brands that do add sugar which makes the lemon juice less keto-friendly.

At the same time, adding a tiny amount of lemon juice to something like water will generally be alright on keto.

Why lemon will sometimes kick you out of ketosis

It is important to know that even foods that are reasonable in carbohydrates like lemons can kick you out of ketosis. A quick overview of the keto fundamentals can help you approach this diet in a smarter way.

You can consider any way of eating where your body gets and stays in ketosis as a ketogenic diet. This is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (3).

To get into ketosis, your carbohydrate intake needs to be low enough. Just how low depends on details like your weight, body composition, activity levels, etc.

That being said, some rough guidelines are that you want to get about 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates if you want to get and stay in ketosis.

In more precise amounts, this often means eating around 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.

In the case of an individual food like lemons, that means you also have to look at the carbohydrates in the other foods in your diet.

Something important to keep in mind about the grams of carbohydrates above is that you typically don’t include fiber. It is true that fiber is a category of carbohydrates but your body processes these differently.

How much lemon can you eat on keto?

By estimating your keto carb budget with the guidelines above and figuring out how many carbs your diet already contains, you can estimate how much lemon you can still eat.

More specifically, let’s say you find out that you can eat about 22 grams of net carbs a day on keto. Additionally, you already ate 21.6 grams of net carbohydrates.

In that situation, you would be able to estimate that you can eat about 20 grams of lemon on keto.

Whether this amount will actually allow you to stay in ketosis can vary. As mentioned, a variety of details can influence this process.

Alternatives for lemon on keto

Lemons are relatively high on the list of low-carb fruits but there are other good options too.

You can consider these on keto if you like their tastes and/or nutrients more than lemon.

The numbers next to these lemon alternatives are the amounts of net carbohydrates 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

It is important to keep in mind that these fruits still contain carbohydrates. Sometimes in relatively high amounts.

That means you may still have to control your portions of these lemon alternatives to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with staying in ketosis?

By now you understand that even small amounts of lemon in combination with certain diets and habits could kick you out of ketosis.

To what extent it is important to avoid this depends on why you are following a ketogenic diet.

There are people who really need/want to stay in ketosis 24/7. These individuals want to be very careful about their carbohydrate intake and potentially have to avoid certain amounts of lemons.

On the flip side, there are also many people who follow a keto diet to lose weight or get healthier.

Lemon can be good for weight loss and health even if it kicks you out of ketosis. Staying in ketosis is typically not the only way to achieve these fitness goals.

Additionally, lemon water can be helpful to add some extra taste to your fluid intake while keeping things low-calorie.

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Can you have lemon and lime on keto?

Whether you can have lemon and lime on keto depends on how many grams you have in mind, your personal body, and the rest of your diet. If you pay enough attention to the rest of your diet, you may be able to have small amounts of lemon and lime on keto.

Do lemons have carbs or sugar?

Lemons have both sugar and other carbs.

Is lemon high in carbs?

Lemon contains around 9.3 grams of carbs (including 2.8 grams of fiber). While there are many better foods too, it is fair to say that lemons are not high in carbs either.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.